Creative outlet, genuine connections

Creative outlet, genuine connections

Patrons paint unique creations at Grandma Tiny’s DIY Pottery

By Sarah Allen

A little shop, a lot of creativity, and the love of a hometown all made the year 2020 a bit more colorful in Hillsboro.

“I love the area,” said Sean Cockrell, owner of Grandma Tiny’s DIY Pottery.

Cockrell is a native of Bainbridge, and is well familiar with rural life.

“When we grew up there was absolutely nothing to do,” he said, adding with a laugh that he and his friends would go to “the big metropolis of Hillsboro.” There, they would play pool or cruise.

Last year, Cockrell decided he wanted to add another option to small town entertainment — and Grandma Tiny’s DIY Pottery was born.

“We opened on July 3, 2020,” Cockrell said. “The year of COVID.”

He described how people thought opening during the pandemic was a risk. But, he said, “People were ready to do stuff.”

“We were bombarded,” Cockrell explained.

When patrons come into the studio, they find various products to choose from on one side of the store. Options range from animals, such as owls and elephants, to mugs and plates, and to seasonal items. Cockrell commented that, during the holiday season, the studio’s vintage Christmas trees are very popular.

The store’s most popular item, however, was a surprise.

“For some reason, people are obsessed with turtles,” he said. “I thought it was going to be owls.”

After patrons have selected their piece, store employees will help them pick out colors. Then, it is time to paint. Once the masterpieces are finished, they are fired in a kiln right in the store.

The firing process takes about 16 hours, from start to finish. At its highest temperature, the kiln is 1,950 degrees. After hitting that point, it slowly starts to cool down again over eight hours.

Cockrell added that not all shops fire their pottery in house. Many studios, instead, use acrylic paint followed by a clear varnish.

In contrast, Grandma Tiny’s DIY Pottery uses a ceramic glaze, which includes a mixture of sand and minerals. The glaze and firing leads to the creations “looking like manufactured pieces,” Cockrell said.

In addition to walk-ins, the shop also hosts birthday parties and ladies’ nights. Cockrell added that he is hoping to add evening classes for kids as well.

Each visit to the shop means that people will walk away with pottery that is purely their own—while also creating fun memories.

After all, according to Cockrell, the store provides a chance for people to disconnect from technology—and reconnect with each other.

He said that, whenever he is in the shop, “I always find a way to connect with [people].”

Since he is from the area, he can almost always find something in common with those who visit his store. And that link leads to “genuine conversation,” Cockrell said.

“That’s what people are looking for,” he added.

Grandma Tiny’s DIY Pottery is located at 697 Harry Sauner Road in Hillsboro. To learn more, search “Grandma Tiny’s DIY Potter-Hillsboro OHIO” on Facebook. Cockrell also has another DIY pottery store in the Florence Mall in Kentucky. More information on that store can be found at

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