Soap shop brings paint-your-own-pottery to Fourth Street

My Little Soap Shop, which opened in downtown Huntingburg in April at 415 East 4th Street, has added a paint-your-own-pottery studio.

Operated by Tammy and Joe Huddleston, the business initially opened in Jasper’s Southgate Shopping Center in 2018. (Here is a story about how Tammy became involved in soap making.) They began considering a move as they made plans to add some new elements to their artisan soap business.

These cupcakes are made from soap, a delicate process in which Tammy pipes the semisolid soap to create the icing.

Besides the great atmosphere along the iconic street, Tammy has easy access to the post office just around the corner. An important aspect as the company’s internet sales took off last year with more and more people seeking out online shops in light of Covid.

My Little Soap Shop fits into the iconic street’s eclectic mix of restaurants, caf├ęs, and unique shops. The new location not only adds Tammy’s handmade array of soaps, bath bombs, and more to Fourth Street, but the shop also features many handmade items from local craftspeople, artists, and jewelers. Many of which have built relationships with Joe through his position as the market master at the Jasper Farmers Market.

One of the main reasons the Huddlestons decided to move their store to Huntingburg was to offer paint-your-own-pottery services.

Tammy became interested in pottery last year during the shutdown. “It was her Covid hobby,” Joe joked.

She loves making soap but has always been interested in different outlets for her creativity. She was researching pottery spinning, slip casting, and kilns early in 2020. When Covid shut her down like so many other businesses, she negotiated with Joe to purchase a kiln.

“I wanted to do mugs and soap dishes,” Tammy said. “And he was like, ‘Where are we gonna put it? You are gonna burn something down.'”

“And that required me to go do my own research,” Joe added.

After investing in the kiln for Tammy to expand her offerings at the soap shop, the Huddlestons began considering how they could use it to help their business in other ways. After moving over to Huntingburg, they updated the back portion of the store to create a workspace for customers to sit and paint.

When customers come in, they can pick from Tammy’s many bisque pieces on the glass display shelves. Right now, many pieces are Halloween-themed, but there are plenty of options. Once they have a piece chosen, all the special paints are displayed with matching medallions showing the fired color.

“They can take a pencil and draw their own designs on the piece,” Tammy said. “It is however they want to do it.”

It takes three coats of paint to complete a piece ready to be kiln fired. Customers will be notified their piece has been fired and ready for pick up within about ten days.

Tammy and Joe consider the paint your own pottery a low-key and relaxing activity that results in a unique gift or sentimental decorative piece for a home.

“Whether it is a date night or a mother-daughter day, it is time that people can spend together,” Tammy said.

Joe has a more realistic view. “Parents like to take their kids out to make messes somewhere else,” he said.

Since announcing the new addition to their shop, they’ve had interest from different groups booking parties or events, something that Joe would like to see grows.

“We offer a PYOP — paint-your-own-pottery — with BYOB — bring your own booze,” he joked about the adult parties the shop books for after hours.

Besides the cost of the bisque piece, customers pay $7 a day to paint (12 and under is $5 a day).

The shop is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can follow them on Facebook here, and their website is here. You can call them at 812-827-8522.

The small medallions allow customers to see what color the finished piece will take on as the firing process can cause the colors to change slightly.