For more than three decades, the framing specialists at The Framin' Shoppe have preserved memories behind glass. They build custom frames for flat items such as diplomas or photographs and build shadow boxes to contain three-dimensional items such as quilts or football jerseys with the athletes still wearing them. The shop also purveys DIY framing materials; posters; prints commemorating Alabama, Auburn, and other SEC football teams; and a wide selection of mirrors. Conveniently, the company operates at four Birmingham locations.
The Bead Biz's bright, cheerful shop is bursting with beads and baubles of all shapes and sizes. Sparkling batches of Swarovski crystals, Japanese seed beads, and glassworked beads invite an artistic eye to adopt them and set them loose upon a string that catches the eyes of passersby and arouses the envy of dully colored mollusks. To burn love into the heart of an uninformed crush, pick up a few fire-polished strands ($3 each or $12 for six) and intertwine them with a variety of base metal chains ($1.75 and up). Or nourish natural beauty with turquoise, jaspers, and agates ($9 and up each). A wide selection of jewelry-making tools is also available. Uncertain shoppers can call upon the sharp eye of The Bead Biz's friendly cats or the friendly knowledge of the expert staff; the owner is a veteran lampworker and wire-wrapper who has a degree in fashion.
Inside their blue-walled studio, staffers at Do-It-Yourself Crafts help visitors wield glass, tie-dye, silver clay, and pottery paints to create colorful, one-of-a-kind artwork. Glass-fusion classes teach patrons the skills they need to meld glass shards into funky tiles, and parties bring friends together to bond while they work on various art projects; patrons 21 or older can tote along libations to fuel the festivities. During pottery-painting sessions, patrons select a piece of raw ceramic bisque to adorn with provided pigments, choosing from forms such as plates, mugs, and plaques.
With a stylish selection and an expert team, EyeCare Associates stocks frames by designers such as Kate Spade, Nine West, Hugo Boss, and Guess. Comprised of doctors and eyewear specialists, the team can screen for eye disease, administer eye exams, fit contact lenses, and repair old frames.
Painted By U caters to burgeoning artists and crafters of all ages in a studio that invites visitors to create fused glass works, paint ceramic bisques, or color blank canvases. After choosing their piece from a selection of more than 300 ceramic forms, walk-in artists can elect colors from a rainbow of glazes with which to paint mugs, tiles, and pieces of Atlantis. Meanwhile, a glittering array of glass pieces awaits selection as experts help artists fuse and slump their assemblages into vibrant silica masterpieces. The studio's collection of idea books, stencils, and stamps kindle artistic inspiration, while studio assistants lend tips and tricks to creators hard at work. Party-planners can rent out an activity room that accommodates up to 18 guests to forge art-filled birthdays, bridal showers, or ladies' nights.
Since 1961, Birmingham magazine has celebrated the community it’s named for with stories about local food, style, health, and arts tucked within its glossy pages. The lifestyle magazine's staff strives to fill each monthly issue with the city's important places, people, and issues, capturing local culture and offering a guidebook to Birmingham's best. As they flip through the pages of the magazine, which was redesigned in 2012, readers might find stories of local volunteers helping their communities or scoops on local breweries.