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San Clemente Journal

Fired Up - Arts and Crafts for All Ages

Mar 20, 2023 09:30AM ● By Nina Welch

Sarah Hopkins, owner of Fired Up.

By Nina Welch

There’s a ceramics studio at 143 Avenida Granada where anyone can nurture their inner artist. Sarah Hopkins, owner of Fired Up, says, “I like to give people the opportunity to try something new. To get their hands dirty. This is your art studio,” she emphasizes.

It’s a studio where everyone pours their own paint. Sarah doesn’t believe in telling kids no, don’t do that. The studio is kid-friendly and kid-empowering. She encourages very young children to hold their own pallets even if they accidentally drop them. 

Clay classes there include hand-built or potter’s wheel instruction. The studio provides a wide variety of pottery choices: cups, bowls, figures, etc. as well as the tools and assistance necessary to complete one’s own piece at one’s own pace. Also offered are clay impressions of dog’s paws and baby’s hands and feet.

Events are numerous at Fired Up. They include: Birthday parties, Mom’s night out, date night, and even wedding ceremonies and receptions in the back yard. Budding artists can also bring their Sawdust Festival hand-made pieces to Fired Up for completion. The process starts when a piece is thrown on the potter’s wheel at the Sawdust. After the piece gets dropped off at Fired Up, it will then be bisque fired and one can paint their pottery for its final glaze firing.

With an art background and a love for teaching, Sarah calls herself a professional-amateur. Her first introduction to Fired Up was when she worked for Cecily, the original owner, which opened in Dana Point in 1996. Upon relocating to San Clemente in 2001, Cecily kept offering Sarah the business, but she turned it down because she was attending UCI and wanted to be a school teacher. On April 1, 2005, she gave in and bought it. “No joke, I bought a business on April Fool’s Day.” 

Running a new business and still attending school while pregnant with her daughter and a three-year old son under foot was challenging. She was on her last quarter at UCI and along comes Mike, her dad, who worked for her for 5 ½ years so she could finish school. Sarah graduated Cum Laude from UCI with a bachelor’s in multi-subjects Social Science. 

In the Granada location for 14 years, she gives kudos to the best landlords she could ever have, Dick and Holly Veale. She is also happy to report that she opened Fired Up Carlsbad on September 1 in the Carlsbad Village. She’s a hard-working, loving, single mom to Justin, age 20, and Willow, age 17. Also, rounding out her family are her Chihuahuas. Ricky, Lucy, Ethel, and Frieda. The three girls are deaf and Ricky has anxiety issues, but they love everyone who comes into the studio.

Stop by Fired Up and say hello to Sarah. You’ll be glad you did. According to her, something that seems really hard at first can be made easy. “I just give customers the tools, and the universe has its way,” 143 Avenida Granada | (949)498-3929