For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.
For over 40 years, family-owned Row House Gallery and Custom Framing's highly-experienced staff has hosted art, prints, and a wide variety of framing services. Customers can peruse original works or seek out preservation framing—a house specialty—for things such as family photos, diplomas, or even wedding dresses. All told, the gallery and frame shop boasts over 1,500 types of frame moulding.
With more than 15 locations nationwide, Wine and Canvas commissions accomplished artists to spread the joy of painting during informal painting classes. These talented brush wielders guide students of all abilities through a landscape, portrait, or abstract artwork via step-by-step instructions. Though each Wine and Canvas location is home to an art studio, the classes are taught in students’ living rooms or at local hot spots—many of which mix up tasty drink specials during classes. Instructors provide their artists-in-training with all the supplies they need to create eye-catching masterpieces, from paints and canvases to Ouija boards with a direct line to van Gogh. Though adult painting classes are Wine and Canvas’s bread and butter, they also help little ones unleash their creativity and satisfy their sweet tooth with Cookies and Canvas classes.
Fitness 3K is the brainchild of Chideha Warner, who in addition to holding certifications from the International Sports Sciences Association and USA Boxing and Boxing Fitness Institute, has trained numerous professional athletes. He and his staff aim to conquer obesity through one-on-one programs that combine cardiovascular and strength training regimens with nutrition guidelines. Instructors also lead high-energy cardio boxing and boot camp classes, and increase speed and agility with sports performance training.
Motorsports Country Club straps mini-car enthusiasts into speedy Sodi and Rimo karts to help them realize their apex-hitting dreams at up to 40 m.p.h. Before any rubber is burned, trained instructors fill drivers' heads with tips on track etiquette and safety, ensuring the good advice can't escape by fitting noggins with a rented helmet. Then, riders set out to pursue a healthy, windblown look by speeding around the 0.7-mile-track's 15 turns, which can be arranged in six different layouts to challenge both novice and veteran kart racers. Spectators can observe the action in comfort from the visitor's viewing area or visit the club house to view gear dedicated to the fine art of kart racing. Although closed on Mondays, Motorsports is open Tuesday–Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Acclaimed as "the king of all flower shows" by Better Homes and Gardens, the Cincinnati Flower Show continues to wear the nectar-scented crown, wield the pistil-and-petal scepter, and rule with an iron stamen during its 21st-anniversary event. This year's bash of buds, blossoms, and bee bars features many exhibits and gardens highlighting floral feats. The Grand Marquee pavilion houses dozens of gardens and plant collections arranged into intricate designs, patterns, and structures, with special focus given to single-genus exhibits showing variety among specific types of plants, such as lilies or the recently rediscovered Ledzeppelinus Frontmanus. The Creative Containers and the Window Box Gardens exhibits highlight creative pots and planters, while the Artists' Studio shows off the work of oleander O'Keefes and rose Rembrandts. Floral exhibits include ornate table centerpieces and works by professional floral designers. More than 60 petal-peddlers will also be on hand at the Cincinnati Flower Show for those looking to get their green to go.