For 12 years, Caroline Lorenz has been bringing the joy of painting to the Lansing area as the owner of Playing Picasso, an artistic studio that specializes in hand painting ceramics.
“I have a very strange background for my business,” said Lorenz. “My degree is in elementary education, and I’m a business analyst in the software industry.”
Tons of white ceramics in different shapes and sizes are on display in the store. There’s something for everybody, and Playing Picasso wants to help each student make their own artistic statement. There’s no need to make an appointment beforehand; Playing Picasso is a drop-in studio and not class-based.
Once the type of ceramic is chosen, Playing Picasso’s staff helps each student get started by explaining the many tools available for use.
“When someone comes to Playing Picasso, we like to give them a short introduction to the painting tools,” said Lorenz. “We have a large selection of different stencils, sponges, stamps, polka dot makers, patterns or wording. We’ve been able to get some Spartan “S” and super hero logo stencils made as well.”
It’s all up to the imagination and what each person wants to do. “And that’s why I love it,” said Lorenz. “Anybody of any age or any background can come in and make some fantastic art. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never painted before or you’ve been painting for years, anyone can create art.”
When each project is finished, the work is covered in clear laminate. It’s then placed in one of the two kilns that are on site for about 30 to 34 hours in order to harden the laminate. There’s plenty of space for multiple pieces of work to be heated at the same time.
There is space for at least 32 people to sit comfortably on the main floor of the store and there is a private room that fits about 20 people. Playing Picasso also hosts private parties, such as children’s birthday’s or bachelorette parties.
Lorenz and her staff also work with schools, helping classes create a special piece of art together. Lorenz donates her time, expertise and the firing fee, so that all the school has to do is buy the piece and decorate it. The kids design it and bring it back to Playing Picasso to be finished. Once the laminate is added to the artwork, it is brought back to the school and put into a school auction. The proceeds go to improving the school or some other schools use the proceeds to pay for a child’s tuition.
“I think that everyone should donate to charity,” said Lorenz. “And this is where I can make the biggest impact in improving schools. Arts have taken a backseat to so many things in school, and it’s so much of a part of who we are as humans. It’s an expression of life … Art should be in everybody’s life.”
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