Fired up: Noblesville pottery studio survives pandemic, looks to grow in the future

0

By Jillian Kurtz

When Louise Blazucki moved to Anderson from Baltimore on 2017, she was a stay-at-home mom who became bored and sought a lifestyle change. She found it at Kiln Creations, 60 N. Ninth St., Noblesville.

She now owns the business.

Blazucki discovered Kiln Creations when she visited the pottery shop as a customer in late November 2018.

During Blazucki’s visit, Kiln Creations’ owner Shannon Loomis mentioned to Blazucki that this was the last chance to paint pottery because she was closing the business. 

Loomis decided to close Kiln Creations later that month. Blazucki spoke with Loomis about purchasing the business, and she bought it shortly thereafter.

“I think we learned about the opportunity on Dec. 13, and by Dec. 31, we had the keys in hand, and we opened the first of 2019,” Blazucki said.  

Blazucki decided to keep the store’s original name and logo design. 

“We have been Kiln Creations for 21 years now and I felt like we couldn’t change because it was just so iconic,” Blazucki said. “It’s been in central Indy for so long.”

Katya Reinhard shapes clay into an owl. (Photos courtesy of Louise Blazucki)

With no ceramics experience prior to purchasing Kiln Creations, Blazucki trained with Loomis for six weeks so she would have the knowledge and skills to successfully run the business. 

“I’ve been blessed with some really great hires, a couple from the Herron School of Art (at IUPUI) that have really helped navigate the new things that we are doing like the wheels and the high-fire clay,” Blazucki said. 

Katya Reinhard, 22, was one of those hires. She graduated from the Herron School of Art and Design in May 2021. 

“I took a shot in the dark and emailed Louise,” Reinhard said.

Within 30 minutes of sending that email, Reinhard received a response to interview for a position — and later, accepted an offer to work as an instructor at the shop.

Pushing through the pandemic

Like so many other small businesses, Kiln Creations struggled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The original location in Broad Ripple closed and never reopened. Kiln Creations in Noblesville closed March 23, 2020, for 10 weeks.

When it reopened, it operated on a limited schedule. 

“We offered at-home, paint-your-own pottery,” Blazucki said. “People could come in and pick up a to-go kit.”

Blazucki said the process was a lot to ask of a customer because they had to pick up the kit, bring it back to complete the firing process and then return to the store to pick up the final product. 

Through the pandemic, Kiln Creations expanded its programming with Painting in the Park, an outdoor event where customers paint canvases in Forest Park. The concept attracted new clientele. At Forest Park, the business can host approximately 80 people as opposed to 40 inside the studio.

Because of supply chain issues, Kiln Creations can’t acquire certain materials that are needed to run the studio. 

“Now, we pour (clay) in-house,” Blazucki said. “We went from probably 10 percent of our product being poured in-house to about 70 percent, which is actually really nice because we use AMACO clay which is made in town.”

Louise Blazucki pauses outside of Kiln Creations at 60 N. Ninth St. in downtown Noblesville.

A look into the future

With nine new pottery wheels in the studio and instructors to help with the new machines, Blazucki looks forward to offering new opportunities for customers.

Blazucki wants to offer Kiln Creations programs at local schools as after-school programing that is either fully or partially funded by the business.

“I’m working on writing some grants to make that happen with the help of Nickel Plate Arts,” Blazucki said. “That’s my gift to Noblesville for being so welcoming. I want to get it funded so parents don’t have to pay. We can just be in the schools to help the kids.”

One of Blazucki’s favorite parts about owning Kiln Creations is serving “legacy customers.”

“We get a lot of people who haven’t been in since they were a kid, and then they bring their own kid, and then they realize how much we offer and that they should come back and reconnect with that side of themselves,” Blazucki said. “I just get so excited about that.”

Start creating

Kiln Creations is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Anyone is welcome to walk-in and start creating. 

“I make it a point to tell everyone who comes in here that they are an artist and that what they’ve made is of value,” owner Lousie Blazucki said. 

To learn more or contact Kiln Creations, visit kilncreations.net or call at 317-774-8982.

Share.