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Pottery Studio Has New Fit in Old Home

The new Fired Up location near the New Pioneer Coop boasts a party room, free parking and lots of options with holidays around the corner.

Baby feet prints, pet bowls and Day of the Dead skulls are available to do it up at Fired Up in Iowa City in its new location, just in time for the holidays.

Fired Up was first established in Iowa City in 1998. In May, the pottery painting shop moved from its old location on Linn Street into the big house at 520 E. Washington St., the former location of another Iowa City institution -- The Haunted Bookshop.

Nancy Westvig and Michael Burt have been in Iowa City for 18 years. The couple dabbled in pottery for 10 years after moving from California before deciding to make it a career. Burt created custom tiles before deciding to take the plunge with his wife into a paint-your-own ceramics shop in 1998.

“What we are really selling is the activity,” Westvig said. “It’s the entertainment value of sitting down with three or four other people and being able to have a conversation, with folks bringing snacks and stuff.”

The pair said they are acclimating well to their new location. Westvig said the added parking that came with the new spot is a big perk for their many out-of-town customers.

“Michael signed me up for writing a business plan and it was evident what we had to do,” Westvig said.

People can even bring their own beer and wine while they paint for a “date night,” or choose to rent a room for a painting party, which holds up to a dozen people. A local sorority is renting out the entire floor for their party this coming weekend.

Over the years, Burt acquired molds and slip-casted his own bisque-fired pieces for glazing – all lead-free and food safe, with an emphasis on functional creations. 

One of the hottest ceramic gift trends are baby and hand prints on a tile.

“I do hundreds of handprints and footprints before any major holiday,” Westvig said. “What do you give grandparents that have everything and don’t need anything, you give them something that’s going to mean something.”

For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fired-Up-Iowa-City-inc/67473412742 or call 319-339-0679 for more information.

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