A new craft store is letting people express themselves artistically in Hammond.
Gratefully Painted: A Traditional Ceramic Shop opened at 737 169th St.
Jamie Panicali, who grew up in Lake Station and now lives in Munster, owns the ceramics store. She's a self-identified hippie who often painted ceramics during her childhood. She got back into ceramics as a stress reliever during the COVID-19 pandemic, spending many hours painting them.
“It is amazing to watch when families sit down to paint, the phones don’t come out of their pockets and people just enjoy being together," she said.
Panicali has managed many retail stores, including GAP, Old Navy and Lefty's CoHo Landing, a bait shop her family owned in Portage.
“The city of Hammond has been so supportive in this venture, and I want to say thank you to them,” she said.
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The new shop gives people the opportunity to use kilns and clay slurry to create their own ceramic pieces from molds. People can paint pieces picked from the shelves in the store or at home.
It's meant to evoke "a simpler time in your life when your grandma took you to a little shop and you painted ceramics" and "there were no worries, no phones, and lots of time talking while creating what you thought was a masterpiece."
“With the doors just opening, the people that have come through have almost become part of our family," she said. "It’s such an amazing community.”
Gratefully Painted is a one-stop-shop for ceramics. It carries slip, brushes, paints and all the other supplies one would need to create or paint their own ceramics.
“Ceramics have had a resurgence recently and I am so proud to be part of the art world," she said.
Panicali got more than 20,000 molds to make ceramics with dating back to the 1950s from the basement of a family who owned a small ceramic store. She intends to carry on the legacy of their family.
"New people are finding our shop daily and falling in love with ceramics all over again and some for the first time," she said.