By Lauren Levine
We all have those “artsy” friends who can craft a homemade cheesecake on cue, fill a lonely wall with an adorable piece of do-it-yourself artwork or produce a perfect pair of Roman shades in an afternoon. We envy their ingenuity and their talent but we assume their gifts are innate. False. Thanks to Charlotte’s growing array of creative classes, activities and workshops designed to bring out the artisan in everyone, you can now become one of those people.
DESIGN A ONE OF A KIND
Whether you’re a true artist or can barely color inside the lines, these fine art experiences will get you in touch with your inner creative.
Painting with a Twist in South Park—they also have locations in Huntersville and Mooresville—is the perfect way to channel Picasso. Select the picture you’d like to recreate from the website, then pay $35 and get all of the supplies you’ll need. A professional walks you through each step of the process, so even those with minimal artistic abilities leave with an image they love. Bring beer, wine and your favorite snacks to sip and munch on while you make your masterpiece.
Wine & Design’s cozy Dilworth location is the perfect spot to unwind with friends or commemorate special events like birthdays. For $35, get the supplies and expert coaching you need to create something you’ll want to display at home. Wine & Design also runs camps for budding young artists. Bring your favorite wine or beer and something to snack on.
Like other art studios in town, Studio Cellar offers you the option of painting a pre-selected image with guidance from a professional artist. However, you can also “freestyle” at the studio’s paint bar. Paint whatever you like at the pace you choose. There’s no step-by-step guidance, but artists are on hand to coach you should you need it. Prices include the canvas and necessary supplies and range from $11 to $26. No reservations are necessary.
Enjoy a soothing, creative day at Dish it Out, a paint-your-own-pottery studio with locations near SouthPark Mall and in Ballantyne. Simply drop in, choose a piece of pottery you love and then paint it however you see fit. The staff glazes and fires the finished product for you, and you can pick up your treasure a few days later. Pottery costs between $2 and $5. Then pay $6 per hour to paint, with a maximum $12-per-day cost.
Whether you’re on a mission to mold a collection of your own coffee mugs for daily use or to sculpt something truly unique for your home, you can bring your idea to form at Clayworks. The fourth largest ceramic arts educational facility in the nation, Clayworks is the perfect place to put your artistic actions to design. Here, novices can hop on the potter’s wheel for the first time, while more skilled craftsman can finesse their glazing and decorating techniques.
STYLE A DECORATIVE STUNNER
Add a personal touch to jewelry or home decor when you get crafty at one of these inventive Charlotte shops.
Make your jewelry design dreams come to life at Beads, Inc. The store, located at Providence Road and Circle Avenue, offers free workshops on everything from beading basics to more complex knotting techniques. Plus, the bead and jewels selection is a cornucopia of color. Simply reserve your spot online and come in to string together something special.
If you can envision a piece of jewelry you’d like to create, the staff at Bead Me by Linda Minor, including Minor herself, will walk you through the steps to get it dangling from your wrist or neck. At locations in South End and Ballantyne, you can learn the techniques behind making earrings, pendants, bracelets and more. Classes range in price and start at $20. Fees typically include project supplies.
Create quirky, kitschy items that add personality to your living space with classes at Crowned Sparrow Co. Sessions range from $15 to $30 (including supplies) and are often held at local breweries or bars, so you can savor a cold beverage as you create.
To craft one-of-a-kind pieces for your home, bypass breaking the bank at your local craft shop or turning your life over to a Pinterest binge. At Nailed it D.I.Y. Studio in Fort Mill, South Carolina, you can finally finish that project you’ve filed away under “waiting for more information.”
Among the creative course offerings, which run the gamut—How to Buy a House, Songwriting Basics, Excel at Excel and more—SkillPop invites creatives to dive into foreign subject matters and become pros at them through small group classes. Check out classes like Interior Design Basics or Jewelry Fundamentals & Design.
WHIP UP A CULINARY WONDER
Ditch those takeout menus for good after you learn from professional chefs and expand your culinary repertoire.
Save your supper from endless chicken dishes and sad salads with a class at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Learn how to make healthy meals packed with flavorful ingredients. No matter what your skill level, there’s a class that can get you adding new menu items into your weekly rotation. Classes range between $60 and $75. Grill skills, pizza making, Thai cuisine and more are all part of the lineup. Bonus: the ultra-talented chef, instructor and co-owner, Chef Alyssa Gorelick appeared on Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay” in June.
Those with a sweet tooth will be in heaven at Bar Cocoa’s Cocoa Lab. Learn how to make delectable sweet treats that will make you regret ever using boxed cake mix. The $100 class fee lets you enjoy your creations at the end of the session and also includes a keepsake apron for your trophy case, free parking and a recipe collection.
Love the cuisine at Harper’s-Carolina Place, Upstream and Mimosa Grill? Learn from the best when you take a Harper’s Restaurant Group cooking class taught by the chefs behind these Charlotte favorites. Bake, braise, boil or broil everything from seafood to barbecue under the tutelage of the experts. Classes are $40 per person at Upstream and Mimosa Grill and $30 at Harper’s-Carolina Place.
Owned and run by Johnson & Wales University Senior Culinary Instructor and Chef, Carrie Hegnauer, The City Kitch is dedicated to fostering and growing Charlotte’s culinary community. Interesting and unique gastronomical classes, which are at the helm of a team of highly qualified professionals and educators, include international cheese seminars, microbrew tasting workshops, advanced baking classes and more. The venue often attracts guest chefs, authors and industry professionals, who make occasional appearances at classes.
Whether you’re looking for tips on how to slice and dice, can your own home items, incorporate spices in your cooking or develop fast weeknight dinner menus, brush up on your kitchen skills through a Charlotte Cooks class led by seasoned chefs and facilitated via Central Piedmont Community College. Looking to take it up a notch? Sign up for the different iterations of culinary boot camps offered.
This article ran in the August 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.