Barely an inch of wall space at Stars Beads remains visible. The rest hides beneath a rainbow of bracelets and necklaces, as well as dangling baggies of shiny beads, semiprecious stones, and the materials to turn them all into expressive accessories. Drawing from this stock, jewelry-weavers of all skill levels can plump up home arsenals or gather together in the shop to bolster the beading community. Classes led by experienced crafters guide groups through projects such as creating beaded clasps, learning the arts of metalsmithing, or using pearls to create bracelets and necklaces instead of decoy-gumball collections.
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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.
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.
The concept is simple?at Paint Your Own Pottery, you paint your own pottery. Artists of all levels get to choose from more than 600 objects. The friendly staff then glazes and fires each piece, and original works of art are ready to take home in a week. Open studio time gives toddlers, seniors, and every artist in between a chance to personalize their own dishes or figurines. Group services range from creating pottery for fundraisers to gathering coworkers for corporate retreats. Kids can enroll in summer camp or celebrate with birthday packages. The mobile Party on Wheels service lets guests paint outside the studio.