Richmond magazine's pages glisten with stories and images of the River City's most intriguing dining, entertainment, shopping, and travel options. Each issue captures an exciting cover story in its glossy grip, detailing notable goings-on and spotlighting local movers and shakers. The monthly's reporters and editors highlight area restaurants in the dining section, and they fill the arts-and-entertainment section with news on upcoming concerts, gallery openings, back-alley dance offs, and theatrical performances. Meanwhile, news features keep locals abreast of politics and regional issues, a health section offers overviews of top doctors and facilities, and the life-and-style section details the ins and outs of fashion, along with articles on which travel hotspots are currently not overrun by gophers. Sister publication R Home arrives every other month with plenty of hints and tricks for home decor, gardening, and organizing.
Melanie "The Bead Empress" Bentley established her commonwealth of creativity after years teaching aspiring artists how to work with metal clays. Within her 3,000-square-foot embellishment emporium, Murano glass from Italy, hill tribe silver from Thailand, and Swarovski crystals fill shelves from floor to ceiling. Polymer clays, sterling silver, stringing materials, and Czech fancy glass that Melanie handpicked on a recent trip to the Czech Republic round out the store's stock and arm patrons with the materials necessary to line their family's treasure chest.
But Melanie goes beyond filling the supply boxes of local jewelry makers. She also aims to expand the crafting community by welcoming beading newcomers and showing those who don't believe in their creativity that there's an artisan inside everyone. Along with her fellow specialized jewelrysmiths, Melanie leads more than 45 classes per quarter, providing her customers with a means of acquiring jewelry that’s guaranteed to be free of curses.
A Guild Commended Framer, Frame Nation employs certified framers who match existing frames and create special projects from scratch. Behind the shop's brick storefront, staffers help customers to make selections from more than 2,000 frame samples, including acrylic, steel-welded, and wood options. Combined with glass, museum-quality practices, and a tiny flux capacitor, these protective casings preserve everything from diplomas to wedding photos.
To find inspiration for their own creations, visitors need only view the artwork lining the walls. Frame Nation regularly displays the handiwork of local artists; one ever-present exhibit includes a collection of frames and three-dimensional collages crafted from recycled materials.
For 50 years, the owners and staffers of Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing have encouraged the artists of their community. They visit local fairs and set up booths for kids to color and craft, and they do workshops, demos, and classes for artists of every age. As their name implies, they also outfit art makers of all skill levels with top-of-the-line materials, such as Gamblin oil paints, Prismacolor pens and markers, and custom frames perfect for saving favorite art pieces or memorializing a sibling's failure to color within the lines.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawas will follow six easy steps to craft beautifully painted ceramics, first choosing a ceramic piece (most cost between $10 and $30) from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonally changing items. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or Color Me Mine's technique sheets, painters will select an underglaze from Color Me Mine's cast of more than 60 colors, then apply paint with the focus of a peregrine falcon occupied by a Rockwellian spirit. Color Me Mine handles all kiln-firing work, allowing clients to take home their final products within a week. A studio fee of $6 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults and children over 12 covers all paints, supplies, glazing, and firing.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.