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 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.
When Max Schneiderman began his family’s business, it was a grocery store first and foremost. Then Schneiderman’s began to carry a few furniture items and slowly these grew to overshadow the cans of soup and produce until the furnishings finally swallowed the foodstuffs whole.
Now, Schneiderman's Furniture has spread from the Iron Range to spots throughout the Twin Cities. The showrooms stock local and foreign furniture from more than 100 manufacturers. Many items in stock can be customized in color and texture to match a homeowner's current obsession with plastic flamingos.
For more than 80 years, three generations of the Minsberg family have overseen Creative Lighting’s bright, well-stocked showroom, where attentive consultants help illuminate dark dwellings with a selection of hundreds of ceiling lights, lamps, and other twinkling light fixtures. Deftly navigating the sea of ornate, glowing décor, they work to engineer thoughtful solutions for customers’ specific lighting needs for interiors and exteriors. A resident squadron of trained designers also helps devise custom lighting plans, and further extends their interior-design wisdom with a collection of mirrors and wall art.
Creative Lighting vows to keep its inventory affordable through a best-price guarantee, and stocks its website with helpful decorating hints and tips, such as what to do when a cluster of fireflies swarms upon a wall sconce thinking it’s their mothership.
Googly eyes. Gas masks. Mannequin arms. Blowguns. Ax-Man Surplus Stores dares crafters, DIY enthusiasts, and tinkerers of all stripes to dream bigger, better, and weirder with an enormous stock of new surplus items. Each shop's collection of oddities and odds-and-ends resides in open-air barrels and on easily browseable shelves. Bins entice shoppers to rummage through metal bits in search of the next piece to a welded sculpture, and other aisles hold several decades? worth of electronic wiring, fans, speakers, and fuses, perfect for building a robot that every generation can relate to. Frequent shoppers are rewarded with a new truckload of treasures every week, along with an ever-changing collection of signs that artistically warn of the hazards of shoplifting and suggest off-label uses for the merchandise.
Artist Mai O'Brion often greets visitors to her gallery with a mug of tea?and then immediately engages them in conversation. Over intermittent sips, she tells them that she and a few fellow artists once dreamed of a different, welcoming kind of gallery and artist collective. They soon banded together to found Chaos Art Gallery & Studio, reaffirming their commitment to showcasing accessible exhibits from local and international artists and mentoring members and students alike.
Inside the studio, Mai and other artists teach several painting classes for groups and individuals. Their most popular offerings are the two-hour BYOB Creative Painting Classes, which invite groups of students to paint one of several chosen subjects, or inspire them to create their own works. Over BYOB classes, students soak in direction as instructors share tips to the group and give one-on-one attention to individuals. Instructors also lead a five-week Art Intensive course, which starts students off with a black-and-white composition drawing and builds their technique until they can complete a painting from a live model.
Situated in the shopping district on Robert Street in West St. Paul, Twin Cities Magic & Costume stocks a collection of tricks, makeup, and costumes that have enlivened parties, magic acts, and movies for the past 27 years. Knowledgeable professionals and industry insiders guide visitors through the forest of lifelike costumes and awe-inspiring light and fire effects, helping to create eerie costumes for Halloween parties or convincing getups for period plays and films. DVDs and instructional videos teach budding illusionists how to impress crowds with linking ring and coin tricks, and fog machines and strobe lights add a touch of Vegas glamour to magicians' sets. Twin Cities Magic & Costume puts its expertise to the test as the headquarters of the Zombie Pub Crawl, a festival of gore and horror brought to life with the selection of professional-grade makeup and more than 15,000 wigs.