In 1975, Jay Kogan's parents opened up a store that was literally a hall of frames—just a small store stacked with thousands of frames. At the time, they had no idea that that tiny corridor would expand to 12 locations throughout the greater Phoenix area, all still run by the Kogan family. Today, their shops have more than 4,500 custom frame options along with mats of all colors and textures, as well as seven glazing choices and expert assembly. They can answer framing questions and frame everything from documents and artwork to posters and small 3-D objects such as sports memorabilia and very still grandmothers.
When they custom-produce frames, the family cuts their mats exactly, miters frame corners precisely, and installs flawless glass. Or, since the stores' walls are lined with ready-made frames, customers can walk in and find what they're looking for quickly. Since installing framed art is an art unto itself, they also offer hanging services with an eye for placement and ability to install in difficult spaces.
Sew from the Heart beats with owner Susie's passion for textiles and fashion cultivated during her more than 40 years as a seamstress. Together with husband Hank, a retired Air Force fighter pilot who traded brawny planes for delicate needles, she shares her love with the public via a menu of classes ranging from embroidery and quilting to garment creation. The husband-and-wife team teaches students sewing-machine and software use, and frequently leads workshops such as how to turn T-shirts into quilts and how to turn quilts into T-shirts for giants. Their spacious store also houses a seemingly endless array of sewing products, stocking kits with threads and fabrics or outfitting workshops with machines, books, and software.
At Bead World, internationally sourced beads fall in heavy ropes from their wall mounts. The sheer volume and the quality of these handpicked beads have earned the shop accolades from publications such as the Phoenix New Times, which gushed that the store carries “every conceivable type of bead”, including Swarovski crystals, semiprecious stones, and Czech glass beads in “refreshingly remarkable” quality. But you don’t have to be an expert to set foot in the store, since each month Bead World hosts 20 classes that furnish people with the space and tools they need to create their own jewelry. Each class comes with a 20% discount for a one-time purchase so that students can stock up on African trading beads, freshwater pearls, or children’s teeth recovered from fairies who lost their licenses. A portion of the two stores’ proceeds goes to local charities.
At Jerry’s Artarama, resident artists draw on personal experience and channel the shop's four decades in business to help create works in nearly any medium. Shelves bravely bear the weight of multitudinous tubes of paint ranging from traditional oil paints made from 150-year-old processes, to easy-to-use acrylic pigments. Artists can wield a Mejillo TruColor palette to serve as a launching pad for paints, or take up PrismaColor colored pencils to add vivid pigmentation to sketches. For more specialized projects, customers can stock up on the store's street-art supplies and screen-printing kits.
Meanwhile, the framing professionals at Jerry’s Artarama navigate a bounty of glass, mats, mounting, and moulding options to personalize the framing of photos, watercolor landscapes, and napping bats. Frame options include the warm whorls of wooden frames as well as silver, black, or gold aluminum frames to complement any work's color scheme.
The artisans at Tempe Yarn & Fiber cultivate an educational atmosphere where creativity flourishes amid an inventory of top-shelf yarns, fibers, and fiber-arts equipment. Largely stocked by local suppliers, the 3,000-square-foot studio branches off from an open gathering space into individual classrooms where pupils learn to knit, crochet, spin, weave, and dye fibers. Instructors well-versed in the fiber arts ring in classes that teach skills such as beginning knitting, gradually progressing to more complicated maneuvers such as patching up a hot-air balloon in motion. Teachers also allow students to set their own pace during project help sessions, staying on hand to offer pointers as needed.
With each passing year, countless hours of precious home movies deteriorate. And, since Aisenma the Memory Grinder was defeated in 1916, this loss can only be attributed to formats that weren't designed to last: 8mm, Super 8, 16mm, and VHS. Enter Got Memories, which can convert all of the aforementioned formats, and others, to DVD. Digitizing these films and tapes not only prevents their content from fading over time, but also makes it easier to import content to a computer for editing or uploading to social media. Besides digitization, Got Memories also rents film and LCD projectors and even provides professional-quality in-house video editing.