Kids’ Almanac (September 27-October 4)

Fiberflame’s Shea Lord-Farmer and Christina Brady.

Kindle your creativity,  walk in the moonlight, feast on pie & more

The outer is an elaboration of the inner.
– Rumi

I’m definitely big on supporting arts and crafts for my kids – less so for myself, since that’s not something that I do well or easily. Until now: Because of the fabulousness of fiberflame studio in Saugerties, I actually painted a pottery piece. And I liked it! If you are an artist type, I’ll bottom-line it for you: Go to fiberflame. The address is at the end of this piece. If you are not an artist type, read on. You should go to fiberflame, too.

Here’s what happened. My daughter loves to create art, and I had heard that fiberflame is a place where you can just walk in and do art. They have classes if you want them, but at its core, fiberflame is a walk-in art studio. The whole operation reminds me of a restaurant. You pick a table to sit at, choose your project and have at it. Someone comes around to tally up your bill, and you pay on your way out.

My daughter looked around and decided on a project to do, painting pottery. I looked on while fiddling with my phone, since I did not plan to paint anything. We looked at a huge variety of colored glazes, and we learned how to match the color on the wall with the number on the bottle and how multiple coats can deepen the color. I noticed a handful of speckled finishes at the bottom of the color chart, and I got really keyed up when I found out that the cool effect comes from tiny explosions that occur during firing by the tiny pieces of glass mixed inside of the glaze, leaving behind a fantastic, irregular contrasting color pattern on the surface. No special technique; just brush this glaze on and get ready to be dazzled when I pick up my objet d’art a week later. Sold!

Our daughter chose her pottery owl bank, and I chose a small serving platter, since you can actually eat off these surfaces. I was also introduced to something that I’d never heard of, but I definitely plan to use in the future: black glaze pencils, so that you can actually write on pottery surfaces if you want to, not just paint on them. I’m still shocked that I’m planning future art outings for myself, not just my kids.

I asked four million questions and someone was always available to help me – something I really appreciate. After we finished glazing, the cleanup was a cinch: We left our pottery pieces on the table, put our brushes in the dirty brush bucket, our palettes that held the glazes in the palette bucket and the rags in the rag can. Then we washed our hands in the bright clean bathroom, which is thoughtfully equipped with potty seats for those visiting with young children.

When we go back to pick up our fired pieces next week, we’re going to stay and do a non-pottery project, which could be using papers, wooden boxes, paperboard boxes, fabric…pretty much anything that you could probably think of. The shelves on the other wall are filled with colorful jars of awesome supplies for decorating your project, such as buttons, bows and ribbons – but that’s just a tiny sampling. I could not be more enthusiastic about this compassionate, freeing, wonderful approach to art. So I asked co-owners Christina Brady and Shea Lord-Farmer to tell me more about this special spot that they created.

The name fiberflame connects with the essential elements of the materials used there and what art is made of, while remaining open to all of its possibilities: fiber, representing materials such as papers, wood and brushes; flame, representing the kiln used for the pottery. To Lord-Farmer, fiberflame also evokes the idea of body/spirit. Brady and Lord-Farmer are both self-taught artists working in a variety of media: “We learn by playing, trying and failing, trying and succeeding, reading, watching other artists work…and that’s really what fiberflame is about.”

I asked if they get more kids or adults coming through: “We are definitely a fun place for kids and families, and we have lots of kids coming in for walk-ins, as well as afterschool classes and camps over the summer. But we are thrilled that we are also becoming a place for adults! We have some adults who regularly come in on weekends to work in clay, to string necklaces, to paint pottery, and really value this space and what we offer as a creative outlet. Some of our adult workshops – like those in precious metal, clay, sewing, jewelry design – have been our most popular so far. We also host a once-a-month ‘women’s night out’ in partnership with Illuminated Baby in Woodstock; this has been growing, and the women who come really value the opportunity to make art and spend time with other women in this way.”

I wondered what they say to people like me who don’t consider ourselves artistic or crafty. “This is usually our response: ‘Yes, you are, and we’re here to help you with that.’ The thing is, even people who don’t feel crafty walk into this space and are tantalized by the materials, the different projects they can choose from. And even if they were just planning to sit and read while their child did something, they end up getting into a project too.” Ha! I can definitely testify to that.

I found this interesting and helpful: “One of the hardest things for the public to understand is that you really can just walk in anytime we’re open and make something. There are about 40 different options, and there is always someone here to help guide you through the studio, materials, processes. We encourage people to visit our website, check our calendar and see if anything piques their interest – maybe they’ll even find themselves here for a workshop, or to play in the studio.”

In addition to drop-in time, fiberflame offers three ongoing classes that I encourage you to explore for your family: Clay Play (hand-building with clay for all ages); Creative Youth Studio (a mixed-media open studio session); and Little Painters (a parent/child class where we work on really huge watercolor paper and layer different wax crayons, watercolors, paints, stamps et cetera – a whole-body experience). The fiberflame studio is located at 1776 Route 212 in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 679-6132 or visit or on Facebook. See you there!


Check out Catskill Mountain Pizza Company in Woodstock

Now, just a quick mention about food if you worked up an appetite doing art like we did. We drove a short distance down Route 212 into Woodstock to Catskill Mountain Pizza Company. The kids got slices, and I got a delectable margherita gluten-free pizza, along with a Joe’s peach iced tea/lemonade that I’d never heard of before. I love their gluten-free pizza so much. Bring some quarters to play Pac-Man.

Catskill Mountain Pizza Company is located at 51 Mill Hill Road (Route 212). For more information, call (845) 679-7969 or visit them on Facebook.




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