Valley creativity hubs make artistic endeavors accessible for all.
“A creative life is an amplified life,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert in her 2015 manifesto Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. “It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life and a hell of a lot more interesting life.” Luckily for Valley dwellers, pursuing a life of creativity is easier than ever. From making cactus-shaped drink coaster sets to coloring mandalas, there’s an artsy adventure for all at these workshops and gatherings, and no innate talent is required. Leave your insecurities at the door and, as Gilbert says, “be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.”
Sunshine Craft Co.
700 W. Campbell Ave., Phoenix
This bright and sunshiny studio is a Pinterest dream come true, with lots of pale wood shelving and bright white walls to showcase your creations for Instagram pics. Owner Amy Guerrero sells craft kits, materials and gifts on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and hosts open-house events, a freestyle CRAFT series (less instruction, more unstructured creative time) and Crafter’s Choice afternoons with projects geared toward all ages. She also brings in skilled artisans to teach ticketed classes every week (starting at $30 per person) on subjects like calligraphy, weaving, macramé, cross-stitching and candle-pouring. Check website for schedule and pricing.
The Hippie Hobby
10832 N. 32nd St., Phoenix
Building on the popularity of their monthly craft box subscription service, longtime friends Heidi Koffman and Jen Racer now host Craft Nights by The Hippie Hobby, wine-fueled throwbacks to the crunchy crafts of the 1970s. This month, they’re teaching BYOB classes on string art (July 14, 6:30-9 p.m.), wood sign making (July 20, 7-9 p.m.) and building a saguaro cactus out of wooden drink coasters and a terra cotta pot (July 28, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) at their North Phoenix studio. Book using the code PHOENIX and get each class for $34 per person.
Feeling creative, but also a bit reclusive? Aimee Kearns will bring her mobile craft closet to your home (or favorite local coffee shop) for a private creativity session for girls’ nights in, bridal showers, corporate events or just because. She launched her service this spring with wood sign-painting workshops (starting at $25 per person) and plans to expand to other crafts this year, including special requests.
Hazel & Violet
1301 N.W. Grand Ave., Phoenix
Learn the beautiful and age-old art of letterpress at this industrial-chic printing studio in Downtown Phoenix. Proprietor Nancy R. Hill hosts open workshops nearly every other Saturday and teaches custom group workshops upon request, so attendees can make everything from coasters and posters to stationery and stamps. Hill encourages students to bring adult beverages and snacks and will play a “printing playlist” should you bring one.
Adult Coloring at Phoenix Public Library
The adult coloring craze hit it big in 2015, with advocates praising its promotion of mindfulness and calming effects. Fortunately for devotees, it shows no signs of waning. The Phoenix Public Library hosts weekly Color to Calm classes at various branches and provides colored pencils, markers and intricate coloring sheets – all gratis. Advanced “colorers” can progress to Desert Sage Library’s Color to Calm: Dot to Dot, which challenges participants to connect dots to re-create classic works of art.