Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sapphire Wizard Fired Arts

Sapphire Wizard has moved to town! Their new location is 1459 US Hwy 395, Gardnerville, NV 89410.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Ann, the owner of Sapphire Wizard Fired Arts Store, at a Wine Walk at Three Rooms Gallery. She has been a Ceramic Artist for over 30 years, she grew up helping her mom. She knows the business from the ground up. Mary Ann not only paints ceramics, she creates the figures she fires to bisque. We stopped by her 2000 square foot store in the Gardnerville Ranchos, and just loved it. I can also help her host birthday parties, clean the clay before she fires them, and hang out. Her husband, Ken is an engineer by day and clay artist by night.

Mary Ann and Ken own over 1200 molds

and pour their own "paint your own pottery". They start with a thin clay called slip. This is poured into a clamped mold,

then left to coat the inside for 20-30 minutes. When the slip is poured out it leaves a thin layer of clay called a shell. When this clay shell becomes leather hard, about 1 hour, the mold is taken apart and the figurine is taken out and dried for a couple of days. These are then cleaned and fired. This is called bisque and it is now ready to paint.

The puppy on the left just came out of the mold, on the right has been fired once.

At Sapphire Wizard there are thousands of figures to choose from.

They are also licensed to pour and sell Disney Characters.

Mary Ann has over 100 different non-toxic, kid safe paint colors.

You can create a one of a kind masterpiece for yourself or a to give as a gift. Mary Ann also offers gift certificates, a perfect gift for any age!

It might be a little overwhelming when you walk in the door, but go right in! Mary Ann has opened the front of the store to retail. You will find many artists selling their products. At last count I saw handmade beads, painted ceramics, jewelry, and of course soap!

This is also where Birthday and Special Occasion Parties are held. Mary Ann has seating for 45 and has held many community functions in the store from baby showers, church get together, office parties, boy and girl scouts working on badges, girls (and boys) night out, and of course birthdays.

Once inside Mary Ann or Ken will show you the great selection of bisque. Pick a piece and you are off.

The price of the bisque and a small studio fee is all you pay. The studio fee covers any paints you need and the final clear glaze and firing of your piece. Sapphire Wizard Arts differs from most ceramic stores. Here you paint at your pace. If you finish in 10 minutes, 1 hour, 3 days, it does not matter, you pay only one studio fee per piece. The studio is family friendly. Mary Ann also has a room for little ones to play while waiting for mom to finish up. There are toys to play with in a contained, safe area.

There are on going classes being held at the store. Camille Howard, local and famous Ceramic Artist, teaches brush stroke classes. There are also clay hand building, bead, and jewelry making classes. They have a bisque sale during the first week of the month, teachers get 15% off on Fridays, and Tuesdays are 2 for Tuesdays.

You can see more photos and get the latest information for Sapphire Wizard Fired Arts on their website Sapphire Wizard and their FaceBook.
Check out the tiles going up on the wall at CC Meneley Elementary School. The students had the opportunity to do a self portrait tile that will be permanently attached to the wall. Mary Ann supports the local community. When you buy a raffle ticket from a school or club, you can be sure a gift certificate from Sapphire Wizard will be one of the prizes. They donate to the Fishing Derby, Bun co For Breast Cancer, Boys and Girl Club, Relay for Life, 4H Scuba Club, Douglas High School Volleyball, and many more.

The store is located at 811 Short Ct. in the Gardnerville Ranchos, near the Pizza Factory. The phone number is 775-265-6972. The summer hours are Tue. thru Sat. 10am till 6pm. They are also open evenings by appointment only.


  1. I remember doing ceramics and enjoying it. You can do so many nice things

  2. I was telling Mary Ann about the nativity scenes you and dad made for all of us. It is very fun!

  3. How fun! We have several places where you can paint your own pottery around here, but I've never done it. One of these days...

  4. Katherine and I did this recently in Santa Cruz with her step-daughter and boyfriends kids. We went and got lunch and hung out for most of the day. We may take Hayden and Dillon to the one in Roseville soon...another nice post here Michelle

  5. I've heard about paint-your-own studios like this before. They sound like such a fun idea for a rainy day! I just haven't been able to find one near where I live!

  6. What is really fun about this place is the owner and one of the instructors. They are brush stroke artists. I never knew there were so many ways to paint eyes. Just by holding the brush a certain way, adding a little water, or starting at a different spot you can change the whole look of the piece. Who thought birds would look so adorable with long eyelashes!
    Michelle in NV


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