Sick of buying expensive supplies and having to adhere to a class schedule just to create art, Jennifer Kurtz Rubin started the first of her chain of ceramic lounges in 1993. Each Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge is designed as a social and creative space, one that all customers can use to express themselves artistically while catching up with friends. The lounge throws open its doors for both kids and adults to decorate clay bisque pieces, such as mugs and salad bowls, with a bounty of colorful supplies, never worrying about cleanup afterward. Once they’re complete, the art pieces are glazed, fired, and ready for pickup in a few days. And because artists can stay for a whole afternoon or just 30 minutes, the lounge even grants a few moments of creativity to patrons with the busiest schedules. The company also goes beyond casual art making to host parties for kids and adults, in which they can bring in live music, serve food, and train scoops of ice cream to paint their own bowls.
Recently profiled by The Atlantic for its members' innovative inventions, TechShop’s supportive community of inventors, artists, technicians, and alchemists share their excitement about the next big idea in an environment limited only by their collective imagination. The 17,000-square-foot smorgasbord of inventive creativity beckons people of all skill levels to its DIY confines, where members can wield tools not found in most private workshops, slicing through steel with a plasma cutter or accessing 3-D design software to finally realize the goal of crawling inside the Internet. Hands-on classes jump-start creative juices, introducing students to vocational skills including welding, soldering, and woodworking. Neophyte inventors aged 12–17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to ensure they don't break physics.
Moda Italia has kept Silicon Valley professionals looking sharp for more than two decades while keeping abreast of modern styles and trends. The business fuses quality craftsmanship with fabrics imported from vendors around the world to create an elegant, tasteful style reminiscent of bygone eras. An expansive inventory of more than 800 suits—including hard-to-find sizes such as 34 extra short and 80 long and portly—ensures snappy, last-minute alterations, and their in-house designer and tailor modifies threads to fit each customer's frame for any event, including weddings, dates, job interviews, and business meetings. The shop also doles out rental tuxedos, but purchases of suits, sport coats, and slacks are rewarded with free alterations for life.
During the challenge, teams of two or more individuals will run helter-skelter around the city in a frantic race for cash prizes and personal pride, with a first-place award of $200. Not only will participants have to solve strands of interconnected clues that would test the deductive powers of even the most seasoned children's book detective, they'll need to plot spatiotemporal stratagems while exploring undiscovered corners of the city. Although being physically fit is a plus, quick wits and wise planning will ultimately determine the winners. Participation in the challenge gets contestants a clue packet, race-number bib, and T-shirt, and fees go toward the prize pool. The website offers a regular FAQ, as well as a Groupon FAQ detailing the intricacies of the race, what to wear the day of, why it's not okay to bring a boa constrictor, and more.
At Almaden Valley Window Washing, a small, family-run business operating for more than three decades, technicians use only child- and pet-safe cleaning products to oust gunk from homes' interiors and exteriors. Grime fighters free windows of light-blocking filth and relieve gutters of accumulated foliage or broomstick fibers dropped by migrating witches. The handy team can also refurbish houses' insides with home repairs or remodeling. Always attuned to homeowner's satisfaction, the company's landscape architects use meticulous techniques when coiffing hedges, installing gutter protectors, or painting decks with glow-in-the-dark bull's eyes for arriving UFOs.