Tropical Trends' sunny shopkeepers fill the shelves of their cheery environs with adornments for body and home alike. Freshen interior breezes with the fragrant tendrils of hand-dipped Wild Berry incense, which uncurls 40 aromas including vanilla, sandalwood, and root beer (30 sticks for $5.50). Scented WoodWick candles ($10–$12) mimic the crackles and pops of a roaring bonfire when burned, turning innocent anecdotes into instant ghost stories. Customers can also spruce up bodies with Tropical Trends' fashions and accessories—adorning digits with elegant sterling-silver rings in sizes 5–14 ($12–$22) and bodies with breezy exotic-print skirts and dresses ($18–$26) that flutter in colorful anticipation of spring breezes and summer tornado chasing.
What started out as a search for a fun alternative form of artistic expression led to the founding of an institution for preserving and sharing a millennia-old craft. That enthusiasm proved to be contagious, as more than 700 students from all ages and walks of life attended J & C Glass Studio's workshops in the first year alone.
Today, J & C Glass Studio continues to teach the art of glass blowing with instructional workshops that cater to beginner and advanced students. Passionate instructors share techniques performed almost the same way as artisans did thousands of years ago. During sessions, a mixture of sand, limestone, and silica is heated to 2,000 degrees until it reaches a honey-like consistency. From there, students shape it with tools, the power of suggestion, and their own breath, creating custom works of art that can decorate a mantel or desk for a lifetime.
At Neusole Glassworks, gurus of all stripes and skill levels come together to fuse, blow, and mold glass both for independent projects and classes that explore the art form. The nonprofit facility sets the stage for inspired creation with flame-working, hotshop, and fusing studios that help the crew and their pupils transform raw materials into polished paperweights, unique pendants, and colorful new windshields. Upstairs, Neusole Glassworks invites browsers to tote pieces home from the gift shop or let their eyes feast on the myriad colors and textures at Atmosphere @ Neusole—a gallery for emerging artists and the facility’s students. In addition to welcoming anyone into its facility, Neusole Glassworks dispatches a mobile glassblowing studio to enliven street fairs and churn out slippers for palace dance parties.
Ken's Flowers, a top-ranked Teleflora and FTD merchant, brims with an ambrosial array of bouquets, flanked by scented candles, fine wines, and a bevy of edible delights. A sun-drenched potted chrysanthemum beams photosynthetic love rays ($19.95), and delicate stargazer lilies nestle ethereally in a crystalline vase ($25). A dozen roses present an ideal means of identifying oneself to blind dates and showcasing powerful 12-rose-gripping jaw power ($25). The shop's blossom artists sculpt European-style, contemporary, and traditional bouquets, as well as dried and silk arrangements.
Elegant, modern home decor lines bink davies's shelves, alongside gourmet Stonewall Kitchen jams, blends from the Republic of Tea, luxurious Voluspa candles, and wallets printed with bacon. Here, customers can indulge impulses from refined to completely zany with an eclectic assortment of home goods and smile-inducing gifts. A treasure trove of one-of-a-kind items, both imported and from just down the street, bink's kitschy, hand- and machine-made gifts are all curated with a sense of style and tongue-in-cheek humor. “I mean we opened on April Fool’s Day, that should tell you something,” owner Bink Johnson confessed to Outlook: Columbus.
Art After Dark fosters creative expression in a nightlife atmosphere. Classes provide all the necessary materials to create paintings, decorate wine glasses, or carve pumpkins, and students can bring their favorite drinks to celebrate their new artistic accomplishments. Kids' sessions focus on age-appropriate pictures during small classes and birthday parties.