When writer Richard Faulk set out to catalog the nation's oddest corners for his book Gross America, Leila's Hair Museum was an obvious choice. There, Leila Cohoon preserves and furthers the off-kilter artform of hair-based crafts, which stretches back to the 1700s and beyond. In a piece for CNN.com, Faulk notes that, in pre-photography days, Victorian artisans would "[weave] jewelry and decorative lace out of human hair" as a means of remembering departed loved ones, with "successive generations [sometimes adding] to the lacework to create a genealogical record, much like a family bible". In addition to these personal mementoes, Leila's collection includes 400 hair-based wreaths dating before 1900, and numerous reliquaries said to contain the hair of Mary, mother of Jesus, St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, and pieces of the cross. Hair pieces belonging to Michael Jackson, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Lincoln, and other presidents also reside here. Although not hair-related, the museum also features a brooch that is said to contain threads from the coat of Joseph, father of Jesus. The quirky outpost has attracted the attention of racontours other than Faulk, too--noted gadabout Anthony Bourdain also paid a visit during an episode of his show No Reservations.
Before looking through the camera lens, the expert photographers at Picture People spend time getting to know their subjects and establishing a strategy for conveying their personalities in print. Then, film-ready clients pose in the bright camera room, airing teeth amid colorful backdrops and creative props. Following snapshots, subjects make their way to the selection station to choose their favorite poses from their session, which may be treated with sepia tones, color accents, and decorative borders to suit any wall, wallet, wallpaper pattern, or trophy walleye.
Picture People encourages subjects to arrive 15 minutes early to the shoot and offers a variety of creative tips to help enhance mantel-dominating final results. The studio ensures satisfaction with a 100% guarantee on finished products.
Helmed by artist, illustrator, and executive administrator Rebecca B. Hite, Stained Glass Station offers a variety of classes and workshops to help students hone their craft-making abilities. A staff of practiced instructors, including a stained-glass restorer and a sandblasting artist, arms students with supplies and guides them through the nuances of working with glass media. In beginner through advanced sessions, nimble fingers create stained glass, assemble mosaics, crochet jewelry, and fuse glass into light-catching shapes. The talented staff also performs specialty services, helping to repair pieces or design custom stained glass to jazz up a dull window or computer screen.
Fueled by a belief that anybody can paint, co-owners Jenny and John Ball opened Thirsty Palette painting studio to prove that experience level doesn’t matter when it comes to tapping into your inner artist. During sip and paint classes, guest artists guide students of all backgrounds through easy step-by-step instructions, teaching them how to use all the provided art supplies to easily recreate that session’s chosen image. Past paintings have included cherry blossom trees, team mascots, and peacock feathers. Throughout the class, Jenny and John encourage students to loosen up with a cocktail, wine, beer, or non-alcoholic beverage from the studio’s fully stocked bar.
For private parties, the Bells tailor their painting session to the event or the host’s likes. For example, they may lead kids through a Scooby Do painting at a child’s birthday party. For an extra fee, Thirsty Palate staffers can also bring all the essentials for a memorable party, including food, decorations, and high-powered jet packs.
Media-mixing artist Julia Shapiro creatively combines photography and painted portraiture to capture family countenances on black-and-white film enhanced by hand-painted, vintage-style color. Julia invests time in getting to know individuals and families before guiding them through casual sittings in her loft-like studio. Candid shots can include clothing changes and sentimental props such as a beloved teddy bear or a favorite vacuum robot. About a week after the shoot, patrons return to pick up the completed set of proofs and select an image for the final portrait. Julia develops the chosen image in black and white as an 11"x14" print, then transforms its surface with oil paints according to client taste. The result, much like wedding dresses and the ability to verbally hypnotize squirrels, can be handed down to future generations.