27 May 2021
Aimee Randolph, Claire Rohleder and Deborah Kern never meant to start a business.
“We wanted to hang out and be creative … the business honestly grew rather organically,” Claire says. “I’d like to claim that it was part of our plan to become the creative masterminds of the Cayman Islands, but we just really like making art.”
Aimee and Claire met in 2012 at a Visual Arts Society gathering. They bonded quickly, and soon formed the 3 Girls & A Kiln Art Collective with friend Charlotte, who left the island that same year. In 2013, Aimee started teaching art at John Gray High School; her classroom was, fortuitously, next door to Deborah’s. Debs, as she is fondly referred to, was not only a talented painter, animator and illustrator, but she was also fun to be around.
Thus, 3 Girls & A Kiln, as it is now comprised, was born.
The three started small by working craft fairs, art markets and other mobile venues, simply enjoying creating and spending time together. By 2017, they had left their respective full-time jobs to open their first brick-and-mortar space on Camana Bay’s Paseo.
In January of 2019, they upgraded to a larger unit on Market Street where they were able to accommodate a retail store and a busy schedule of glazing and woodworking classes.
While working in the arts full-time is a dream come true, they admit that running a business has its challenges.
“The day-to-day staffing, payroll and event calendars, permits and licences, coupled with juggling life as three working moms is the challenging part," says Claire.
Despite the challenges that might come with business ownership, there’s a lot for which to be grateful.
“Post-COVID, our ability to pivot in hard times and thrive rather that just survive, was — and still is — truly very rewarding. From designing home-school art bags, to introducing a larger amount of drop-in classes with other artists also feeling the COVID-struggle, to taking on large-scale installation projects we previously wouldn't have had time to undertake, is a very welcome reward.”
Sharing their love for art with others and fostering an atmosphere where anyone can experience the joy of creating is what the three artistic ladies of 3 Girls & A Kiln love most about their work, Claire says.
“I think we sometimes have to remind ourselves that 3GK really is a dream that turned into our reality," she says. "I think I speak for us all when I say that we truly are living the dream.”
There are still more dreams to come with workshops and projects on the horizon.
“Keep those eyes peeled for creative weekend retreats,” Claire says. “Times, destination and location to be announced!”