It’s a blistering hot day in late August, and a woman ducks out of the heat and sweeps through the front door of The Crafter’s Studio, rushes straight to Rebecca Clinger, and says something along the lines of, “I heard there’s a class where I can make pajama pants. Sign me up.”
Clinger takes her aside and the woman signs up for the class without even seeming to care how much she’ll have to pay for registration. The fee? $55. The woman doesn’t flinch. Hey, a stylish pair of pajama pants can cost you that much or more these days, but she won’t just leave the class with a pair of hand-sewn pajama pants, she’ll leave with the skills to create as much nightwear as she can conjure up. This class, and many others like it are at the heart of what makes The Crafter’s Studio on Front Street such a captivating place for artists and craftspeople.
The cavernous studio nearly went out of business just months ago. Earlier this summer, the two-and-a-half year old craft-making company was admittedly struggling to meet rent, so it closed its doors. But its followers began clamoring and asking for the studio to give it another go around. So Clinger, the owner, opened The Crafter’s Studio again on Sept. 1.
Already, the studio is gathering buzz for its new, upcoming classes. Case in point—the woman who enters the store in a flurry, even before the place has officially reopened, intent on securing a spot in the pajama pants sewing class.
The Crafter’s Studio is a unique institution here in town. While other arts and crafts based programs offer specialty classes in one medium, The Crafter’s Studio is a place where aspiring fashion designers, fledgling jewelry makers, ace body products creators and many others can gather under one roof, take myriad classes in all levels of expertise, have one-on-one sessions with a professional in the field, and even host children’s or adult craft-making parties. It’s where you can go to learn how to make a repurposed shirt; try your hand at machinery that whittles glass rods into glass beads, discover the skills behind screen printing, invent your own purse, make a pair of earrings and so on. The room is, of course, decorated in a very modern, crafts-appreciated manner, with clever art hanging on the walls, bolts of fabrics tucked away, buttons for sale, sewing books to browse, sewing machines lined up nicely, and so much more.
The venue got its start a few years back when Clinger, a seamstress and crafts-woman was inspired by a similar concept for a store based in San Francisco. Soon, she had opened the studio on Front Street and hired a collection of well-trained experts in their individual fields, and The Crafter’s Studio took off. But, with the pinch of the economy, things became tough for a while. Now, The Crafter’s Studio is re-opening with a new business model. While the company will still offer myriad arts and crafts classes, it will also become a selling place for contemporary fabric, and it will offer co-op sales opportunities for artists in the community. And if you’re looking for a specific sewing, jewelry, or craft class that isn’t on the list, don’t fret, “If we don’t do the craft, we’ll find someone to teach it,” Clinger says. “We are looking to add to our repertoire.”
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