Glaze marks 10th anniversary
Thiensville business has grown to more than just pottery

By Dave Fidlin - News Graphic Correspondent

August 26, 2014

Kristina Eckert said glaze’s move to Thiensville helped the business
keep up with growth and expand.  

Photos by Mark Justesen

THIENSVILLE - Since its inception, Kristina Eckert’s goal with glaze, the arts-themed pottery shop she founded a decade ago, has been the same. “Intergenerational” is a word she uses to describe her ever-evolving business.

“This is a place where a grandparent can spend time with his or her grandchild,” Eckert said. “How many things can bring people of different ages together? This is the kind of entertainment that makes it possible.”

Glaze’s 4,000-square-foot building, situated in the heart of Thiensville’s business district, has a range of rooms to accommodate age groups and interests.

There’s a large gathering space, for example, with an attached mini kitchen for children’s birthday parties. On the other end of the spectrum, glaze has quaint, private meeting rooms for people looking to make a memento on a date.

“We encourage people to use the whole building,” Eckert said as she points to glaze’s wide-open feel and its three floors of space.

With a variety of paints and other decorative supplies on hand at the store, customers have the opportunity to make custom creations. The presence of nine kilns means the product never leaves the store.

Flippy, the mascot for glaze, welcomes customers to the business in downtown Thiensville.  
Photos by Mark Justesen

While the paint-your-own pottery remains the foundation of glaze’s business, Eckert has expanded her operation in other directions, including glass fusing. She describes it as “a new pop art form.” Like the clay stemming from the pottery, fused glass is created with kilns.

“People like glass fusing because you’re able to make colorful, bright, vibrant pieces,” Eckert said. “It gets loaded into one of our kilns like a big puzzle.”

In addition to the open studio space, throughout the day glaze offers custom classes for all age groups. In recent months, the store offered a summer camp-style activity called Glaze Days. Some of the programs aimed at adults include a beginner’s class, Cre8, as well as Wine and Dezign.

Food and drink are also served up at glaze through its in-store café, The Purple Frog. The eatery serves an assortment of light fare, including such beverages as wine.

In May, a new item – gourmet toast – was added to the menu. One of the newer artisan crazes, gourmet toast was first introduced in San Francisco a few years ago and has been gradually spreading to restaurants and coffee shops throughout the United States.

Unlike its traditional counterpart, gourmet toast is served in 1-inchthick slices and has a variety of toppings. To date, the Purple Frog has 20 flavors available — including a birthday cake-flavored toast to satisfy sweeter cravings and a pizza-flavored toast for those interested in something saltier. Four flavors were introduced initially this spring.

Gourmet toast has been added to the menu at The Purple Frog.
Photos by Mark Justesen

As the Purple Frog has grown within the confines of glaze, the store has unveiled a mascot, Flippy. The aptly colored purple frog was introduced early this year.

Fiddleheads has been supplying glaze with the bread to make the gourmet toast. The partnership is one of several within the community. With its ready supply of glass fusing equipment, glaze has been manufacturing dinnerware for the cheel, a recently opened restaurant in Thiensville.

Glaze has been present in Thiensville for six years. During the first four years, the store operated out of a smaller facility within Cedarburg.

“We outgrew our space,” Eckert said, pointing to the reason for the relocation. “We were turning people away, and we realized we were hurting ourselves by not being able to accommodate the level of service we had.”

Amid the exhaustive search, Eckert and her employees had been hoping to find a space in Cedarburg, since glaze had established a strong base within the community. But the present-day Green Bay Road building in Thiensville, a former restaurant, turned out to be the perfect antidote.

“It’s obvious this was meant to be,” Eckert said. ‘It’s turned out to be a really good fit. Our customer base has grown as we’ve drawn in people from Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls and Germantown. We’ve been able to offer so much more to our customers.”

The repurposing of a once-dormant restaurant into glaze is one of several examples of how Thiensville officials have been eyeing revitalization of the downtown commercial district in recent years.

“(Glaze) has turned out to be a wonderful addition to the community,” Village President Van Mobley said. “We’re pleased they’re here. Glaze is exactly the kind of business Thiensville is attempting to attract and recruit. We’re not chasing the chains; we’re looking to have locally owned shops in our community.”

Mobley lauded Eckert, a member of the Thiensville Business Association, for being collaborative and granting the village an easement to a pedestrian bridge that will link Green Bay Road to its larger commercial counterpart, Main Street.

“Glaze has made a great business citizen in Thiensville, and for multiple reasons,” Mobley said.


149 Green Bay Road Thiensville