Ruby's Gift peddle a plethora of paintings, jewelry, and more, all handcrafted by local artists. Guests can adorn free cartilage with a pair of earrings ($30+) and necklaces ($60+), or nourish neighboring pores with lip balms ($3), soaps ($6), and lotions ($9). Speed up housewarming without rubbing wooden chairs together by acquiring one of the many colorful paintings, which vary in price but tend to cost upward of $100. Parents are free to dock young ones at convenient kids' play areas located within both Ruby’s Gift locations.
An acronym for Fabulous Art Buying Opportunity, FABO began as just that: an art store. It still is today, only along with art, the Park Road shop quenches thirst and quiets hunger, too. Inside, artwork from nearly 60 local artists?including paintings, photographs, jewelery, and pottery?sprawls across blue-gray and wine-colored walls. Visitors kick back in this funky atmosphere to sip on coffee, espresso, and even a carefully selected roster of wines and beers, some from local breweries. When stomachs begin to rumble, guests can also munch on muffins, bagels, and other bakery treats made to eat while on the move or during a secret detour from a nearby marathon.
Frame Warehouse creates professional, custom picture frames that are designed to protect all kinds of artistic creations and memorabilia while complementing their natural charms. Customers can choose from hundreds of ready-made mats and frames that translate into thousands of frame permutations, or they can opt for a custom design clipped from the crafty corners of their own minds. All framing products are of the highest quality—barrier papers, dust covers, acid-free products, and five kinds of UV-resistant glasses combine to permanently preserve your masterful fingerpainting from fifth grade or your collection of two-dimensional cross-sections sliced out of the world’s skyscrapers. Prices vary widely depending on how the customer navigates the flowchart from frame size to final product, but most jerseys can be framed for less than $200, diplomas can be framed for as low as $75, and posters can be framed for under $100.
Linda Minor, a member of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths and a former fashion buyer for J.C. Penney and Belk department stores, sells handmade creations within Bead Me’s spacious shop. Her first designed jewelry, which has been recognized as American-made by Martha Stewart, was chosen to be given to First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the city of Charlotte, NC. She draws from her style expertise to create necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with pearls, coral, turquoise, Swarovski crystals, and semiprecious gemstones. Many of her pieces incorporate copper, an antimicrobial metal that resists fading. During fun, BYOB jewelry-making classes, Linda imparts her beading know-how to students of all skill levels, giving them hands-on practice with metal-manipulation techniques such as fold forming and reverse psychology.
Professional framer Vince Saccardi, who is also a musician and author, pooled his creative energies in 1998 to open Frame Gallery at Stonecrest—a boutique shop serving individuals, retailers, and corporate customers. Inside his Stonecrest shop, multicolored works of art grasped by gilded-, metal-, and wooden-frame samples adorn the gray walls. Displays of frame edges showcase borders and patterns available for custom projects ($5.50–$65/ft. on average), which strive to encapsulate paintings, photos, and xerox copies of birth certificates. Vince also cares for curios with shadow boxes and glass replacement and even facilitates feng shui with interior-design services.
Stoneware expert Andrew Linton schedules sessions in his spacious studio for couples of all potted persuasions to hone their creative skills. Having taught workshops at Midlands Clay Arts Society and the Mint Museum of Charlotte, Andrew encourages a hands-on approach to the ceramic arts in the studio he owns and operates himself. Customers with little or no experience in shot put can learn the fundamentals of wheel throwing in a beginners' class, which also covers trimming techniques designed to give your flower vase or cauldron a refined design. Forthcoming masterworks are then hardened in the bisque firing process, after which customers have the option of taking their freshly fired pots to be glazed (additional fee applies) at the in-store donut shop.