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The Mud Mill
Tapping in to color and creativity

Located in the downtown area of Lodi, a kaleidoscope of color awaits at The Mud Mill pottery painting studio.

The business has been open for 18 years and is owned by Lodi native Vicki Snell, who decided to open The Mud Mill after previously being a preschool teacher for 11 years.

With 50 to 70 different colors of paint to choose from along with hundreds of bisque fired pieces to paint, Snell brought a must-stop color shop to the heart of Lodi.

Whether it is a mystical unicorn or a true-to-life horse, there are many varieties of animals to choose from to paint and create.

Each studio time is two hours long to give the artist a relaxed amount of time to paint their piece the way they would like with no rush, only costing $6 for kids and $8 for adults. After all pieces are painted, the staff at the shop dips them in their clear glaze and puts them in the kiln where they will go through a multiple day glaze fire before they are available to be picked up by the artists. 

With her background in early childhood education, Snell said she also loved to show children her interest in art. While visiting her brother in Arizona years ago, they took their own children to a similar shop and studio where she explained her experience as a “magical, perfect day.” The doors were open, the music was blasting, art was happening and she knew that she had to bring something like it back to Lodi.

After taking an entrepreneur class and growing her understanding about businesses and marketing plans, she opened her shop January of 2004.

“This shop is my child. Lodi was lacking in activities for kids, I will always take pride in supplying something like this in Lodi,” Snell said.

The Mud Mill creates a fun, pleasant experience for people of all ages to come in and make cool art pieces that represent their personality.

Snell explains how the name ‘Mud Mill’ came to her after wanting a name that was unique and made people wonder what it stood for. The word Mud was chosen to represent wet clay and also create an appealing name for the boys, and Mill to represent the factory that the pieces are made in.

“I would describe the shop as creative, family friendly, and enjoyable,” Snell stated.

Along with the joyous faces of kids she sees come in and out throughout the years, she is also very proud of her staff, from high school students to past graduates, she enjoys the bright faces she has worked alongside of through nearly two decades in operation.

Snell has also owned Smack Pie Pizza right next door to The Mud Mill for the past eight years after opening it with her oldest daughter.

“What goes better with children’s parties than pizza?” Snell said.

She also said the Lodi community welcomed her with open arms and she is grateful for the support, not only from those in that community but many that have enjoyed creating unique art pieces at her shop.

Snell has found her niche and plans to stay busy with her business venture until retirement, keeping The Mud Mill coloring the streets of Lodi for many years to come.

At 115 S. School St., Lodi, the studio is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Walk-ins are always welcome for freelance painting, birthday parties, bridal parties, and team building activities. The Mud Mill also hosts a popular Ladies Night on a regular basis.

While they welcome walk-ins, reservations can also be made and are especially helpful on the weekends, as those days are the busiest. Reservations can be made by calling the shop or going on their website at

For additional information, contact The Mud Mill at (209) 365-9900. 

The owner of The Mud Mill, Vicki Snell, displays her handmade Lodi-themed plate that she keeps in the shop for all to see, celebrating over 18 years of business.