Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She?s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show I Hate my Kitchen, on the episode entitled Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show?s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop?s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
At Claymate Creations, Anjee Mai Emerson celebrates her two passions: art and play. Inspired by her joy in creating sculptures, she uses her colorful creation haven to share that love with students aged 8 and older. She leads them in shaping polymer clay monster sculptures, motivating them to tap into their imaginations to bring one-eyed green gremlins or self-destructive socialites to life. In each three-hour playshop class or private party, up to six guests gather in this casual learning environment. Anjee encourages them to have fun playing with clay while they flex their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
She also showcases her own work throughout the studio, and sells her handmade monsters, earrings, magnets, and stationery at a handful of local boutiques.
With an eye for bold design, the staff at FinnStyle curates clothing, home décor, and other goods from Finnish designers including Marimekko, Iittala, and Artek. The online store and brick-and-mortar building house wares that have been featured in magazines such as Lucky, Dwell, and The Nest. Among the items, colorful bolts of Marimekko fabric await future occupations as curtains, pillow covers, or dresses, and Kalevala jewelry designs, modeled after archeological finds from the Iron Age, form bold statement pieces for the neck, ears, and wrists.
Seasoned artist Malcom Potek calls upon more than two decades of glass-manipulating experience while crafting intricate, multicolored tiles and custom sconces that suit the unique architecture of their intended edifices. Within his shop and gallery, a glossy collection of already made glass portraits, beads, and tiles entices eyes to ogle one-of-a-kind designs instead of Betty Boop?shaped clouds. Visitors inspired by Potek's work can learn the tricks of the trade during a variety of glass-blowing classes that set participants on the path to glass-blowing certification.
When Layl McDill's daughters were little, she would carry small bricks of polymer clay in her purse for them to play with. Over the years, the pastime evolved into a serious profession for her. Forming ropes of the colorful, malleable material into millefiore canes, McDill honed her skills, creating patterns, pictures from the carefully sliced clay logs. With the help and support of her husband and fellow artist, Josh Blanc, Layl founded Clay Squared to Infinity in 1996, where today she not only creates and displays her own artwork, but also leads classes for clay-curious artists of all ages.
Started in 1998, Fired Up Studios has quickly evolved from a small pottery studio to an art center with classes and a gallery. Despite this growth, its mission remains the same: to raise the spirits of anyone who enters. In the 7,200-square-foot studio, experienced potters provide a judgment-free creative outlet for students and visiting artists alike, inviting them to have fun and experiment with the studio's collection of pottery wheels, kilns, and glazes. These potters also teach students how to throw clay, shape up elegant bowls and vases, and sculpt pixelization onto nude figures.