An enormous green lizard crawls up the yellow stucco house where Tuscon Clay Co-op makes its home. The painted reptile cranes its head curiously toward the door, beyond which the co-op's volunteer members lead students of all artistic levels through children's programs and adult classes in all things pottery. Youngsters can head to summer clay camp or learn hand-building alongside older family members, while grownups spin unformed clay into a bowl, a vase, or another pottery wheel. A gallery brimming with the artwork of co-op members inspires those who belly up to the paint bar to bring bisque pieces handmade by local artists into full-color life.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
Craycroft Cycles opened in 2010 and has since assembled a team of riders that is as well versed in tricks as it is in repairs, tune-ups, and parts. From the front of the family-owned shop to the back, and from floor to ceiling, bikes and accessories bearing the names of top brands line the walls in a metallic oasis of potential adventures. Within that oasis, the team springs to action, melding their know-how to specialize in riding disciplines including BMX, mountain, road, and inner volcano. That spectrum of expertise comes in handy, especially when customers pop in with differing interests, such as freestyle riding versus recreational riding, or when a specific part is necessary and needs to be hunted down—a challenge Craycroft readily accepts.
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.
The six teachers at Cutting Edge Quilts combine their individual quilting savvy to lead students through a wide range of classes. Amid myriad fabrics and ample creative space, the studio's long-arm quilting machine lets students sew their quilt top, batting, and backing together in a more-time-efficient manner than by using traditional machines or bribing a silkworm. Various quilting groups meet regularly, focusing on different techniques such as hand-sewing and scraps as they take advantage of the studio's gargantuan collection of threads, kits, and specialty fabrics such as Batik and Moda.