In The News
All Fired Up has been receiving great reviews from some of the Washington area's newspapers! Below are recent articles/videos:
Winter SCORES at Johnson Middle School: Pottery making
From Bethesda Magazine - Click here for the full article
Hometown: A Teacher After All
For Liz Winchell, owning a pottery studio is about more than creating ceramics
When she was in college, Liz Winchell wanted to be a special education teacher. But she has dyslexia, a learning disability that impairs her capacity to read and write, and her professors at New England College in New Hampshire were brutally candid.
“It didn’t work out,” she says. “I did my student teaching and my kids in the fourth grade had a better reading level than I did. So I failed my student teaching. They said, ‘You’re not going to be a teacher.’ ”
They were wrong.
Today, at 42, Winchell runs All Fired Up, a studio on Elm Street in the center of Bethesda where folks can walk through the door, paint a piece of pottery, and go home later with a work of art. The disability that plagued her in college now gives her a keen insight into how to reach customers on their own terms.
From The Washingtonian - Click here for the full article
7 Romantic Things to Do With Your Sweetheart in Washington
You can go to dinner and a movie any night. Why not woo with something more off the beaten path?
By Erin Williams
You can spend any day of the year having dinner and a movie, but it’s the creative ideas that can make this Valentine’s Day one to remember. We rounded up some of our favorite spots to visit to commemorate this February 14.
Build Something Lasting Together
Tea (or wine) for two: Tap into your creative side at All Fired Up in Bethesda, and design a couple’s mug set, heart-shaped plates, and more at the store. (The Cleveland Park location will be closed on Valentine’s Day.) Make an early date night of it and bring your own food to enjoy as you sketch out your ideal design. Once your work is complete, it will be dipped in glaze, fired, and ready for pickup in about a week’s time. Weeknights are best to drop in, but staffer Matthew Heller says, “If you really want to assure a spot, you can call ahead.” This place can also work for a family-friendly V-Day activity, as well. E-mail email@example.com for more information.
3413 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-363-9590; 4923 Elm St., Bethesda; 301-654-3206; allfiredupdc.com.
*****PLEASE NOTE******Cleveland Park is open on Tuesdays, which means we will be open on Valentine's Day. The article was printed incorrectly.
From The Montgomery County Sentinel
Get All Fired Up This Weekend
By Jacqueline Ruttimann
Special to the Sentinel
Standing over a kiln, Liz Winchell, owner of the Bethesda and Cleveland Park pottery studios All Fired Up, carefully loads her customer’s creations so as not to allow them to touch or fall on each other.
"It’s kind of like a puzzle," Winchell said when describing the process. She uses, similar words about why she started her business, becoming first a manager at the Cleveland Park studio after only several months of working there in 2001 and then the owner of the two pottery studios last year. "It just agreed with me. It’s just the right amount of interaction with people and the creative process. It’s a good balance."
At All Fired Up, pottery isn’t the only thing that is set ablaze. So are the imaginations of people both young and old. At this studio, people choose from a wide assortment of items--ranging from animals, magnets, light fixtures and furniture knobs to the more traditional cups and platters-to either paint or create a mosaic on.
"You’ll find pieces for everyone," said Winchell. "We have more boys that come in here now."
For just the price of the piece, which starts at around $16 to $21, depending on the size and shape, customers are allowed free range to a galore of materials, from paints and tiles, to stencils and sponges, for the more artistically timid. Water-filled mugs and bowls are set at each table both for practical purposes and for encouraging design techniques.
"Some people end up painting the exact bowl or mug on their table but that’s OK because they were inspired," said Winchell. Friendly staff, such as Winchell and Amy Shaller of the Bethesda store, is also available to encourage and aid in the artistic process.
"People are surprised that they end up having a good time," said Shaller. "You get past a certain age and you lose touch of your creative side."
In order to further bolster the customer’s creativity, there is even a wall of fame set up at the front window of the store, where outstanding customer pieces selected by the staff are displayed along with the photo the customer-artist.
"Customers who come in can often be heard saying 'I wonder if I’ll make it to the Wall of Fame.' It’s amazing to hear people in their 30s, 40s and 50s say this since it’s some thing you hear children say," said Winchell. "It brings out their inner spirit."
Special programs and deals are offered for the people of all ages. An assortment of birthday party packages is offered for children typically on the weekends, however there have been parties designed for adults celebrating their 40th birthday or wedding showers as well. Adults can also retreat from their office and work on a piece while on their lunch break, when selected items are discounted at 15 percent. Thursday nights is Ladies Night, in which females who bring a friend can also get a price reduction. Happy Hours are even encouraged on Friday nights from 6 to 9 pm, where people can bring in their own beverage and food and listen to what Winchell describes as "chill" music, everything from the Clash to Miles Davis.
"It’s really relaxing. It's chill," said Lydia Chammas of Friendship Heights, M.D. who came in with her two friends, Alex Weinberg of Vienna, Va., and Mary O'Donoghue of Bethesda, to hang out before each of them go off in their separate directions to college.
