It doesn’t take the skills of a professional artist to paint a mug.
The Painted Flamingo, a pottery painting studio in North Hall, embraces this mindset.
“I wish I could paint like Bob Ross, but I can paint like this” Steve Forrester, co-owner of The Painted Flamingo, said. “You don’t have to paint masterpieces. Anybody can do this and it’s fun.”
People of all ages and painting skill levels are invited to walk through the shop’s doors and paint a pre-fired pottery piece of their choosing.
Steve and Heather Forrester opened the business on Sept. 28, next to True Love Celebrations in North Hall.
For years the couple had floated between running different businesses together, while maintaining full-time jobs.
It wasn’t until recently that Steve decided to give up his cabinet business, which he owned for 30 years.
“This past year he was diagnosed with heart failure, so we had to make some adjustments,” Heather said. “He’s doing fine, but the fumes of the paints and the manual labor of it drove us to make a change.”
Steve jumped online to look for other job opportunities. He came across a lady in North Carolina who wanted to sell her pottery store inventory.
“I said to her (Heather), ‘You want to own a pottery store?’” Steve said. “And she’s like, ‘Yea, I’ve always wanted to do that.’ And, we ran with it.”
The day after the couple purchased the seller’s pottery inventory, a space next to True Love popped up. Within a month, the two were moved in and open for business.
When Heather thinks of ceramics, her mind goes back to her childhood when she would paint pottery with her mother and sisters.
“I’m the crafty guy and she’s the artistic one with painting and drawing,” Steve said. “The kids come to her when they need something drawn or painted. She’s always wanted to have her own kiln, and now we have that.”
Heather and Steve share many interests like dressing up in costumes for comic and science fiction conventions, creating art and most importantly, going on cruises.
The two boast the title of “cruise fanatics.”
The Painted Flamingo brings their flare for the tropical into North Georgia.
When people enter the shop, they’re greeted with teal walls, beach music and the not-so-subtle pink flamingo decor.
“All it needs is a little sand and a beach going on,” Steve said.
The Forresters created the theme of the shop with the intention of providing a relaxing space where people can escape from their daily lives.
The Painted Flamingo’s customers can arrive without reservations and start painting immediately. Prices are placed on the bottom of the pottery, which includes the total cost of the piece, the glaze, firing and assistance from the Forresters.
If someone doesn’t finish painting their pottery in one visit, they’re welcome to come back until it’s done — no additional costs attached. Once someone finishes painting their piece, the Forresters add a clear coat and then fire the object. People can pick up their work from the business in a little less a week.
Customers have the choice of painting mugs, holiday decorations, plates and other forms of pottery. The Painted Flamingo also gives people the option of making baby footprint or handprint keepsakes and mozaic art.
The Forresters purchase all of their pieces from local pottery distributors, including one in Atlanta who has been in the business for 50 years.
“They have particular molds that they pour and fire at certain times of the year,” Heather said. “We’re able to pick up things that you don’t see anywhere else.”
Heather’s favorite pieces of pottery at the shop include the vintage Christmas trees that are fitted with multi-colored lights.
The trees range in sizes with prices from $35-$150.
Once the two get settled into their business, they plan on hosting painting parties for adults, painting sessions with Santa Claus and featured-artist events.
For now, the Foresters are working on booking parties for children and getting the word out about their business.
“We’re not some people who moved from out of the state or country,” Heather said. “We live just up the street and Steve was born and raised here. We’re here and ready for people to visit.”
The Painted Flamingo is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the shop, call 770-402-5539 or visit thepaintedflamingo.com.