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Students get Fired Up! in the Heights

Fired Up! features a wide variety of pottery pieces available for customers to personalize and take home.
Photo by Ron Martelli

Fired Up!, a paint-your-own pottery studio, is a destination for people of all ages and skill levels who want to express their creative side. Located on 4532 N Prospect Rd. in Peoria Heights, Fired Up! provides customers everything they needed to paint their own masterpieces on a wide variety of pottery.

Heather Hogan, manager of Fired Up!, said she loves every aspect of the business.

“All of the pottery is ready to be painted, so you don’t have to mold or make anything,” Hogan said. “You can probably spend up to two to three hours picking colors, and we’ll teach you techniques, ideas and then in a week to 10 days, you come back to pick up your piece after we fire it.”

Opened in 2004, Fired Up! has had plenty of time to perfect its craft and provide customers with a great experience.

“[Fired Up! started] when a group of moms were in Florida and went [to] a [similar store],” Hogan said. “They said there was nothing like this in the Peoria area, so they opened it up. [The store] has now changed hands, but we’re still here.”

According to Hogan, what sets Fired Up! apart from other pottery businesses is the overall experience.

“[The best part of Fired Up! is] the memory of making [pottery] and being able to be creative in a non-judgmental space,” Hogan said. “We’re not artists. We don’t have a gallery. We’re very family-friendly and open to all skill levels. And we clean up the mess.”

Although pottery prices range anywhere from $8 to over $40, Fired Up! also offers deals for college students with a reduced studio fee of $5 a person. Emma James, a senior public relations major, is one of those students who benefits from the reduced price.

“Fired Up! is a warm, friendly business, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something fun and creative to do,” James said. “Fired Up! has a wide selection of glaze colors as well as tons of different pottery pieces for you to paint. If you need help with any details, the staff is ready and willing to assist you with a smile.”

Hogan said creativity is something that fades in many adults as they get older, but she said she wants Fired Up! to allow people to bring back some of that creativity.

“A lot of adults, when they walk in, [they say], ‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body,’ and they’re so nervous and tense that they’re worried about making a mistake,” Hogan said. “Then a half hour in, they’re loosened up a little bit, and they’re proud of [their painting], and they’re happy.”

Fired Up! provides more than just a service; they provide memories, according to Hogan. The experience of painting the pottery and being able to take it home with you is why people continue to come back and why Fired Up! is still in business after more than a decade.

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