Her friend, Mary O'Donoghue, agrees, adding that it is novel experience.
"We thought it’d be fun to do," said O'Donoghue. "Everyone is getting sick of doing the same thing when they go out: movie-restaurant, movie-restaurant."
All Fired Up has two locations, one in Bethesda at 4923 Elm Street and the other in Washington, D.C. at 3413 Connecticut Ave, NW (across from the Cleveland Park Metro). To make reservations and for more information, call either 301-654-3206 or 202-363-9590 or visit the Web site at www.allfiredupdc.com.
From The Common Denominator
A Welcoming Place: NW shop builds relationships through art
By Christine Goss
Special to The Common Denominator
Liz Winchell encourages Alissa Tofias as they evaluate the mosaic that Tofias is designing on a picture frame at Cleveland Park's All Fired Up pottery studio.
"I think you have a very funky look here" Winchell says. "I like the different colored boxes"
The interaction with a customer demonstrates the community atmosphere that Winchell says she has worked to construct through her store, embracing the opportunity to build relationships through art.
"I've created a welcoming place for people to come and paint. They come because it is comfortable and relaxing" she says.
Tofias, who came to the shop to make a mosaic picture frame for her mother as a birthday present. explains that "the chips remind me of sea glass and whenever we are together, we go for long walks on the beach and collect sea glass".
After coaching Tofias on general techniques for cutting the chips, arranging them with a needle-like tool and applying to glue,Winchell steps back to see Tofias's creativity materialize.
"l love watching customers come in with ideas already to execute them." Winchell says.
All Fired Up, located a 3413 Connecticut Ave. NW, is a unique business that allows customers to experiment with their artistic side by painting a ceramic piece or creating a mosaic.
For painting, customers select anything from a coffee cup to a platter. An assortment of tiles display the available paint color options, and baskets of sponges, stencils, stamps and other tools encourage exploration of different techniques and styles.
Options for making a mosaic include a mirror or a picture frame and small pots of different colored chips are available to work with. Once customers select their piece, they have the opportunity to sit at a table and personalize.
Winchell's personal investment in her customers is apparent. as she interrupts her conversation with a reporter when the front door opens and a woman walks into the store. Winchell jumps up and quickly walks to the back room to retrieve the customer’s finished platter.
"It came out great!" Winchell says as she displays the platter on which the customer has painted tiny peacocks. Its creator expresses the same approval.
"When customers are happy, I am happy." Winchell says.
Customers are the heart of All Fired Up. From children to adults. Winchell delights in working with them and watching them grown and change artistically as they "become more deliberate and their styles really take form” she says.
Winchell's love of art began when she was a teenager.
"When 1 was 16, I took a trip to Portland. Oregon--I saw Mount Rainier and Cannon Beach and over 10 days I took 10 rolls of film. It was one of the key times in my life when I was really focused on composition, landscape and nature. Ever since then, I have been nurturing my creative side," Winchell recounts.
However she resisted focusing her energy and instead, remained open to "always learning new art mediums" -- including photography, ceramics, crocheting.
After graduating from college with a major in elementary and special education and a minor in visual arts. Winchell started working at a store similar to All Fired Up while she looked for a job in teaching. She soon found that the work joined her love of teaching with her love of art. She also embraced an environment which, she says, "combined my different skills and allowed me to do what 1 do best: teach but without the constraints of a structured classroom."
She quickly became manager and in her own words: "I can never do anything halfway. I always treated it [the store] like it was my own and it was frustrating that it wasn’t mine. There was so much I wanted to change."
Thus, after 18 months, she bought the store on May 21, 2004, changing its name to All Fired Up.
But the new name is not the only personal touch Winchell added to the store and the "facelift" she gave it was more than just new chairs, different colored paint or a greater selection of materials. The changes Winchell made were internal as she worked to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and community through her own family.
"My parents divorced when I was young and the store has really brought the family together. Everyone contributes in their own way," she says.
Winchell's father, a marketing entrepreneur, advises his daughter on business matters such as her decision to open a second store in suburban Bethesda, Md. Her mother, an architectural librarian, influences her artistically.
"I can’t even put up a shelf in here without asking her how high," Winchell says with a chuckle. Winchell calls her parents’ combined knowledge "a fusion of business and art."
Just as the store has brought together her own family, Winchell says she finds great satisfaction in knowing that her store also brings members of the community together and helps strengthen relationships.
From formal events, like birthday parties and bridal showers, to friends just wanting to spend time together. All Fired Up provides a welcoming environment to relax and catch up.
"The best part is people being open to new relationships. That is what this community embraces. They are open to laugh and talk. People inspire each other," Winchell.says.
The community-centeredness of the All Fired Up is visible through many aspects of the store. For example. Winchell has created a "Wall of Fame" to recognize the “exceptional artists in the area. The "Wall of Fame" is a portion of the wall that displays 10 to 12 pieces that the staff appreciates as particularly good.
Winchell says she frequently provides discounts to school groups because she strongly believes that "everyone should have an opportunity" to experiment with art.