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.
Paintable canvases are ripe for the picking by customers at Bare Ware Pottery Studio. After selecting the design, guests create their painting with suggested color choices, or they can pick their own. Armed with the provided aprons, paint brushes, and paint pallets, staff guide customers of all skill levels in creating a gorgeous painting that can be taken home right away.
The licensed guides at Madison Tour Company reveal the sights and stories of Savannah during scenic horse-drawn carriage rides through its city streets. As guides expound on Southern and colonial history, tour takers soak up Savannah's natural and manmade marvels, from mossy live oaks and magnolias to majestic mansions and film sites, such as the bench where Tom Hanks ate chocolates. Special carriage rides—decked out with balloons and decorations—are available for events such as weddings and birthdays.
The talented art instructors at Pints and Paints, Athens' original art bar and studio, vow that if someone can hold a paintbrush, they can create a mindless masterpiece. That’s because instructors not only furnish all the necessary art supplies, but they also provide patient, step-by-step instruction to budding Van Goghs and Picassos. To further foster confidence and experimentation, they let artists rock out to the music playing in the studio and sign their names to the walls to show that they were there; canvases are stenciled so painters of any skill level feel comfortable tapping into their creative side. Additionally, artists aged 21 and older are welcome to quaff beer and wine in between brushstrokes.
Mia Canada has an eye for style that goes way beyond tying the perfect bow. Once upon a time, Mia coordinated events and designed her own stationary. Eventually, her passion for fashion and interior design inspired her to channel her talents into an avenue for stylistic flair that had been overlooked: gift design.
As head gift wrapper at That’s a Wrap!, Mia makes sure each box’s exterior mirrors the care that went into selecting its contents. She travels to homes or workplaces, and customers trek to pop-up locations in Atlanta malls where she and her staff work their magic. From the Premier Collection’s preconceived designs with classic papers and satin ribbons to the Mia Line’s completely personalized looks—created from unique paper, velvet, organza, or even leather—each of their masterpieces tells a story.
Before he started coaching clients in perfecting their personal brand, image consultant Joshua Davis spent years sailing across the Atlantic, living on the shores of the Mediterranean, and modeling for world-renowned companies. Today, he teaches businesspeople, socialites, and everyday folks how to network with new people, and market themselves through their wardrobe and hairstyle. Armed with impeccably tailored business attire and a firm grip on social cues and etiquette, clients can nail their upcoming job interview, make new friends and connections at formal events, and stride out into the world with a newfound confidence.