Perhaps Katie Fuerst was born an artisan.
Her parents are both artisans themselves, and she was always surrounded by the art world in some way or another. Her first art teacher in elementary school sparked her interest, she says. She attended college at Texas Tech University before remembering that art was her passion. Then she transferred to the University of North Texas to get her BFA in Art History.
After college, Fuerst returned to the neighborhood and worked for a paint-your-own-pottery studio in Preston Center, where she learned the tricks of the trade. One day, a customer came in requesting to do a party at her own house, and the manager informed her that they didn’t travel to people’s homes for the parties. Fuerst followed the woman to her car and asked when she needed the party ready, and within two weeks, Fuerst had her own ceramics painting party. She promptly quit and got to work on her own.
“I walked in and gave my two weeks’ notice and bought a kiln. She was my first client, but it just kind of mushroomed from there,” Fuerst says. “I would take breaks every once in a while because I had young kids, but even if I went to someone’s house for a playdate, I always brought ceramics.”
Fuerst continued her business for nearly 30 years, painting countless ornaments, plates, cups and anything else Fuerst could make out of clay.
“A lot of my friends have their kid’s footprints on plates around their house and stuff,” Fuerst says. “There’s always just something that I love about immortalizing something on clay that is going to be special for years to come.”
You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the classes, Fuerst says. In fact, many of her clients come into the parties with the notion that they’re going to paint their ceramics in all one color because they don’t have the confidence to paint something more.
“I walk them through and say ‘No, I want you to dream up what you want this to look like, and I will help you get there,’” she says. “I have story after story of having so much fun painting where they get it back and go, ‘No way; there’s no way I painted this.’ And I just love that because I know the medium so well that I can break it down and tell you exactly how to get there.”
For Fuerst, painting parties and ceramics are about more than just the piece; it’s about entertaining.
“I love how the take-home kits, even if I am not there, it’s a party,” Fuerst says. “They’ve invited friends over and they’ve set the table nicely, and when I drop it back off to them, it’s just something unique that they’ve created.”
Fuerst previously sold ceramics in JoJo Mommy and Highland Park Scot Shop. Now, Fuerst mostly sells off of her website, where she is able to sell take-home kits, schedule paint parties, and sell her own ceramic creations.
She is working on a spring line called Spring Has Sprung with items like small food-safe vessels and a bedside collection of cups. She aims to have a new line every season, with ornaments returning in the fall.
In addition to ceramics, Fuerst painted a mural in Oak Cliff in 2021 entitled “Dallas Postcard” and is open to doing more, wherever creative direction takes her. She facilitates paint parties in Preston Hollow, Lake Highlands and other neighborhoods in central Dallas.