Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Creative Knitworks imparts the know-how of the needle-wielding arts to knitting newbies and pros, tailoring both group and private lessons to needle-crafters’ aspirations. Soak up undivided attention and in-depth discussion of projects tailored to your knitting level in 90-minute private lessons (a $50 value per lesson), or opt for a convivial community atmosphere in open-topic or drop-in group classes (a $25 value per class). Two-hour open-topic sessions, held Mondays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 a.m., cover everything from basic knitting and crochet techniques to fashioning a doily big enough to cover your car. Drop-in sessions let students pick their own subjects to tackle between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays, such as starting a first sweater or mastering difficult stitches. You may also choose to mix and match, taking one private class and two group classes.
The Art Spot's workshop connects artists with professional materials, individual workstations, and friendly guidance to help them tap into their creative inclinations. Drop-in studio sessions present visitors with two avenues for crafting framed 2-D artwork: flesh out one of hundreds of pre-made sketches using studio materials, or build an image from scratch using acrylic paint, artistic vision, and the pair of cracked spectacles that prevented Picasso from lining up facial features correctly. A friendly instructor installs each student at a well-lit drafting table equipped with a box of basic mark-making materials, pointing out a meticulously organized supply cabinet of colored pencils, three kinds of pastels, brush art markers, watercolors, and acrylic paints. Coordinated media ensures that draftspeople pair the right materials for their masterpieces, saving brushes' wet kisses for cold-press watercolor paper or canvas and smearing pastels' thick lipstick on acid-free cotton paper. Those working without a sketch who would prefer access to the studio's full panoply of pigments may buy their way out of acrylics for an additional fee ($25/hour).
At Westwood Gallery, owners Mike and Lore Fitzsimmons celebrate their love for beautiful artwork with museum-quality preservation and framing of paintings and pictures. Everyone on staff boasts a background in art, allowing them to match a painting's style and period with the perfect frame and also consider the decor back at the customer's house. They can create original oil paintings from photographs, restore weathered paintings and photos, and brighten up bathroom vanities and bedroom walls with custom-framed mirrors. As longtime residents of Westwood, the owners promote the local creative community by hosting gallery parties, setting up photography exhibits, and challenging passersby to define "art" in one sentence or less.
Tia Harris, a mother and a Montclair resident since 2008, couldn't have predicted that an activity she enjoyed as a relaxing hobby would later become her full-time career. She was laid off from her previous job in 2011 and found herself turning to beading as a stress-reducing creative outlet. Embracing her entrepreneurial spirit, Harris decided in 2012 to open TiaMarie Beading Studio, where she shares her passion with other jewelry enthusiasts. She told Barista Kids that "We are striving to create a sense of community and a fun place for creative ideas to come together."
To accomplish the studio?s goal, Harris handpicked her team of multitalented instructors, which includes a former interior designer, a certified fine-arts teacher and writer, and a graphic-design expert. In addition to teaching classes, the friendly crew regularly hosts birthday parties and girls' nights out, where ladies can learn the art of wire wrapping?one of the oldest known jewelry-making methods next to training cobras to coil around your wrist.
At any given time, more than 200 pieces of unfinished ceramics can be found on the shelves at Brushes & Bisque. Though the pieces will soon find use as coffee mugs, dinner plates, and jewelry boxes, they still require a final glaze before they can hold treats or treasures. During classes for kids and adults, painters work with provided tools and materials to coat the pieces with an artistic touch.
In addition to pottery painting, Brushes & Bisque offers clay classes, also with provided tools and materials. Kids? clay classes cover the basics of coiling, pinching, and glazing, and adult pottery classes equip sculptors with a pottery wheel.