There are very few souvenirs that I collect while traveling. Why? Because I don’t feel I get my monies worth out of them. I find that they get put away as soon as we get home and never to be seen or enjoyed. Our contributor Michelle recently visited Polka dot Pots within within the Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee.
When I found out Michele and her family would be painting their own pottery I thought what a fantastic souvenir that would be for the entire family! Take a look into the process and how her family enjoyed the experience.
Our family went to Polka Dot Pots on Monday August 4 around 11am. We weren’t sure how long this would take, but once the process was explained to us we realized that you need at least 2 hours for your session.
We were greeted by Heidi Mullens, Store Manager, and she explained the process. We chose our pieces from their large selection, there is something for everyone to choose from for all ages of children and adults. The pieces are each marked with the cost on the bottom. Our pieces were between $20-$28 each and the cost includes the paints and the process of glazing and the kiln overnight.
Once we chose our pieces we chose the paint colors we wanted to use. It is important to realize that the color of the paint in the bottle is not the color that it will look once the process is complete. They have samples next to each paint bottle showing the actual finished color.
Polka Dot Pots also offers numerous stamps, brushes, sponges and other tools used to make patterns and shapes on the pieces if you choose. The first important thing to know is that if you want a clear and clean look to your piece you need to paint 3 coats. Be sure to put the stickers on before you start to paint your pottery. The stickers used on our Ehrlich family plate were an extra $2.
It was fun to see how creative and precise everyone was when making their designs. Once we were finished with our pieces they were brought in the back and prepared to be glazed. During this process they dip each piece into a container of blue glaze (don’t worry it doesn’t turn your piece blue). They dip one half and let that dry then dip the other half to be sure that the entire piece has the glaze on it. Once the glaze dries they put each piece in the kiln for the next step. Each piece stays in the kiln overnight so that the process is slow and precise. Customers are allowed to pick up their pieces the next day after 11am.
This was one of my favorite things we did and it is something that I can always remember with my personalized piece of pottery. If you are staying both at the resort or just in the area, I would recommend Polka Dot Pots to anyone visiting the area in the future. When we got there 2 other families were working on their pottery pieces. Another 2 families came after we had started. There is plenty of room for more than one or two families to do this at one time. The staff was very friendly and helpful and always there to answer any questions.
The hours of operation are from 9am-9pm to accommodate the guests staying at the Wilderness at the Smokies, but it is open to the general public as well. Their mission “To enhance the family vacation experience by providing creative outlets that result in one-of-a-kind items and long lasting memories for all ages!” is very accurate.