Ceramics artists ‘Fired Up’ about new shop

Apr 28, 2016

BATAVIA — The chalk-colored, firm clay bisques that fill a new Ellicott Street storefront have already been fired in a kiln, but they are far from finished products.


Experienced ceramic artists Shirely Nigro and Myke Ricci say their new business, Fired Up, Ready to Paint Ceramics, will be a starting point for projects that with a brush of acrylic paint transform into a creation enlivened with color and character.


The ceramics shop and studio, which opens today, is already filled with thousands of pieces, from inch-tall gnomes to life-sized swans. A few have been painted, but nearly all are awaiting the touch of a serious hobbyist or a novice looking to create a unique gift or express themselves.


“I find that most people like something for reference,” Nigro said. “They might do something totally different, but its a point of departure to see what someone else has done. Once they get started, they are off and running.”


Fired Up, Ready to Paint Ceramics is designed as a one-stop shop, with space and supplies for painting and classes available at an additional cost. Ricci said she plans to host a class on painting eyes on figurines and other precise touches like flocking and air brushing, while Nigro will share her expertise on modeling clay out of recycled scraps to alter an existing piece.


The owners said the Batavia shop will stand out for the personal and patriotic touches. Nigro proudly said all of their pieces are made from American-originated liquid clay and cast molded, cleaned and fired at their Orleans County homes — a process they enjoy, but Ricci said has become a lost aspect of the hobby.


“It comes and goes in cycles,” said Ricci, who has been making ceramics for more than 40 years and had a studio in Albion. “This is a modern ceramics shop.”


“(Pieces) used to be glazed and under-glazed, using acrylic paint is a lot easier and faster,” added Nigro, who worked at Milton Bradley and later taught ceramics at Job Corps.


Nigro said she had about 700 molds, Ricci around 2,000. They are working with area artists to add more molds for dolls and seasonal items.


“And we’re not done yet,” Ricci said. “There’s at least 2,000 snowmen ... tall skinny ones, short fat ones, some with big eyes, some with coal for eyes. It’s unlimited.”


Jim Raymond, Nigro’s husband, shuddered upon hearing about the 10,000 molds they were working on accessing. He’s done a lot of the transportation for the new shop and prefers the creative process.


“That’s the fun of making ceramics; every time you pour a mold, you don’t know what’s in there,” he said. “Then you open it up and it’s a like Christmas present.”


A set of foot-tall Christmas trees is expected to be a popular seller, but the store has a wide variety of lawn ornaments, animal and child pieces. It really seems limitless inside the store.


Fired Up, Ready to Paint Ceramics, 216 Ellicott St., is open noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.