Dirk Dahl discovered the joy of ceramics in high school when his artistic nature immediately took to the elegant accidents and random, dramatic shapes even a beginner could coax from clay. Ceramics became the bread and butter of his long artistic career, but—like many artists—he found his studio confining, and sought a way to interact with more people. That's when he decided to start teaching, an exercise that compelled him to create Dahl Arts Ceramic Studio as a way to introduce people to his beloved ceramic arts.
"Every time I teach a class or workshop, I learn something," remarks Dirk. Watching his students experiment for the first time or hundredth time in one of his many classes or workshops inspires the sculptor to experiment in his own work, from sculpting faces into pottery to reassembling the broken shards of old pieces into Frankenstein's flatware. The results have landed his work in international juried and invitation exhibitions and even allowed him to open his own personal gallery in Santa Monica, California.
With a total of 14 locations, sewing and quilting classes, and a cornucopia of handpicked sewing products, Quality Sewing & Vacuum offers needle wielders all the necessities for their projects. Experts helm free sessions that teach participants how to use their sewing machines to work toward reinventing an old skirt or craft an elegant canine wedding gown, while special events feature guest speakers who impart home decor, garment construction, quilting, and embroidery tips to audience members. Shoppers can peruse the cache of sewing machines from brands such as Singer, Pfaff, and Brother alongside accessories, embroidery designs, and vacuums that clean up rooms after testing out how easy it is to find a needle in a haystack.
Joe Lavin, a licensed massage therapist, and Wendy Lavin, a licensed physical therapist, combined their anatomical knowledge to develop the Power of Touch Workshop. The aim of the couples-focused workshop is to foster a lifelong affinity for massage, letting participants both practice massage techniques and experience massage benefits at the hands of their partner. With a low student-to-teacher ratio, sessions promise adequate individual attention and an intimate environment in which to knead away knots and loosen spines. After the workshop, students not only come away with a deeper appreciation for massage and joints looser than a broken door handle, but they also receive lifetime access to Power of Touch’s alumni area, a network of massage resources that includes videos, articles, and additional workshops.
Opened in Kirkland on Valentine's Day 2011, Palettes and Pairings celebrates the romantic interplay between art and wine. At each evening class, instructors offer tips on brushing life into a 15”x20” canvas while painters nibble appetizers and sip wine, beer, or nonalcoholic beverages. The studio also offers private parties for up to 75 guests, which can be completely customized from painting subject to dietary needs, and include smocks as well as plentiful opportunities to use the word smock.
Serving as a pensive counterpoint to the Kirkland location’s parties, the newer Issaquah studio holds open-house time for all ages four times a week.
When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.
At North Creek Medicine, Dr. Mark Swyer and his trained staff treat the body both inside and out with their range of health and beauty services. Laser technicians harness the dual power of the elôs system, which uses radio and light frequencies to gently, yet effectively, eliminate unwanted hair and diminish rosacea, spider veins, and other epidermal flaws. The team also welcomes the entire family into their care for gunnysack races and preventative medical screenings. Aside from physical wellbeing, the center cares for mental health with psychiatric counseling for adults and teens.