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Follow Your Creative Bliss at Neighborhood Arts and Crafts Classes
By Valeria Vegas
Did last year's Christmas shopping leave you muttering the words "crass commercialism"? Are you pretty sure Aunt Vicky doesn't need another easy-grip potato peeler from Bed Bath & Beyond this Hanukkah? Well, how about getting "crafty" this season and making your own gifts?
If you live in Noe Valley, you won't have to go far for a little guidance. Whether in the realm of jewelry, knitting, painting, or ceramics, there are lots of classes and resources available, for kids and adults from 6 to 96.
Whistle While You Work
Terra Mia, our resident pottery studio at 1314 Castro Street near 24th Street, has plenty of materials to work with and an oven waiting to fire up your unique creations. The way the studio works is: you pick a piece of unfinished pottery and then paint and adorn it, using Terra Mia's brushes, glazes, and decorations (all included in the cost).
Among the hundreds of items to choose from are mugs, plates, bowls, platters, Christmas tree ornaments, Santas, menorahs, Star of David boxes, and mezuzahs (a Jewish blessing on a ceramic scroll, which you can hang on a doorpost). "Kids like the reindeer and Santa ornaments best," says Terra Mia owner Christine Simmons.
The studio fee for adults is $10 all day; for children under 12, $5 for the day; no reservations necessary. Pieces range from $3 to $100, depending on the size and style, and are made of ceramics that have been fired once. After you've painted or decorated your piece, the store fires it again for you. "There's a turnaround of no more than three days for everyone to get their stuff back," says Simmons.
For all those elves who need to work late to finish their projects, Terra Mia will extend its hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in November and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in December. Call 642-9911 if you'd like more information. At the studio's web site, www.terramia.net, you can get a coupon for 20 percent off your studio time.
Looking for Beadin'?
Forbeadin, the bead shop at 1195 Church Street near 24th Street, has strung together a bunch of events this holiday season. On Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon, it is offering a class on constructing multi-strand, or chandelier, earrings and necklaces. Then on Nov. 20, the shop will host a Big Trunk Show--everyone is welcome to come and buy supplies at near-wholesale prices directly from the vendor.
On Dec. 4 and 5, Forbeadin is showcasing local clothing designers, and every Saturday morning in December, from 10 a.m. to noon (with the exception of Christmas Day), the shop will feature a different project class. The December workshops will also take place on Tuesday nights, 7 to 9 p.m. Classes cover tips in wire-wrapping, knotting, beading, and making woven-wire necklaces. "Usually people start off with the beginning techniques class, and then they're hooked," says owner Donna Davis.
Students can bring their own or select from a rainbow of beads at the shop--Czech glass, Swarovsky crystal, lampworked glass, Thai silver. There are also pendants, gemstones, pearls--"I should stop there," laughs Davis.
All of the classes cost $45 and include beads, wire, and tools. For more specifics, visit www.forbeadin.com, call 641-1414, or stop by the store and pick up a brochure. Even if you can't make a class, the staff is always available to help you put jewelry together on-site, Davis says.
Knit a Hat in a Night
Those who read the Voice know that Noe Knit, a new store offering knitting classes and supplies, will soon open at 3957 24th Street, the storefront formerly occupied by Colorcrane Arts. Also, a group called Chicks with Sticks holds a Monday-night knitting circle at Bliss Bar (6:30 p.m.). To keep up with these yarns, check out www.noeknit.com and www.sf chickswithsticks.com.
But would-be knitters who'd like to take a class immediately (if not sooner) might want to hike over to ImagiKnit at the corner of 18th and Sanchez streets. The well-stocked store offers about 20 different knitting or crocheting classes where you can learn how to make socks, sweaters, blankets, hats, purses, ponchos, and baby jackets.
