DIY the Kenosha Way

10/23/2017 - Nancy Davies

Arts & Culture, Family-Friendly
Do It Yourself Arts and Crafts in Kenosha WI
Do It Yourself Arts and Crafts in Kenosha WI
Do It Yourself Arts and Crafts in Kenosha WI
Do It Yourself Arts and Crafts in Kenosha WI

My mom was a crafter. Growing up she made all of our clothes, except for my dad’s; she made him a suit once and said, “Never again.” Mom decoupaged, made beautiful flower baskets, large candle holders using paint, plates, and beer bottles, and gave her décor pillows to my sister and me. Plus, to this day, I still have towels she embellished and after taking a gift wrap class, her gorgeous holiday packages were second to none. The woman was a wiz with two favorite craft items, ball fringe and grosgrain ribbon. We often joked about her love of ball fringe, which meant we then received another lamp shade with the fringe glued on it. The joke was on us.

As for me, I did not get the craft gene. I’ve desperately wanted to craft and I try, but each endeavor leaves my husband laughing, while at the same time admiring my “never give up the craft dream” spirit. To that end, I’m so glad Kenosha offers many opportunities to learn various crafts. Though my results aren’t always photo worthy, the pleasure I get from learning make it all worthwhile, and provides me with hope that I will one day find my talent. So far we know it’s not crochet. Basket weaving wasn’t quite my forte. And my pottery skills haven’t progressed since elementary school, though punching clay to get out air bubbles is satisfying.

So whether you’re good enough to sell your crafts at Kenosha HarborMarket, or you’re like me and try, and try, and try because crafting is fun… then listen up because I’m about to share a few places you’ll want to check out.

The Kenosha Public Museum is a place to find an eclectic mix of DIY classes, including the crochet and basket weaving classes I’ve been a part of here. One basket class I took was beyond my skill level, and yet I produced a BEAUTIFUL Victorian basket that gives me joy each time I look at it. Funny story, my basket was supposed to be a more square one than the beautiful elongated curved piece I produced and when I realized mine looked different than everyone else’s, I asked the teacher why she didn’t stop me, and she replied, ”Because your basket was evenly made and beautiful.” I’m glad she let me go; my basket is gorgeous. With classes offered throughout the year, from blacksmithing, terrarium crafting, and wire sculpture, to soap making and fused glass, the best place to find what’s being offered is on their website. Coming up in late October & November are classes in Bedazzled Pumpkins, Holiday Ornaments and Stamping Christmas Cards.

Lemon Street Gallery is an art collective that’s been around for nearly 20 years. Inside you’ll find different types of beautiful artwork on display by its members, all of which are for sale. It’s a fantastic place to find a unique gift (hint, hint, think of the holidays coming up), too. If you wish to express your inner artist, you can find a class here which may be your ticket to creativity. They hold classes year round, which can be found on their website (PRO TIP: stop by the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and pick up a sheet of Kenosha Area Coupons that includes one for $5 off any art class at LSG – you can also find this coupon here). Fall classes include Painting – Beginner & Beyond, Upcycled Mittens, and Stain Glass Seminar. Plus, there’s pottery, but you don’t have to wait for a class if you have pottery experience. Their Clay studio is open to the public as a self-serve space for those 16 and older, with Sunday being Family Day when children 5+ may attend with an adult.  Only clay purchased at the studio may be used, costing $3.00 per pound, and includes glazes and firing. Who said my pottery days are over? I’m headed there and just need my husband to build a display case for all of my clay treasures. 

Ok, so some of us may not have the magic touch when it comes to pottery. Yes, I’m talking about me (I’ve already canceled my husband’s display case project). Thank goodness there’s Alpaca Art, a Paint-Your-Own Pottery Studio. Here you get to pick out the already-deigned-for-you bisque pieces which you then get to paint any way you like using the studio’s paints and design tools. Then, they put a clear glaze on it, fire in the kiln, and you come back a week later to pick up the piece. I went on a Sunday and the place was hopping! I saw children and adults working side-by-side and having a blast. A $7 studio fee covers use of their materials and tools, plus the cost of the piece you’re going to paint, ranging in price from $3-$60. They also have a private party room that seats 40 so go ahead and book that birthday, Scout Troup, or Friend’s Night Out event. (PRO TIP: Watch for specials on Second Saturdays and during events where the studio fee is waived when you paint select pieces!)

Maybe you’re more of a jewelry person. Look to Red Rose's Bead Haven, which is 100% better than a typical big-box store bead section. This quaint store is full of beads and findings of all sorts, with great personal assistance from Lizz, the shop owner. In other words, this is the type of place you hope to find, and Kenosha has it! The store describes itself as an, “Old-fashioned Mom'n'Pop bead shop” with a wide variety of beads from around the world including Swarovski & Czech crystals, Japanese seed beads, semi-precious stones, craft wire and precious metals, books, tools; and a variety of items made by local artists. You can even sit at the beading table in the shop and bring your bead fantasies to life, with friendly assistance. A fun place to have a party, a girl’s night out, or just to sit and soak up creative vibes, for sure! If you want to learn how to bead, or have been making jewelry since you were a child, this store is a true find. For classes – which are usually $15 plus supplies, give them a call at (262) 652-3538, or stop by.

So there you have it – four places that pique your creativity. Craft for pleasure, craft for commerce, craft for camaraderie. A do-it-yourself class or experience is a great way to enjoy the shops and attractions in our area. Look and ye shall find the right craft for you in Kenosha!

Nancy Davies

Community Blogger

A Kenosha County transplant 10+ yrs. ago, Nancy and her husband love the friendly, beautiful atmosphere of Kenosha. Enjoying finding the hidden gems of the area, she also enjoys being by the lake!