Published on June 27th, 2009 | by Julie Finn5
Crafty Travel Destination: Hands On Art Studio
This place is not your grandma’s pottery painting studio, I’ll tell you that much.
In Wisconsin for Matt’s grandma’s garage sale, the family and I took a couple of days to recover up in Door County. Along with cheese curds, beaches, and dairy farms, we spent half a day at the Hands on Art Studio in Fish Creek.
For a lady who loves to dabble in anything DIY, who hates cookie cutter crafting, and who plans to move everyone out to a farm before the eldest baby is more than a decade old (I’m speaking of myself, here), the Hands On Art Studio? Was awesome.
Imagine any random, crazy craft you’ve ever wanted to try but didn’t have the knowledge or the materials to do–pot throwing, mosaics, tie-dying, fused glass, lampwork, precious metal clay, WELDING for Pete’s sake–this is all stuff you can do at Hands On.
I wanted my partner, Matt, to make me a piece of lampwork jewelry. Nevermind that Matt has never made a piece of lampwork jewelry before, or, you know, worked with an open flame or anything. All we did was grab the first burn-out we saw with STAFF hand-painted across his shirt (Austin? Eric, perhaps?), and he sat down immediately to first give us a demo, then help me pick out the color of glass rod and glass frit that I wanted, then talk Matt through the making of my pendant.
Lampwork is pretty complicated, but what with the demo and the one-on-one attention throughout the whole thing, Matt was able to make me a free-formy pendant all by his ownself, with Austin only once having to tenderly guide his hand to keep him from ruining the whole thing.
And what did the girls do while we were playing with melted glass? They played with the free-range chickens. Because the Hands On Art Studio is also a farm, people. A FARM. Like heaven, this place was.
As a reward for the girls being forced to run around and chase chickens for close to an hour while Matt made my pendant (I know, big sacrifice for them), we took them into the mosaics studio in the barn so they could each make themselves a mosaic. I’ll tell you, mosaic making is a terrifically kid-friendly activity, at least, probably, as long as the professional staff is doing the grouting for you after you leave. The girls chose their forms and then scooped out a bunch of different kinds of tiles from big glass candy-store-looking jars, and then slapped those babies down with some glue, while Matt and I sat next to them and nudged the pieces apart slightly and occasionally filled in a big gap.
You have to leave most everything overnight at the Hands On Art Studio–the lampwork pendant needed to cool down gradually, and the mosaics needed to be grouted–but the staff will ship your stuff to you if you’re leaving the area before then. And that’s why today, five days after making our beautiful creations, we received them back in the mail.
Such a cool idea, the Hands On Art Studio. It’s a chance to work with an in-depth craft that you haven’t yet experienced, to get the basic idea about a new skill you’d like to learn, to try something new without investing in a ton of supplies. And also? There were chickens.
****The photos were taken at the Hands On Art Studio, by me, with permission from either Austin or Eric. Ask permission before you take photos at the Hands On Art Studio.