By Shayna Mace
As someone who appreciates the craft and skill that’s behind putting together a perfect floral arrangement or weaving a killer tapestry, DIY classes have always appealed to me. But it can be overwhelming to know where to start to learn said skill or what to buy to pull it all together. Enter these amazing ways to enrich your knowledge and come out with a cool new décor piece for yourself or your home.
Angelus (Latin for “angel”) is a beautiful retail space where shoppers can find new, vintage and repurposed home décor pieces that were hand-picked by owners and sisters Jeannene Clark and Therese Lalonde. Some of the pieces they sell are refurbished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for beautiful results. They also pass on their refinishing knowledge via their Chalk Paint workshops. Or, take a craft class and make a journal, faux flowers or a painted sign.
Budding artists will enjoy GLAFA’s classes including oil and acrylic painting, collage-making, watercolor and more. Classes are taught by seasoned instructors, and session lengths range from single classes to an eight-week series on a topic. And stop by GLAFA’s Gallery 223, open Wednesday through Sunday, to view their eight-week rotating exhibitions of regional artists’ work. (If you’re interested in a class, stop by Gallery 223 for more up-to-date information than their website).
The name of this painting workshop/studio is appropriate for the variety of crafts and display pieces you can make—some using reclaimed pieces (like old windows and wine bottles) or new (canvases and wood). The classes are guided and two to three hours long for a fun escape from winter weather. And, workshops are appropriate for the time of year—so January for example features snow-themed art pieces.
This glass retail shop and studio is a great stop for those who appreciate the craft of stained glass and glass art. They specialize in stained glass windows for private residences, but also offer a wide array of glass art classes to make pieces like ornaments, beads and decorative pieces. The studio boasts over 800 different kinds of stained glass to work with, so you’ll have no shortage of inspiration.
If you love furniture with a story, head here for pieces that have been lovingly restored with paint and personality. A trio of sisters own the shop that also sells home décor and unique gift items. If you want to make over your own piece of furniture, bring in a small solid wood piece for one of their furniture paint classes (check website for dates and times). You’ll learn how to prep, paint and distress the piece, plus other handy tips for future projects.
With rustic elements firmly entrenched in home décor now, a trip to Board & Brush will yield you an on-trend yet timeless wood sign to take home. This Wisconsin-born franchise (the Hartland, Wisconsin, location was the first one!) now has over 90 locations across the U.S. Gina Gaspardo, owner of studios in Sun Prairie and Wisconsin Dells, loves the concept. “Not only do you have a fantastic experience to be able to create something from scratch and have that sense of accomplishment, it’s beautiful and people are so enamored with it and think it’s a gorgeous piece. We call it, ‘DIY worthy of your walls,’” she says. Tailor your sign with a family name or for a special room in your house—like a bar or living room. The options, and the looks, are endless. Find the Lake Geneva studio on Center Street.
This artisanal winery’s Corks & Canvas series will let loose your creativity when you sip while you paint. Held on selected Fridays and Sundays (check their website for details), the three-hour guided sessions are taught by award-winning artist and owner Kathy Jackson to create your 16 x 20 canvas. Or, stop by on any weekday or weekend to do an open paint session and buy a glass or bottle of wine to share with friends while you create.
A combo drop-in craft studio and guided class workshop place, Firefly teaches fused and stained glass technique classes (ages 10 and up) for those looking to expand their artistic repertoire. Or, take an afternoon or weeknight workshop and make a platter, pendant, decorative bowl or, during the holidays, glass ornaments. Their DIY projects range from wood signs to cute air plant terrariums for easy, no-fuss craft projects.
Hone your floral arrangement skills in Lilypots’ workshops for small groups of four to eight people. Owner Laura Gerard will work with your group on the look you want for your floral piece and each person will make the same arrangement in the hour- to hour-and-a-half-long session. Her husband Steve teaches succulent arrangement classes, too. Bonus: there’s a wine shop nearby and Gerard allows carry-ins to sip during the class. Sessions are by request only, so call to set one up.
RAM’s wide array of classes is one of the largest museum-based studio art programs in Wisconsin. Many are offered in a series, like courses in art metals and jewelry, ceramics, painting and more. Classes are taught by working artists and kids can even get on the fun with weekend classes, too. Who knows—your next art piece to go on display in your home may be one you dreamed up yourself!
Want to learn quilting or hand embroidery? Owner Sharon Lauderdale can make that happen in the classes and demonstrations she teaches on how to use certain quilting tools, different quilting techniques (like appliqués by hand or machine) and hand embroidery. Lauderdale says hand embroidery is having a comeback (if you don’t believe it, check out Etsy or popular home décor websites). “It has a lot to do with all of the cool hand-dyed flosses out there to work with,” she explains. Lauderdale also likes her Bucket List monthly class that’s made up of folks who have unfinished projects that come in to work side-by-side to finish them up—or partake in her What To Do With Scraps class where she helps guests turn nothing into something. The retail portion of her store sells fabric, tools, patterns, books and yarn.
NEI-TURNER MEDIA GROUP
400 Broad Street, Unit D
Lake Geneva, WI 53147