Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She’s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show’s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop’s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
Nailing a job interview, taking a spiritual retreat, and heading out for a night with friends—these disparate activities all work to boost one’s Oola. Fun to say and satisfying to achieve, you attain Oola when several core factors of your life are thriving. Oola might mean that you’re feeling good about your fitness level, finances, career, faith, or relationship with your family, friends, and ant-farm residents. The folks at Oola hope to boost Oola levels nationwide by helping their clients map out their life’s goals and how they will go about achieving them. The service also boosts Oola quotients by introducing their members to cool businesses and offering discounts on services including massages, fitness, and mani-pedis.
For more than 26 years, the fitness experts at Push Pedal Pull have shared their knowledge with customers purchasing new and used muscle-pumping equipment. The staff happily equips exercisers with brawn-building devices for home, commercial, and hovercraft-based gyms, such as treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights from brands including Precor, Everlast, and Spri. Push Pedal Pull’s refurbished selection of used equipment from health clubs and commercial fitness facilities rotates regularly, stocking workout rooms for discounted prices. Manufacturer-certified equipment technicians repair malfunctioning equipment according to manufacturer standards and stock spare parts in the store to speed up repairs so customers can return to running, lifting, and astrally projecting as soon as possible.
When she’s not hosting radio shows, serving meals at local shelters, or blogging for Minneapolis St. Paul magazine's Foodie File, Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef Marianne Miller helms Saga Hill Cooking & Events. She describes her style as "audacious, yet feminine," adding, "my preparations are often bold, but with a light-handed approach that brings out the natural flavors in each dish." Alongside her staff, she leads culinary classes and parties that shy from incorporating fad kitchen gadgets or diets. Instead, their goal is to teach practical, science-based cooking techniques that can help students prepare simple meals, gourmet treats, or decadent brown-bag lunches.
Professional artist and designer Victoria Neyman may be virtuosic in her skills—in 2010, she was selected to participate in Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota's Arts & Healing and Urban Renewal Project, and 30 of her pieces now line the walls of two hospital campuses—but she firmly believes that everybody has artistic talents. At her school, she coaxes these gifts to the surface by arming her students––kids, teens, and adults––with confidence and technical skills. In small classes, students learn color theory, the properties of various mediums, and the techniques associated with perspective and form. Neyman values creativity as much as she values the technical facet of visual art, so when she teaches children, she is careful to teach methods in a way that won't stifle their spontaneous impulses.
Seasoned artist Malcom Potek calls upon more than two decades of glass-manipulating experience while crafting intricate, multicolored tiles and custom sconces that suit the unique architecture of their intended edifices. Within his shop and gallery, a glossy collection of already made glass portraits, beads, and tiles entices eyes to ogle one-of-a-kind designs instead of Betty Boop–shaped clouds. Visitors inspired by Potek's work can learn the tricks of the trade during a variety of glass-blowing classes that set participants on the path to glass-blowing certification.