Named among the top five local craft stores by Fox 8 City Voter, the shop serves as a workshop for burgeoning crafters, as well as a gift shop and a source for inspiring seasonal project ideas. Staff artists teach workshops in three crafting genres: jewelry, housewares, and needle arts, offering a well-rounded curriculum that helps students with all-around constructive knowledge. Just as fish parents drop their babies into the water to teach them how to swim, teachers instill the fundamentals of handicraft by walking students through their first project during classes. Inside the eclectic gift shop, more than 65 local artists display handmade loot such as purses, hair accessories, pottery, and greeting cards, each unique in design. The community-minded store also encourages crafters of all skill levels to gather under its roof, whether to trade inspiration, project ideas, or swap unneeded craft supplies.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.
What started out as a search for a fun alternative form of artistic expression led to the founding of an institution for preserving and sharing a millennia-old craft. That enthusiasm proved to be contagious, as more than 700 students from all ages and walks of life attended J & C Glass Studio's workshops in the first year alone.
Today, J & C Glass Studio continues to teach the art of glass blowing with instructional workshops that cater to beginner and advanced students. Passionate instructors share techniques performed almost the same way as artisans did thousands of years ago. During sessions, a mixture of sand, limestone, and silica is heated to 2,000 degrees until it reaches a honey-like consistency. From there, students shape it with tools, the power of suggestion, and their own breath, creating custom works of art that can decorate a mantel or desk for a lifetime.
The factory-trained sleep experts at Mattress Matters strive to help customers get up on the right side of the bed with a wide range of mattress brands and types. Clients count fewer sheep than ever before on a Simmons Beautyrest queen set, whose motion-separating, pocketed coil springs and highly trained shepherds fill nights with uninterrupted REM cycles ($699+). Developed by NASA, the Tempur-Pedic bed conforms to every nook and cranny of the body, supporting perfect spinal alignment and comfort ($1,199+). Media mogul Donald Trump's line of luxury slumber vehicles boasts KoolComfort memory foam and a top-layer quilt to caress bodies and minds into dreamland ($849+), and the Sealy Posturpedic's orthopedically correct support aids in creating ache-free days and z-filled nights ($579+).
Family owned and operated for 30 years, Frame Center provides decorative and museum-quality framing services for original artwork, prints, and other memorabilia. With roughly 2,000 frames and hundreds of mats to choose from, mounted and framed pictures under glass start at $29.95 for an 11" x 14" frame, $45.95 for 16" x 20", $69.95 for 24" x 36", and $74.95 for 32" x 40". Prices can increase if you opt for higher-quality wood frames, which many customers choose to enhance velvet portraits of Courtney Love unearthed from the basement of the Louvre. Available mats range from paper and museum-grade conservation material to hand-wrapped fabrics. Frame Center's experienced staff also frames shadowboxed objects, photo portraits, and diplomas ($100+), as well as needlepoint or cross-stitch pieces ($70+). Although you can always nail art projects onto a refrigerator door, a wall display offers a longer-lasting opportunity to display your children's illustrations ($24.95+) of Hannah Montana clones playing poker.
Banyan Tree favors browsers with a bouquet of creative items to wear and admire from peasant tops and beaded bracelets to mosaic platters and curvy candlesticks. Selective shoppers strolling through the airy shop can also explore pockets of shelved knickknacks and contemporary attire. Help extremities escape the wintry weather by burrowing them into fuzzy fingerless gloves ($24) in maroon, cream, and teal, or dig through the tower of leather rings ($12) to deck digits with chromatic petals. Guests will oh and ah when quarters are slipped into an owl money bank ($20) staring down from the mantle and when a cell phone is lifted from a charging station ($30) disguised as a patch of grass. Like the prolific Twinkie bush, Banyan Tree offers up its eclectic bounty seven days a week.