“If not now, when?” Jessica Taylor asked herself when she was considering what she called the “crazy” idea of opening a new paint-your-own pottery business in Rochester.

“When COVID hit and Color Me Mine closed, I saw a need for it in Rochester and decided it was the perfect time to start a business,” she said.

Though her five-year plan calls for a storefront, Taylor has begun running a service where customers can paint pottery in their own homes using kits that she puts together.

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The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)
The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)

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Jessica’s Paint Your Own Pottery offers both hands-free pickup and delivery. The delivery option is available to Rochester residents for an extra fee. Through an online ordering system, customers can select their ceramics and glaze options, and then Taylor puts together a take-home package that includes everything needed to finish a project — from detailed directions to different-sized brushes.

While the painting happens at home, the glazed ceramics return to Taylor’s studio to be fired in a kiln.

The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)
The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)

Firing is a two-day process — one day for firing, and one for cooling. Depending on the number of pieces Taylor has to fire, it usually takes anywhere from four days to two weeks to complete.

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For the past three years, Taylor has been selling her handmade pottery at area fairs and art shows under the name Pottery by Jessica, but her interest in making pottery and the paint-your-own model began in North Carolina, where Greg Hathaway served as her teacher and mentor. She worked part time at his studio before learning how to throw pots herself.

“I was not really interested in learning how to make pottery, but I was interested in making friends,” she said. “After my first class, I was hooked.”

So far, Christmas tree night lights and Christmas tree votives have been some of Taylor’s customers’ favorite items. When conditions allow, she hopes to expand her offerings to include ladies’ night and birthday party packages. For now, though, the take-and-paint model works well during the pandemic.

Taylor enjoys seeing the creativity of her customers.

“Painting pottery is not an easily accessible craft and takes a lot of expensive equipment, and I like providing easy, accessible and affordable fun,” she said. “I just want to share my love of art with everyone.”

The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)
The Sievers paint pottery with at-home kits (photo by John Sievers)

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My family and I tried Jessica’s Paint Your Own Pottery, and here’s what my wife and daughters had to say about the experience.

Beth Sievers

One of the things I liked the most about having the opportunity to paint pottery at home was that nothing was rushed. The girls and I spent a lot of time looking at all the available pieces and the variety of glazes. We thought about it overnight and put in the order the next day.

When it came time to paint, Abigail was finished much earlier than the rest of us. Since we were at home, she could move on to another activity and the rest of us could take as much time as we wanted to complete our pieces.

The Sievers familys' pottery pieces are ready for the kiln (photo by John Sievers)
The Sievers familys' pottery pieces are ready for the kiln (photo by John Sievers)

Eleanor Sievers (13 years old)

COVID-19 had me looking for a new hobby, and I think I found it. Paint-your-own pottery offers so many different fun projects, ranging from mermaids to gnomes. On this particular occasion, though, I opted for something different. I chose a square trinket dish with plenty of flat surface area to design and draw on.

With an array of colors to choose from, I picked reds, greens and browns to paint a cardinal. That’s one of the great things about paint-your-own pottery, you get to decide what to make! It was really fun to see what everyone in my family came up with.

Abigail Sievers (11 years old)

This pottery kit was just the thing for us. Staying at home is tough, but this was a fun experience that made it easier. One of my favorite parts was the selection of items and glazes you could choose from. I chose the small gnome, and I really liked it. There were also really fun customized paints you could select.

Right now, I am on crutches, which is not too fun. The pottery was something fun I could do that didn’t take too much effort and was very entertaining. I made up my own technique of painting on it with the tip of a sharpened pencil. It was very helpful for all the small designs I wanted to create.

Kits available from Jessica’s Paint Your Own Pottery at jessicaspyop.com.