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Character driven: The Pottery Stop in Ellicott City combines story time with creativity

“Who is a unicorn fan?”

All of the children sitting with their legs crossed in front of Maegan Supple raise their hands.

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“Can you count the unicorns?”

Supple, owner of The Pottery Stop on Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City, kept the children engaged by asking them to count and describe colors of characters in the book “I’m a Unicorn” during the shop’s story time painting event.

The next step combined learning with creativity as the children were given a ceramic figurine of a unicorn that they could decorate as they saw fit.

“It’s really fun,” said Natalie Kuban, 5, of Catonsville. “I liked finding the unicorns and I really like picking the colors.”

Johanna Kuban, Natalie’s mother, said it was their fourth time attending a story time at The Pottery Stop and that she likes how it combines creativity and learning.

“We both like to do arts and crafts and we love to read so I thought it was the perfect fit,” Kuban said.

Supple and her staff pick a book and character to feature each month and hold one session on a Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and another on a Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

The sessions last about an hour and are offered at a discounted price. Pieces normally cost an average of $19 to $22 but for story time, the experience and the piece of pottery costs $17.

For Emily Shah, who lives in Frederick County, she travels back to Howard County where her family used to live for the story time because she says her two girls, Nina Shah, 8, and Sara Shah, 4, enjoy the atmosphere and creative outlet.

“We like it so much that we still travel this way once a month when we can and they have a little collection going now,” Shah said. “It’s personable and the girls love pointing out and looking at what they created.”

Her daughter Nina spent time picking out her colors and finding the perfect shades for her idea of what the unicorn should look like.

“It’s fun because the story gives you ideas to help you with what you’re going to be painting,” Nina said. “It’s fun to create your own version.”

After some coating and a trip in the oven, the pieces are available for pickup in one week. Supple says it’s always fun to watch the faces of the children when they come with their parents to pick up their finished pieces.

“It’s a great experience for kids to do with their grown-ups,” Supple said. “It’s an easy and accessible way for them to tap into their creativity.”

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Because the story times are in the mornings, Lainie Gray, studio lead at The Pottery Stop, says it offers children and their parents an experience with less distractions.

“It’s a quiet time where they can be focused on their project and have a little guidance. It’s a quiet and focused space to create,” Gray said.

If you go

The Pottery Stop, 9050 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City, will hold story time painting events during the fall. For dates, times and themes: 410-480-0111 or thepotterystop.com.

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