After tonight’s depressing turn of events here in Wisconsin, where a dunce has retained his cap because the King lent him $30 million – no strings attached, of course… ugh. Anyway, I had to think of something positive. And nothing is more heartening than a tale of a Madison small business that makes artists out of people who simply assume they have no talent. Kim, this one’s for you and your intrepid crew!


Workplayhijinks at
the local pottery shop.

Monica molds clay into
small discs; she’ll chisel

Celtic figures to fashion runes,
piercing each disc with a lace.

A mistake with clay?
Hey, crumple, start over.

At another table, colors
burst forth as Stephanie

dips her sponge to draw forth
bright discs of color on

a black cup; the design
beats any we’ve seen, as

intricate dots are dropped
into the circles in third dimension.

Karen splits her spoon rest
into shades that will please

her kitchen. She’s done this
before, you can tell, she does it well.

CRASH! Something goes
over the table edge.

Owner Kim sweeps up. She’s
earned every bruise on her knees.

She crouches to retrieve
shards of hardened “baked goods.”

I wonder what closing time is like.
The kiln, glazing over bits of art,

and Kim’s face, beaming as she surveys
her corner of the creative world.

The kiln, or Kim…
which glows more?

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For The Sunday Whirl: Bruise, Chisel, Crumple, Crouch, Crash, Edge, Split, Draw, Pierce, Burst, Beat, and Glow.

Image courtesy of, a royalty-free photo resource.

At FIRED uP!, owner Kim Stanfill-McMillan makes sure the members of her staff are all sassy, fun people. Girl Scout troops come in groups; home school kids have projects; and there’s a Ladies’ Night, where we all brown-bag our own bottles of Zin or beer… I combined two separate occasions because I wanted to mention all my friends and our projects!