Feeling creative? Finding arts and crafts outlets for my creativity is exciting, relaxing, productive and fun–all at once! Bellingham and Whatcom County have a number of satisfying ways to quench your creative thirst.
Local businesses able you to make your own ceramics and pottery, paintings and soap so you can hone your craft, decorate your home or office or get ahead on gifts for family and friends. I may not have mentioned them all here, but these are the activities my friends and I have tried and enjoyed immensely.
Pottery & Ceramics
My friend Amanda and her family recently went to CreativiTea located in beautiful, historic Fairhaven to glaze pottery pieces as thank you gifts for teachers. They have a large selection of objects, from plates, mugs and figurines to candle holders and dishes that you glaze on site while sipping an array of quality teas. With lots of samples of finished work, design tools and idea books in the studio, the hardest part will be deciding which items to choose.
They also have a collection of simple techniques and instructions that take you step-by-step through each process so no experience is necessary.
Take as long as you like to complete your crafts because there are no hourly fees. Pottery prices range from $12-$75 and includes studio time, paints, design tools, staff assistance and glazing/firing. Walk-ins are common but reservations are recommended for groups of six or more.
Won’t be around for the three to five days it takes to complete the firing process? No problem. CreativiTea has a couple of options for mailing your creations to you when they’re ready for under $20. Call for details.
1312 11th Street
Bellingham WA 98225
My friend and potter Ann Marie Cooper of Good Earth Pottery in Fairhaven also occasionally teaches at Baker Creek Ceramic Studio. The studio has been owned and run since 2010 by artist Deb McCunn. Her studio offers quality pottery and sculpting classes in Bellingham and it’s a wonderful space for ceramic artists to nurture their creative ideas.
They offer throwing, sculpting and hand building classes as well as independent clubs, parties and private instruction. McCunn also offers classes through Whatcom Community College mentioned below.
4058 Hammer Drive #105
Bellingham, WA 98226
With potter’s wheels, electric and gas kilns, and plenty of table room for sculpture, hand building, glazing and decorating, Jansen Art Center Ceramics Studio is a great place to create. Their studio opens out onto a large paved courtyard for outdoor processes like special firing and glazing techniques. Classes and workshops are offered regularly in all of the above. Although classes generally run in 6-week sessions, one-day workshops are also held and if you already have some experience, wheels and kilns are available for rental during their open Studio hours. Plus, 15 hours of Open Studio time a week is included with any of the six-week classes.
Jansen isn’t just ceramics either. They also offer programs, classes and workshops in dance, jewelry, music, textiles and fine art.
321 Front Street
Lynden, WA 98264
Started in 2013 by longtime Whatcom County resident Lorea Hokanson, Date & Paint has a unique concept. They bring the painting party to locations you might already hang out in on a date. For example, Fairhaven’s Archer Ale House has a session every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. and Vartanyan Estate Winery offers them every Tuesday and Saturday from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
The convenience means you can enjoy dinner and drinks while also sharing a creative activity and taking home a potential masterpiece. Of course, food and beverage on your date aren’t included in the tickets that are easily purchased in advance on-line. Once you’ve chosen your day and time and purchased your ticket, you’ll be instructed to call or text ahead to confirm your seat. Date & Paint will be waiting for you with all the materials you need to make a 16″ x 20″ canvas in acrylic. Their instructors will be there to guide you as little or as much as you need. They also offer private parties and fundraisers.
Creative Life Adventures NW
If you thought combining painting and a date were unique, you haven’t yet discovered Creative Life Adventures NW. They take it to the next level through multi-day excursions that combine painting with local Pacific Northwest culture, great food and one-of-kind outdoor experiences.
Having worked full careers in the Aerospace, Management and Banking industries, owners Yvette and Derek Neumann started this business because they understand the importance of making time for creative play and escaping the daily grind. Their 3- and 7-day workshop packages cover an array of vacation opportunities. Painting is intermingled with trips to mountains or water, museums, galleries, wineries, or breweries and includes transportation, meals, happy hours, art supplies and instruction by Yvette Neumann, a professional fine art painter.
The Neumann’s work hard to provide each guest with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, creating space for creativity to blossom.
Creative Life Adventures NW
1893 Kelly Rd.
Bellingham, WA 98226
Soap is the king of crafts. There is something special about making your own household products. The wide array of smells, colors, textures, essential oils and emollients mean that you’ll never run out of different combinations. Hand made soaps are also a popular gift idea. I have made a unique soap for each person on my gift list and then included a note on why I chose that combination for them.
Otion Soap Bar is conveniently located in the Downtown Bellingham Arts District and owned by Soap Queen Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry, a soap making supplier. They have an incredible inventory of fragrance oils, soap molds, soap making kits, essential oils, nourishing oils, clays, and botanicals and it’s all available on-line so you can continue to make at home if you choose.
You don’t really have to stop at just soap either. Otion has supplies and instructions for lotion, candles, and other home and beauty products too. Need a recipe? Both the Otion and Soap Queen Blogs have step-by-step instructions to get you there.
Otion Soap Bar
301 W. Holly
Bellingham, WA 98225
Bellingham and Whatcom County offer even more opportunities to get creative with crafts than I could ever list here. For example, Whatcom Community College Community & Continuing Education Classes offer workshops in each of these areas each quarter, year round. Consider planning your next vacation or visit around indulging your personal creativity and enjoy a meditative, productive experience you’ll always remember.