Paint & Go Studio opens on JBLM

Bring your creativity; they'll provide the rest

By Kristi Berry on March 8, 2018

Military families can now paint their own pottery at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Arts and Crafts Center on McChord Field.

All ages and abilities can tap into their inner artist to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

"Ceramics is a fun and familiar pastime for a lot of families," said Arts and Crafts Center Director Lesley Hill. "It was the program most requested on our surveys, so we're delighted to bring this new service to our military community."

The center was able to open the ceramics studio in part because of the generosity of Greta Lloyd, who donated a kiln in honor of her late husband. Debbie De Spain, who has a Masters of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Ohio State University, runs the studio. De Spain helps clients throughout the process and fires the pieces. She also teaches ceramics, sculpting, painting and bookbinding.

"We offer a fun, laid-back environment," she said. "We're always here to assist and talk about the process. I encourage parents to bring their kids and paint with them. I love to see parents engaging with their kids. Ceramics can be a great bonding time."

A variety of ceramic pieces are available including animals, vases, mugs, plates and bowls. Seasonal decorations such as candy cane and snowman ornaments, gingerbread cookie trays and Easter eggs are offered year-round. Popular children's choices have been tanks and helicopters. Prices range from $7 to $40 and include paint, glaze and firing.

"We are very competitively priced because we want to offer a program that our military families can afford," said Hill. "Prices off the installation can be very expensive, which excludes a lot of families who are on a tight budget."

No reservations are required. Stop by any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or on the first and third Saturday of each month. Select a pottery piece and pay for it. Then a staff member will help you select paint colors and provide brushes, sponges and any other materials needed. They'll explain how to apply the paints and show you techniques to achieve different effects. Take as long as you like to create your artwork. There's no studio fee. When finished, leave the piece to be fired. They typically fire on Thursdays, and pieces are ready to pick up on Fridays.

The Arts and Crafts Center also offers picture framing, embroidery, engraving and a do-it-yourself framing shop. Patrons enjoy a variety of classes including resiliency through art, glass mosaic, scrapbooking, framing and sewing.   

Adult craft times, wine and canvas events and free children's crafts are offered each month. Kids Craft is recommended for ages 3 to 10. Parents must be present and are encouraged to participate. Young artists can make a germ monster at the upcoming Kids Craft March 23 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., and March 30 from 3:30-5 p.m., the Ceramics Studio is hosting a Cookies and Ceramics Social at the Grandstaff Library.

To learn about classes, sign up or reserve space for a private event, stop by or call the center at 253.982.6726. Online registration is in the works and should be available in the coming months.

JBLM Arts and Crafts Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and first and third Saturdays, 1121 Barnes Blvd., McChord Field, administration 253.982.6726, classes and ceramics 253.982.6721,