The idea of arts and crafts typically conjures images of keeping small children occupied with glue and glitter. But serious crafting can lead to awesome DIY home decor and artistic self-confidence.
In no particular order, here are five of Dallas' best opportunities to get crafty.
Oil & Cotton (above) Owners and instructors Shannon Driscoll and Kayli House Cusick bonded over their love of art and community at Better Block, a neighborhood improvement project. They recognized a need for artistic expression and guidance within Oak Cliff, and Oil and Cotton was born. They offer a range of classes, from summer camps for kids to calligraphy and basket-weaving workshops. Every class is a taught by experts in their craft with an emphasis on repurposing materials. Part shop, part full art studio complete with copper etch printing, stop by to sign up for class or just look around.
CityCraft After teaching herself how to sew, Callie Works-Leary opened CityCraft on Lovers Lane in 2009, one of the few modern sewing boutiques in Dallas. The space consists of more than just young girls practicing their gender stereotypes, Callie says: the "clientele is as varied as their fabric."
Men, women, and children can practice their needlework skills at garment-specific classes for items like pjs, pillows, purses, quilts, and skirts. Classes typically run two to three hours and all materials are included. They carry just about any type of fabric you can think of, and some you've probably never heard of, including organic cottons, home decor fabrics, chambray, linen, and voile.
Make + Made Julie McCullough, an artist-seamstress, opened Make + Made in 2005. Julie, with help from local and visiting artists, teaches classes that range from vintage apron-making to a natural sugar scrub. Classes at the Oak Cliff studio are rarely larger than 10 people, so individual attention is guaranteed. No art skills required. Printmaking, one of the most popular classes, is frequented by moms wanting to personalize their kids' stuff and people making ironic T-shirts.
The Craft Guild For over 50 years the Craft Guild, a non-profit, has been providing instruction and studio space to aspiring craftspeople everywhere, but especially in Dallas. Their expert instructors lead classes in crafts like metalsmithing, felting, bookbinding, and of course paint and clay workshops. Work by members, instructors, and guest artists are exhibited and available for purchase in the store.
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After years of talk, friends Vynsie, Jully, and Derek finally opened one of the coolest shops in Dallas, on Henderson Avenue. Part workshop, gallery, and design shop, 1976 is just generally a good time. Workshops, like letter-pressing, are taught by local artists and are small and informal. 1976 also has random awesome gifts like a hand-knit octopus or stacking Matryoshka teacup set, and recently hosted a wild ass circus party.