Plenty of family fun at Pea Poddery

Plenty of family fun at Pea Poddery

From left, Jessica Robin, 13, of Central Falls, and Danilelle Madden, 19, of Lincoln, paint pottery at Pea Poddery in Cumberland. (Valley Breeze photo by Bill Murphy)

CUMBERLAND - Some make piggy banks, others craft coffee mugs. Some even chip away at an entire dinnerware collection by painting one plate at a time.

Whatever the reason, it seems like Cumberland residents have found a sudden interest in ceramics now that a pottery studio has opened in the neighborhood.

Pea Poddery, which opened next to J's Deli at 2364 Diamond Hill Road at the end of November, already has more than 8,300 fans on Facebook and the number is only growing as word of mouth spreads.

"One thing we do hear over and over and over again is how relaxing it is when you're here," said Joe Silva, who owns the shop with his wife, Kim.

The Cumberland couple said they decided to leave corporate America - Kim previously worked for a biotech company - and open a family-friendly business that could be enjoyed by all, including their five children, and fill a void in the community.

With Joe working as a touring musician and Kim having a background in the arts, the Silvas had the creativity, but neither had any extensive experience with pottery or ceramics. They completed training necessary to run the three 24-hour kilns and got started with Pea Poddery.

Patrons from throughout New England have since been enjoying the paint-your-own pottery activities.

"It's become kind of a destination," said Joe, who has also indicated he may run for mayor once Daniel McKee leaves office.

The process is simple. Guests can walk in without an appointment and choose a white, ceramic piece to decorate.

Pay for the ceramic item, which costs $15-$30 on average, and a $7 fee for all supplies and get to work. Resident artists are on staff to help guide paint colors or take over more intricate details or lettering if the painter needs a bit of help.

There is also a customer computer where guests can search Pinterest for ideas, like turning a baby's footprints into reindeer, or surrounding a grandparent's handprints with words describing everything those hands have accomplished.

Once complete, pieces go into the kiln to become microwave- and dishwasher-safe and are ready for pick up a week later.

In the meantime, guests can purchase ready-to-use ceramics, candles and other home decor items from the store's gift shop.

Pea Poddery frequently hosts parties and events for birthdays, ladies' night out, bridal showers and work functions. Parties of eight to 14 people can reserve a private room, or the entire 60-seat studio can be rented. Bring in food and drinks, or work with Pea Poddery to choose a party package that includes refreshments from surrounding restaurants and bakeries.

A 21-plus adult night is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23, from 7 to 11 p.m. The event, featuring an acoustic performance by Joe, will benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation in honor of Kim's first husband, who died of melanoma. Tickets are $20.

Kim said Pea Poddery will soon plan movie nights, where kids can watch something like "Finding Nemo" while painting aquatic-themed pieces. A frequent painter program is also in the works.

The activity is "truly for all ages," Joe said, adding that some men are reluctant to participate, but end up leaving the happiest of the group.

Families can do it together, he said. Some have purchased the giant cupcake or ice cream cone piggy banks to each paint a portion. The finished product is then used to save for a vacation or other family activity, he said.

"You don't see people on their cell phones," Joe said. "Everyone's engaged with everyone they're with."

Pea Poddery is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Arrive at least 90 minutes before closing.

For more information, call 401-333-3304, visit www.peapoddery.com or search "Pea Poddery" on Facebook.

Kimberly Silva and her husband Joe Silva pose with their dog Moses in front of the paint bar in their store Pea Poddery, a pottery-painting studio in Cumberland. (Valley Breeze photo by Bill Murphy)
Jessica Roy, of Woonsocket, paints an owl at Pea Poddery in Cumberland. (Valley Breeze photo by Bill Murphy)