Pottery and paint on the prairie

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 11:51 AM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2023 at 12:13 PM CDT
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STAPLETON, Neb. (KOLN) - A paint-your-own pottery business in Stapleton is attracting visitors from around the region, and it’s all housed inside a beautiful old bank building.

“You come in, you pick a piece, and put some glaze on it,” Brush Fire Studio owner Lauren Leetch said. “I have a kiln in the basement, so usually it takes me a week. I’ll fire it, and then next week, you can come back and pick up a fired piece that you customized yourself.” Originally, the building was a bank in 1912. “It sat vacant for quite a while,” Leetch said. “Then one of the community members came in and bought it, and renovated the whole thing, He was going to keep it, but couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted to do with it. I kept bugging him, and he came to the point where he gave up, and I said fabulous! I wanted to take it, and figure out something to do with it for the community.”

This community gathering spot definitely has some special features that provide plenty of character. “It has the original vault,” Leetch said. “I have the original vault door. All the transoms have the original hardware. There’s a lot of original things that are still in here. I have had a few community members come in here, and say they worked at the bank when it was open. It’s fun to have them come in and tell me what is still here. There’s a sink in the back that is super unique. It was still here back in 1912.”

As you can imagine, this business is important to the community. “We’ve really outreached,” Leetch said. “There’s people from Merna, Arnold and North Platte coming here. Really, it’s more expansion than I originally planned, so that’s fun to see is how it’s not only affected Stapleton, but the communities around us, too.”

The owner says she has a business background, but an appreciation for art. “I actually have a masters in business,” Leetch said. “So not an art background, but I have a family that’s full of artists. My mom will come from Colorado and paint a bunch of stuff. She was an art director for an ad agency, so she’s artistic, and I got just a small portion of what she has.”

Hours do vary at the studio, but if you are interested in visiting the Brush Fire Studio in Stapleton, check the business out on Facebook.