That Pottery Place Studio’s shelves brim with hundreds of unfinished ceramic pieces, each ready to blossom with a completely unique bouquet of colors and designs. Animal-painted plates sit propped alongside decorative birdbaths, planters, coffee mugs, and owl figurines designed to scare pigeons away from the china hutch. Guests can throw their creativity at these 3D canvases using the studio’s stencils, brushes, sponges, and dozens of glazes. Staff members make the rounds sharing tips on technique and helping sort through idea books with painters during open studio time.
Matt Janke dreamed of landing the perfect glass-blowing job. After moving to Atlanta in 1986, he realized there wasn't a single glass studio in town, granting his art a ready-made niche. After settling in, he returned to grad school, earning an MFA in glass with the intent to launch his own university program and ultimately procure his own space. By the time he graduated in 1992, Matt further honed his skills, stockpiled equipment, and, in 1996, opened his own studio and hired himself.
Beyond the perks of being his own boss, having his own studio affords Matt a great deal of creative freedom. He infuses all his handblown light fixtures, tumblers, and vases with the prismatic swirls of his signature style, in which precise lines and natural variations vie for attention across undulating surfaces. A downtown gallery space facilitates sales of these works.
But the studio has also fulfilled more than Matt's original goal of finding glass-blowing employment, going on to catalyze a glass-blowing community. From single apprentices in the early days, the studio is now a full-fledged classroom, with space for five instructors, a dozen students, and the kilns that must melt their glass until they each finish their training by capturing and taming a fire-breathing dragon.
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Since 1990, Tuxedo Frame Gallery has specialized in encasing photos, keepsakes, and other miscellaneous items in high-quality custom frames. The designers help clients choose from thousands of frame styles, hundreds of mat colors, and a dozen types of glazing. Once the specifics are laid out, designers carefully oversee the framing project from start to finish, ensuring that framers maintain the company’s award-winning level of workmanship. Tuxedo Frame Gallery also specializes in conservation framing, which preserves mementos’ long-term value with deterioration-deterring features such as acid-free mats, UV-protective glazing, and frames embroidered with mummy wraps.
FastFrame first germinated in Europe before spreading to Japan, Brazil, Australia, and the United States. A trained local helms each of the 300 locations, and guarantees every design for 30 days and the craftsmanship for a lifetime. Artisans crown original works of art and prints with ornate mouldings. They also store historical artifacts and three-dimensional memorabilia in shadow boxes. FastFrame’s team has even been known to frame sports equipment, plasma-screen televisions, and childhood homes.
WonderRoot fosters the next generation of artists in its Community Arts Center, including access to arts-education classes and all of the center's media production facilities. Young people ages 18 and under can enrich expressive skills in arts classes such as bookbinding and video editing and take advantage of resource spaces that include a darkroom, digital-media lab, and printing, recording, and ceramics studios. Professional development programs are also available to nurture budding artists. While membership to the center costs $60, WonderRoot strives to make their resources accessible to the community and has supported 88 young artists in the past year with free memberships.
The art-collecting and fabulous finds events at ZuCot Gallery are like a hands-on combination of Antiques Roadshow and Night at the Museum. You'll be treated to a vast body of knowledge from a small panel of experts as they speak and answer questions on custom framing, art collecting, art theory, and art history. Bring along up to two small collectibles or heirlooms—such as jewelry, ceramics, or a small, signed first-edition lithograph of Lolcats Playing Poker—and you'll get a five-minute appraisal of each, delivered by the knowing hands, mouth, and eyeballs of an adept antiques expert (for entertainment purposes only). The event also includes a guided tour of ZuCot's in-house art collection of paintings, photography, sculpture, and more.