The brainchild of a painter and a photographer, Pop Revolution Gallery zeroes in on the relationship between art and modern society with exhibits that showcase work from local artists. In addition to displaying artwork, the creative minds behind the gallery also outline it: with nearly 20 years of experience, they can handle any custom framing project. Artists themselves, the experts can assist with helpful suggestions as patrons browse more than 2,000 mouldings that add flair to paintings, complement sports jerseys, or give an air of authority to fraudulent tax returns.
Keeping up with the latest technology, Pop Revolution Gallery recently extended its endeavors with PRG Fine Art Printing, which generates digital prints on high-quality papers and canvas gallery wraps. The staff also fosters creativity with art classes that teach pupils of all ages to make everything from basic sketches and watercolors to sculptures crafted with wire instead of cement and their little sister.:m]]
World of Beads' beading whizzes instruct small classes of beginner bauble makers in beading and wire technique. Assemble a group of friends, neighbors, or estranged high school counselors for an Introduction to Beaded Jewelry class, where students delve into the topics of color theory and design before selecting worthy spheres and appropriate cording to create two in-class projects. Beading pupils construct a strung bracelet and dip earlobes into the refreshing world of earring creation, then take their sparkling treasures home to stow in a favorite jewelry box or cryogenic chamber. During the Wrapped Up In Wire, instructors illuminate the art of wrapping wire and headpins to help students craft earrings and necklaces. After classes end, stick around for a free in-store jewelry demo or entertain eyes with World of Beads' colossal collection of gems and Swarovski crystals.
The name itself is a fusion of two soul-feeding concepts: "Gaia," the Greek goddess of the earth, and "I am." This fusion is represented in Gaiam's logo, the Flower of Life, symbolizing the planet's connection with the people who call it home. Founded more than a quarter-century ago, Gaiam's goal is to provide students of wellness with everything they need to achieve mental and physical fulfillment, from premium yoga mats and fitness gear to eco-friendly workout clothing and inspirational DVDs. Of course, there's also a full range of casual clothing and sustainable home goods such as organic cotton bedding and towels. Gaiam also features a selection of fair-trade jewelry and décor for everyday green living.
An online supershop of readables, BlueDolphin.com offers more than 1,000 magazine titles spanning nearly every imaginable genre. The site's mags are supplied by publishers at already discounted prices, allowing readers to get their literary fill without hocking their grandmothers' priceless porcelain flyswatters. Browse through the selection of titles available for $20 or less to find a year's worth of affordable reading, or choose your favorite category—from news and sports to computing, cooking, and gambling—to line up a suitable bedtime companion, such as Good Housekeeping, Rolling Stone, or The Beer Connoisseur. To help ensure word diets stay balanced, BlueDolphin.com also streamlines the subscription experience with MagTracker, a free online service that makes keeping tabs on your mags easier than bilking an aging schnauzer out of his 401(k).
Dubois Book Store's merchandise-packed shelves invoke college spirit, forming aisles of classic apparel and accessories. Students, parents, and brilliant 6-year-olds that have already made their university choice can cover themselves with student pride by sporting a logo-emblazoned T (adults $14.95+). Bearcat fanatics can adorn their décolletage with the good-luck charm of a C-Paw necklace ($9.95), and Miami grads can stay warm in a vintage-style hoodie ($39.95, $41.95 for XXL) while fending off taunting Bearcats in the Ohio wilds. Stuffed mascot teddy bears ($9.95+ Miami, $12.95+ Cincinnati) grant backpack owners on-the-go cuddling, and a slew of in-store knick-knacks and souvenirs such as the Miami “Heart” shot glass ($6.95) reminds forgetful alums of glory years spent building physics experiments out of glassware.
For Meredith McCord, looking at a piece of pottery brings back decades worth of memories. McCord started The Mad Potter in 1998, and since those early days, she's used her kiln to immortalize countless special moments. She traveled to hospitals to capture the footprints of newborns, helped a young man create a dessert plate with the words "Will you marry me?" emblazoned across it, and auctioned off items for charity. Yet some of her fondest memories center on the day-to-day interactions with customers, specifically when they return to pick up their fired pieces and utter three words of amazement: "I did that?"
The Mad Potter has since expanded into three Houston-area locations, where children and adults come to paint their own works of art or create replicas of their ancient ancestors' garden gnomes. More than 500 bisqueware items line the shelves of each studio, including coffee mugs, plates, and figurines. Staffers then help visitors select from more than 54 available colors of paint and supply them with everything else they might need, including brushes and stencils. The staff can even take things over and create more intricate designs—while still consulting closely with the customer. Whatever route a person chooses, there's always time for a sip of wine or beer; the River Oaks location sells wine and beer while Bellaire and Woodway maintain a BYOB policy.