A three-session Sock It to Me! class ($60) will be held Nov. 9, 16, and 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. "Socks are good, especially if you want to make house socks. They're a great gift--everybody likes to be cozy walking around the house," says ImagiKnit co-owner and knitting instructor Sara Lucas. "But hats are great, too," she adds. "They're super-quick. You can make a hat in a night if you've got the right yarn."
The Hats 101 class ($45) runs two Tuesday nights, Nov. 2 and 9. For a complete schedule of classes, go to www .imagiknit.com or call 621-6642.
No Smocks Required
If you've got more time, and are thinking perhaps about painting a portrait of your house or dog, you might want to invest in a painting class at Artsake, the new art supplies shop at 3961 24th Street across the street from Bell Market.
Starting Nov. 5, the store will offer a six-week Beginning Acrylics class ($275), taught by Noe Valley artist Jim Myrick. On Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m., students will learn the many layers and techniques involved in the acrylic medium. All materials and still-life subjects are provided, but students may also bring in photos and slides for inspiration. "In six short weeks you will be painting like a pro," boasts Myrick.
If watercolors are more your tempera-ment, a six-week Introduction to Watercolor class ($225), taught by Andrew Carson, starts on Monday, Nov. 8, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Artsake also offers after-school classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, in a whole spectrum of painting and drawing techniques, for budding artists 6 to 16. For more class information, see www.artsakesf.com or call 695-0506.
Another new art studio, Artery, located at 1311 Church Street near 25th, is offering 10 classes for kids and adults this season. There's something going on Monday through Saturday, with Sundays open for private parties.
You and your littlest ones (6 to 24 months) can choose from projects like making baby picture frames, shoulder bags, or decorated mirrors. Kids 8 to 12 can make their own T-shirts or posters in an Introduction to Printmaking class, or create masks and puppets in every medium from papier-mâché to clay. Those 13 and up can learn beading techniques with names like "flower chain" and "peyote" in a beadwork jewelry class, or make their own beads out of paper or even photos. There's also a drop-in workshop every Saturday morning, and a Tuesday-night watercolor and acrylic workshop for adults.
All materials at Artery are included in the cost, and the drop-in workshops are only $12 each. Pick up a brochure at the store, or call 285-0235, leave your address, and Artery will mail one to you.
Seniors Churning Out Crafts
Meanwhile, the 30th Street Senior Center at 30th and Chenery streets is offering free drop-in classes for anyone over the age of 60. The workshops, held weekday mornings and Thursday afternoons, include classes in textile arts, knitting, drawing and painting, quilting, and various other arts and crafts.
"One of the classes is loom weaving," notes volunteer staffer Marianne Hampton. "The weavers do not have a formal teacher, because they are quite advanced, but you can hear them helping each other in Spanish, Italian, and English as they spin the beautiful yarns on the Peruvian looms."
She adds that "the Grandmas' Project is very popular. The members knit or crochet baby clothes and blankets for poor children in the city."
All supplies are included, and students are welcome to stay for lunch (suggested donation $1.50). You must register and show proof of age.
If you've never visited before (225 30th Street), on Nov. 13 the senior center will host an open house for the community. There is also a bazaar on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where all the arts and crafts will be displayed for sale. For more information, call Hampton at 601-7845.
Don't Forget About the Rec Center
A couple of blocks away, the Upper Noe Recreation Center is continuing to hold free drop-in arts and crafts classes for kids 5 and up, on Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
"Due to cutbacks, we no longer have any arts and crafts on Saturdays," says Al Mattocks, assistant recreation director at the park. But the center does have Trina Lintz, who leads the kids through impromptu projects that cater to the closest holiday. Recent projects include painting pictures with watercolors and painting clay pumpkins. Next, the kids will make stockings and Santa cutouts, Mattocks says.
The rec center is located at Day and Sanchez streets. Call 695-5011 for information on upcoming programs.
Like every holiday season, this will surely prove to be a busy one. De-stressing with an art project or two may be just what you need to relax and create the perfect gifts for the people on your list.