If you decide not to be a mere idle observer, the time spent in the Maluj! creative café can actually help you solve the question you may have already asked yourself recently: What presents am I going to give my closest ones or business partners this Christmas?
The non-smoking café placed right at the tram stop Perunova at Prague’s Korunní street attracts attention of every passer-by with its cheerful showcase displaying various ceramic plates and cups painted by the café’s visitors. Even if, like me, you are convinced that you have no artistic talent whatsoever, there is no need to get discouraged by the sight.
When you enter the café, the first thing you will notice is the homey atmosphere – kids and their parents sitting at tables and concentrating on their pieces of work, other kids and adults picking out paints they are going to use.
After you order one of the beverages on the menu, you can go through the instructions placed on every table (available only in Czech, unfortunately) that tell you how to proceed if you want to paint ceramics.
The whole process is quite easy. First, you have to decide what it is you want to paint on. You can choose from a wide range of pre-fired pottery items. Cups, plates, bowls or vases of various shapes are placed on the shelves in the front room of the café. The prices range from about CZK 180 to CZK 500, depending on the size of the pottery. Whatever you choose, you simply bring it to your table.
If you are tired after a long day at work and have no more energy to think of what it is you want to paint, there are stencils or books where you can find inspiring tips.
You can choose from a wide range of paint colours. All paints are non-toxic and washable by water. Each of the bottles with paint has a small tile in front of it which shows the final shade of the paint after the ceramics are fired. Do not, therefore, get frustrated if the shade is different from what it looks like on the tile.
There are small palettes where you can pour the paints you need, so that the bottles with paint are constantly available to all customers. Paintbrushes of various thickness, sponges, and other tools are available, as well as aprons in case you do not trust your skills.
Before you start painting, you can draft your idea on a piece of paper or you can use a pencil to draw directly on the pottery – after the pottery is fired there will be no traces of it left. It is recommended to make two layers of paint so that the colours are strong.
When you are finished, you simply give your piece of art to the staff who will glaze and fire it for you. All that remains to be done is to come back in a few days to pick it up.
If you feel like painting on pottery or glass or tie-dyeing or just want to grab a coffee to go, you can stop by any day between 2pm and 10pm. No reservation is required, but if you are planning to come in a larger group it may be better to call ahead. You do not need to bring anything with you, everything necessary is available at the café and included in the CZK 80 studio fee.
In case painting leaves you cold but you know someone who might appreciate this experience, you can get them a gift certificate (available from CZK 200 to CZK 1000), buy them one of the art courses offered by the studio or arrange a birthday celebration at the café. The café also offers team-building activities tailored to companies’ needs.
If you want to get a better idea of what the café looks like, here is a link to a video with a tour of the place, where the owner talks about starting her business (in Czech).