At the helm of Clay Owen Studios stands artist Autumn Tetlow, a multifaceted maker who counts painting, pottery, knitting, and crocheting among her specialties. At the studios—named after her grandfather—she puts these crafts on proud display: browsing patrons can snag baby hats, toys, and sweaters or make plans to decorate home surfaces with prints or ceramics sculptures of Autumn’s high-school economics teacher. Not content to merely hold these talents on her own, Autumn also invites guests in for classes, teaching individual pottery classes, dipped-candle workshops, crocheting lessons, and couples art nights on the first Saturday of each month.
Aiming to "liberate the inner artist" in all of us, sisters Catherine Warden-Daniels and Victoria Bunch founded Arctic Crown Canvas, where the oft-intimidating act of painting a canvas is made wholly accessible. The formula is simple: all visitors have to bring is themselves—and snacks, if they so desire it. From there, Arctic Crown supplies everything, from the paint and brushes to the easy-to-follow instructions and inspirational impersonations of Van Gogh praising everyone's work. The result is a finished product, varying in subject matter, which each participant will be able to take home at the close of the class.
State investigator Suzan Armstrong sifts through heaps of paperwork, carefully mulling over government cases. Though her eyes focus on the documents' dense text, her thoughts momentarily drift away to daydreams about erecting a creative haven where people can funnel their imaginations into a slew of colorful crafts. In January of 2007, Suzan's reoccurring daydream materialized when she hung up her investigative briefcase, broke the glass on her emergency paintbrush holder, and opened her own franchise of Color Me Mine—named one of the top 10 places for kids' birthday parties by Parents magazine.
The 1,750-square-foot studio brims with décor and fixtures crafted by its own staff members, including custom-tile floors and a grandfather clock made from shards of shattered pottery. Patrons browse well stocked shelves of ceramic plates, vases, and—thanks to an exclusive partnership with the magic magnate—Disney characters, then garnish their chosen bisques around crafting tables in the main studio or long tables in the private party room. Experienced staff members stand closely by to help with bisque or paint selection and answer any questions about materials, design ideas, or how to emblazon Tinker Bell with a perfect Mona Lisa smile, then glaze and fire each creation to forge a bounty of long-lasting keepsakes.
Body Renew Alaska's 12 boot-camp sessions (three classes a week) help participants shed pounds and build muscle in a group fitness environment. Each one-hour session, available at four different locations, will push participants' workouts to the next level to produce intense results in one month. Augment your muscle chiseling with six months of full access to eBodyLive, where users can utilize a customized online food and workout journal and four one-on-one video chats with a nationally certified trainer who reviews and guides each fitness program. The workouts—sent as detailed instructions with video clips and images—can be sent to most phones, allowing participants to access their fitness regimen from the same device they use to arrange meetings of the Millard Fillmore Appreciation Society.
Let's Cook Alaska's talented teaching chef, Josie McKinney, fell in love with cooking at a young age. By the age of 12, she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her family. Now, as a mother of four, she shares her joy of cooking by inviting students into her “dream kitchen,” where they develop culinary confidence by working with her recipe box full of diverse meal ideas. In her cooking classes, she aims to transform cooking from chore to adventure. Josie’s fun, hands-on teaching style encourages students to get their hands messy by trying techniques for themselves and clean by stuffing them into their friends’ mouths. While students prepare entire meals, Josie circulates among them dispensing tips. Classes stay small—around 4 to 10 students—to ensure lots of individual attention and extra servings to go around when the class sits down together to enjoy their creations. Menus rotate with a monthly theme, such as comfort food and international fare, prepped with fresh, local ingredients.
Curves has established nearly 10,000 gyms for women in more than 85 countries, with 4 million members worldwide. Three Anchorage locations invite ladies of all fitness levels to the training circuit. Circuit trainees gather in a circle comprised of 13 resistance machines and 13 recovery stations. During the course of a 30-minute workout, they alternate between machines that work two opposing muscle groups with a single motion and recovery stations where they run, dance, or swagger in place to maintain heart rates. Ladies carry Curves Smart chips that feed their personal fitness info into the training machines. A green light on the chip indicates sufficient workout intensity, which rises as one's strength increases.
Curves now offers the 90-day Curves Complete program, which pairs diet and exercise with the motivation of peers and trainers.