Bead & Pearl's myriad jewelry-crafting classes illuminate the art of creating your own adornments as students learn a range of skills from basic stringing techniques to crocheting and wire stamping. The classes welcome even stone-cold beginners, and since classes are project based, instructors narrate every necessary step of the process as students create their pieces. This practice ensures that students don't have to come to class with prior knowledge from art camp or a past life as a ball of yarn that rejected a family career in kitten baiting to pursue its crafting dreams. Using the store's colorful inventory of beads, crystals, and gold and silver findings, classes give students the opportunity to create traditional bead jewelry as well as opulent rings and jewelry knitted from silk and leather. Customers can also purchase individual materials for at-home crafting or enlist the expertise of the staff to design jewelry or repair damaged pieces by heavyweights such as Chanel and Ralph Lauren.
Odessa Shoe Repair's skilled cobblers restore broken heels, worn-away soles, and other footwear maladies with quick turnaround times. Although shoe repair is their specialty, the jacks-of-all-trades don’t stop there. If a handbag is broken, they'll fix it. If a zipper needs replacing, they'll swap it out. If shoes need color, they'll dye them. If a key needs to be duplicated, they'll hop in a time machine and convince a scientist to clone it.
If nothing needs to be fixed or altered, customers can peruse Odessa’s shelves for name-brand shoes from high-quality brands such as Nine West, Birkenstock, and Clarks, as well as accessories such as shoetrees, shoe polishes, and laces. Customers can drop their pumps off at the store’s three locations, and Odessa also offers free pickup and delivery services.
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.
It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Native Bostonians and Mass Art graduates Caterina Urrata and David Weintraub share a passion for the sinuous geometries of glass. They've shaped that passion under some of the top blowers and lampworkers in the field. Their preferred aesthetic emphasizes intricate form, in stemware and vessels that incorporate the delicate curve of a seahorse's back or mischievously twisting horns over a devilish visage. Sculptures range from eerily suspended bowls held up by their frozen contents to monolithic forms bearing tribalesque patterns. And Weintraub's vetrographs are, if possible, even more inimitable: he devised the process himself, flashing light through carefully constructed glass forms onto photo paper to create images that evoke primitive life forms growing in caves or under subway seats.
The couple practice their delicate craft in a studio-cum-gallery in Newton Upper Falls. Besides providing an eyeful for any glass-loving gawker, they occasionally also offer introductory classes to the multifaceted art.
Nonantum Boxing Club's seven instructors have countless riveting stories from the ring. Nico Gargaro can detail a blow by blow of his 2009 Rocky Marciano Tournament victory, and Nathan Busa can tell of duking it out in the All-Marine Tournament at Camp LeJeune during his four-year stint as a sergeant. It's these experiences the team draws on during the center's daily one-hour boxing conditioning classes, which not only train students of all experience levels in boxing fundamentals, but also incorporate cardio and strength training. At private and semi-private lessons, trainers refine each student's technique, giving the student skills they can hone during the open gym hours the club holds six days a week. Kids can participate in youth classes every Saturday morning, and early risers can stop by at 5:30 a.m. three days a week for heavy bag conditioning, which is more effective than waking up early to punch out the paperboy.