George Moore is the third-generation owner of a family business that opened more than 60 years ago. True to its original purpose, the shop still sells sewing machines, cabinets, vacuum cleaners, and ceiling fans, but now aims to acquire equipment that is eco-friendly and ultra-efficient.
Alongside its retail branch, Moore’s nurses the machines it sells back to health and leads crafting classes. Expert stitchers lead hands-on sessions in everything from quilting to correctly taking the measurements of a restless scarecrow.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawa will follow six easy steps to craft eye-pleasing objects, first choosing a ceramic piece ($10–$75) from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonal options, such as plates, mugs, molded animals, and mystically materialized emotions. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or one of the design center's more than 22,000 images, painters will select an underglaze from dozens of colors, then gently beautify their objets d'art with the focus and ingenuity of a peregrine falcon possessed by Norman Rockwell. Color Me Mine handles all firing work in the kiln, allowing clients to pick up their final products four to seven days after painting. The studio fee of $10 for adults and $6 for children covers all paints, supplies, glazing, and firing. Regardless of age or ability, customers will find Color Me Mine's ceramic painting experience a rewarding dive into the creative process of an art form that dates back to the ziggurat-dwelling days of Mesopotamia.
At The Frame House, design professionals tailor custom frames and shadowboxes to suit the tastes and surroundings of discriminating decorators. Painting possessors and particularly judgmental walls will enjoy the efforts of the store's skilled team of frame facilitators, who listen closely to customer requests before launching each project, such as fitting 10"x12" custom blackwood frames, mat, and glass ($77) around oils on canvas or chalk scrawls excavated from the sidewalk.
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.
FrameStore's craftsmen have created more than 250,000 custom frames in the store’s 35-year tenure, designing pieces that now adorn the walls of prestigious institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Walt Disney Company. Professional designers guide FrameStore’s clients through the 2,200 moulding options that can accent paintings and treasured items while adding style and elegance to rooms. The store’s craftsmen then fashion pieces to patron specifications, outfitting frames with classic or museum-quality glass that blocks UV rays from bleaching out images or censoring pictures of the moon. Every piece goes through a 16-point inspection before it is given to patrons, and the team averages a seven-day turnaround on all of its projects.