Inside Children's Bookshop & Teaching Supplies, one can find literature for adolescents and infants just as easily as shelves and tables overflowing with colorful games and toys. Though the full-service bookstore's two retail locations focus on educational materials, such as school and art supplies, they also aim to give kids equipment that inspires fun. The store proffers a rainbow of glitter, crayons, and pastels; colorful picture books accompanied by CDs; and a range of modernized and classic board games such as bingo, dominoes, checkers, and mancala. To facilitate creative learning and instill children with an early understanding of zoning codes, the store carries interlocking-piece construction sets. Store staffers also arrange a wooden railway table and a Calico Critters Play Table.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal?hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry in a social setting.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.
Bathed in the intense light of its blazing furnaces, the industrial brick walls and naked concrete floors of the hot shop at Area 253 Glassblowing belie the delicacy and beauty of their creations. Experienced artisans instruct students of all skill levels, manipulating glowing gobs of molten glass on the ends of rods to produce floating balls, bowls, and decorative shards. Pointed blue-tip flame-working torches coax glass into shiny beads and borosilicate into baubles such as pendants and swizzle sticks. The shop also rents out its amenities for visiting artists, including furnaces, torches, and garage space.
Originally used by Japanese fishermen to keep their nets from sinking, glass floats would frequently escape their netting and be found by treasure seekers on the beach. Two such treasure seekers were Bellaballs' co-founders, glass artist Diane Hansen and designer Lesli Jacobs-McHugh, who quickly became fascinated by the strikingly gorgeous glass orbs and began making their own as decorative items. Today, each bellaball is a hand-blown glass orb individually made by local artisans. Available in 77 rich colors, Classic bellas ($40) all come stamped with a fig leaf gilded in sterling silver. Signature bellas ($40), meanwhile, can be customized with nine stamp designs—including a baby pram, a lucky horseshoe, and a pineapple—to commemorate occasions such as a birth, a new job, or successfully swallowing an entire pineapple.
Flung from the concert stage by the drummer of T-Rex, a single drumstick caught by eighth grader Donn Bennett began a lifelong passion for collecting rare and celebrity drum sets. He began selling and trading equipment from his home, and eventually his constantly expanding collection prompted him to open his own shop in 1977. Today, as recorded by King 5 Magazine, more than 50 signed snares hang from the store's ceiling above a show room circled by 15 sets previously used by drummers from bands such as Green Day, Aerosmith, Kansas, and Cheap Trick. Snares played by The Who's Keith Moon and Kiss' Peter Criss, a signed drumhead by The Beatles' Ringo Starr, and feline whiskers fashioned into drumsticks by Josie and the Pussycats round out Donn's extensive exhibit.
Along with the displayed celeb drums, Donn dispenses new and used drum gear to customers along with vintage snare parts and major-brand replacement parts for sets in need of repair. Stocked with two professional drum sets and a Roland electronic drum tutor, soundproof learning rooms shelter pupils and instructors during private 30- or 60-minute lessons for all skill levels. Along with annual rock camps and clinics, Donn's staff leads specialized classes in diverse drumming topics such as mastering the techniques of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and the cymbal-smacking techniques of Animal from the Muppets.