World of Beads' beading whizzes instruct small classes of beginner bauble makers in beading and wire technique. Assemble a group of friends, neighbors, or estranged high school counselors for an Introduction to Beaded Jewelry class, where students delve into the topics of color theory and design before selecting worthy spheres and appropriate cording to create two in-class projects. Beading pupils construct a strung bracelet and dip earlobes into the refreshing world of earring creation, then take their sparkling treasures home to stow in a favorite jewelry box or cryogenic chamber. During the Wrapped Up In Wire, instructors illuminate the art of wrapping wire and headpins to help students craft earrings and necklaces. After classes end, stick around for a free in-store jewelry demo or entertain eyes with World of Beads' colossal collection of gems and Swarovski crystals.
The name itself is a fusion of two soul-feeding concepts: "Gaia," the Greek goddess of the earth, and "I am." This fusion is represented in Gaiam's logo, the Flower of Life, symbolizing the planet's connection with the people who call it home. Founded more than a quarter-century ago, Gaiam's goal is to provide students of wellness with everything they need to achieve mental and physical fulfillment, from premium yoga mats and fitness gear to eco-friendly workout clothing and inspirational DVDs. Of course, there's also a full range of casual clothing and sustainable home goods such as organic cotton bedding and towels. Gaiam also features a selection of fair-trade jewelry and décor for everyday green living.
For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs?while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.
For nearly a decade, Camargo Trading Company owner Meggan Sulfsted has sought out designer jewelry, hand-poured candles, and other little luxuries that infuse a home or an outfit with personal style. But she isn’t only shopping for herself—she stocks these items in her boutique, which she operates out of a charming, multi-storied structure in Madeira. There, shoppers can take a look at the store’s aromatic bath products and its Longchamp and Botkier handbags, then decide whether they should buy something for themselves or get a gift for their future alter-egos. They can also find plush toys, chenille blankets, and children’s clothing.
As a British expat, tea is something Kathleen Kern takes very seriously. She's traveled the world in search of the finest tisanes and blends, bringing back from her journeys the knowledge?and products?that make Churchill's Fine Teas distinctive. It's Churchill's eclectic stock that led to it being honored for the Best Tea Selection by CityBeat's Best of Cincinnati's voters in 2014.
With more than 250 teas to choose from, the possibilities are seemingly endless, and tea aficionados and newbies alike can both explore, learn, and, of course, drink tea. For those interested in learning more about the many nuances of brews, classes and tastings illuminate subjects ranging from creating custom tea blends to pairing tea with chocolate.
A kaleidoscope of designer fabrics in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures exists just behind Swatches' unassuming brick storefront. For more than 35 years, this locally owned and operated business has assembled a massive collection of fabrics and accessories from workrooms based in Cincinnati and around the United States. Within the showroom’s expansive interior, trims and tassels sway alongside more than 1,000 bolts of fabric from designers such as Duralee, Kravet, and Fabricut. Meanwhile, the staff of seasoned home decorators stands by to assist customers, offering them counsel on appropriate design schemes or directing them toward textiles that can withstand messes made by kids, pets, and roommates who work as part-time finger-painters.