When Sarah Hopkin learned months ago that her landlord had sold the space on Avenida Granada that housed her pottery-making business, she felt a lot of fear regarding whether the new space she chose would offer the same environment to her customers.
“The only locations that we first were looking at were all business-, office-type places,” she said. “There wasn’t anything as cool as an Ole Hanson house, and that’s where we were for 15 years.”
Thanks to friend and local real estate agent Cecilia McDermott, though, Hopkin was able to keep her goal of remaining in San Clemente alive, moving into a 3,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Café Calypso.
“I’m not religious, but I believe in God, and God brought us to this spot, because San Clemente did not want to lose us,” she said.
Now situated in the heart of San Clemente on Avenida Del Mar, the prime location has greatly helped Fired Up San Clemente, according to Hopkin, who said very few walked by her business at her previous locations on El Camino Real and Granada.
“I cannot even believe the amount of foot traffic that comes in here, it’s so fascinating to me,” she said. “I’m really grateful to be here, because I think more people will see us.”
Fired Up San Clemente has offered private pottery-making lessons since 2001, after Hopkin took over a studio and taught herself how to make hand prints and clay impressions in order to start teaching.
Customers call in to make appointments for one-on-one lessons, lessons for two to four people, or for groups. Hopkin said she caters to everyone who comes in, teaching people handbuilding or how to make clay impressions or use a potter’s wheel.
After switching from her desire to be a teacher to going into business early in her adult life, Hopkin feels as if she now occupies the role of teacher at Fired Up.
“I get to teach people how to do clay, (and) I get to teach them how to let their inner artist shine, because a lot of people get stunted and get told that they’re not an artist,” she said. “That’s kind of my job in this world, too, to encourage people, to nurture them, all that stuff.”
Operating out of the street-level floor at the Hotel San Clemente apartment complex, built in 1927, Hopkin said she reflects daily on how blessed she is to be in her position and her ability to share the joy of making art with others.
Even back when she first toured the space, she remembers how she responded after being asked if she needed to take pictures.
“I said, ‘No, I don’t need to, I know I’m moving in here,’ ” Hopkin recalled.
She still sees many people walk in and expect to order from the now-closed Café Calypso, which Hopkin said can be frustrating, but it’s also neat because it introduces people to her business.
“I can’t believe (the changes from) being one block over,” Hopkin said. “You could throw a stone over the top of that building and hit my old house. … I’m pretty stoked.”
More information about Fired Up can be found at firedupsanclemente.com.