As a former employee of the economic-development organization Headwaters RC&D, Dillon resident Katie Barba is used to helping business owners achieve their dreams.
These days, Barba can be found chasing her own dreams at The Honeypot, a paint-your-own-pottery studio and gift shop founded by the Dillon resident in the heart of the city’s downtown district.
Located at 34 N. Idaho St., The Honeypot allows guests to create their own designs — on ceramic figurines, piggy banks, coffee mugs, plates and a whole lot more — while offering a host of gifts that are about as cute, quirky and whimsical as the shop itself.
Barba also sells soap, which she makes from goats’ milk, shea butter and other natural ingredients, along with local honey. (Hence, The Honeypot.)
In addition to the painting experience, Barba hosts classes on soap making, pottery painting and hand-building ceramics, along with special events like Women and Wine Night and the proverbial private bridal shower and birthday party.
Barba has lived in Dillon for about five years, and she had been working at Headwaters for about one before launching her studio.
“I decided I wanted to run my own business when I walked by this building and I saw the empty window,” said Barba. “I looked in, and it was just so big and bright — and I don’t like the town to have empty windows.”
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Barba hasn’t always been a ceramicist. She started practicing the art several years ago after visiting her mother-in-law in Vermont, where she took a free ceramics class. After that she became “obsessed,” pursuing the craft with ever more intensity over the years.
As for her guests, The Honeypot allows them to unleash their creativity.
“It’s a way to have something personalized for yourself or someone you love,” said Barba when asked what the appeal is behind painting pottery.
It’s also a way, she said, to spend time with someone you love, as many guests use the studio as a place to hang out with their significant other, their mother, siblings or children.
Painting pottery can also be therapeutic, according to the store owner, who has hosted a cancer support group at the studio. There’s just something relaxing about creating art, getting lost while throwing a pot or painting a design, perhaps with the sound of music in the background.
“You can make it anything you want,” she said, noting that, when it comes to making art, the options are as limitless as one’s imagination.