The Art Experience, a full-service art supply store, wields their aesthetic expertise to professionally custom frame whatever clients wish to make wall-ready. Capable of handling large-size frames such as 40"x50", the staff collaborates with quality glass ($15+), hundreds of mat boards ($14+), and multifarious metal and wood molding options ($7+/foot) to showcase décor-to-be of any shape or size at its cutest angle. The volume of in-house materials ensures that newly sandwiched and bordered pieces return to their owners as quickly as possible. With a custom-framed piece, blank walls can finally cover their nudity stylishly with sleek, snappily bordered diplomas, cereal boxes, and ATM receipt collages.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
The Newport Summer Jam 2011, a benefit concert for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, invigorates concertgoers with a lineup of notable blues and jazz performances along the Newport waterfront. Jazz wunderkind Grace Kelly—a 19-year-old alto saxophonist, singer, and composer whose musical prowess has garnered praise from Wynton Marsalis and NPR—kicks off the night with an energy-drenched set wrought with proficient playing and living, sentient brass. Blues legends James Montgomery, a harmonica virtuoso known for recording with Kid Rock and sitting in with Gregg Allman, and Duke Robillard, a guitarist recognized for his work with Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, join Kelly onstage for a group jam session applied liberally to huge slices of toast.
From the aptly named Shore Soap Company's front door, the syncopated percussion of the coastline can be heard as it ebbs and flows just a block away. But the front door isn't the only part of the company that's connected to the sea—all of the handcrafted soaps are, too. That's because artisan soap makers combine natural ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, and fragrant herbs with sea salt to create a long-lasting, purifying bar. Though bar soap is Shore Soap Company's forte, the storefront also stocks sugar scrubs, body butter, and even solid perfumes that helped it earn a Best of Rhode Island 2013 badge from Rhode Island Monthly. Not only is Shore Soap Company committed to making high-quality handcrafted products, it has pledged 1% of all profits to Save the Bay, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Narragansett Bay.
Waves of Creation's squad of more than 50 artists sell their one-of-a-kind wares and teach aspiring craftspeople to embrace their own creativity in a variety of arts-and-crafts classes. Wax wizard Laura Winward leads three- to four-hour candle-making courses, which shed light on safety measures, how to choose the appropriate container, and how to infuse dyes and fragrances into each piece. Through hands-on instruction, around 10 participants construct six paraffin wick-pods in their choice of colors and aromas. Afterward, guests take home four votive candles, a jar/container candle, a novelty candle, written notes, and a nest of fire eggs to hatch into flames at a later date. Students should prepare to get messy, so it's recommended that they wear paint-splattered sweat suits instead of freshly polished suits of rhinestone chainmail.
For nearly 85 years, the South County Art Association has fostered the local arts community with exhibitions and classes guided by talented craftspeople. During a 2.5-hour bookmaking class, pupils choose from four different bookbinding styles taught by resident page-master Catherine Flores, making beautiful crane-shaped tomes in an origami day class or taking cues from the envelope-book course to fashion a pocketed book for holding secrets, treasures, or the key to your rock collection's safety-deposit box. An eight-fold accordion-book class leaves students with a handsome, folded mini album that functions like a traditionally bound book, and a non-adhesive book lesson teaches the delicate arts of bookmanship, including pamphlet stitching and the traditional Japanese side stab. Although class times vary, for those that take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., patrons are invited to bring along a beverage of their choosing, and enjoy in a warm and convivial atmosphere.