Craft your Christmas

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Do you want to give a personal touch to your gift-giving this year, but don’t know where to start? Do you love the idea of handmade gifts, but your skills don’t include crafting?  

Area businesses have this covered for you. You can make gifts that look like they came straight from the pros on your first try. The common theme is everybody is an artist. Unleash your inner Picasso and give a gift this year that comes straight from your heart — and your hands. 

Painted Pottery 

Hand-painted pottery is fun to make, and you won’t believe how great it looks, said Sheri Bloeske of her home-based pottery studio in La Center. At The Pottery Playground you can make anything from an ornament to a serving platter in a single sitting. The pottery pieces are precast and ready to paint in your own style. 

“It’s a passion and it’s so fun,” said Bloeske. “I’m there to support and guide. And if you make a mistake, you can just wipe it off and start over.” 

Classes are offered by reservation. The cost ranges from $6 to $34 depending upon the ceramic piece chosen, and includes all needed materials. The finished piece is fired and ready for pickup approximately one week later. 

Contact The Pottery Playground at 360-931-4514, email at ThePotteryPlayground@gmail.com, or message on facebook at /thepotteryplayground. 

Hand-Crafted Decor 

At El & Em in Battle Ground, you can stop by for a drop-in DIY at one of their upcoming open houses, or sign up for a personalized class. Projects range from ornaments to chalkboard art featuring scripted handwriting.  

At the start of the chalk board class, owner Denise Johnson asks her class, “Who thinks they’ll leave and it will look like this?” 

“Nobody believes they can,” she said, adding by the end, everyone is proud of their new artwork. 

Miniature wreaths, ornaments, and a pallet wood tree are also on the schedule for the holiday season. December Daily is a handcrafted journal designed to record holiday memories. Or mark the days of the season with a vintage style advent calendar featuring tags on a wooden board. 

During December drop-in DIY events, a Kids Camp area will offer kid-friendly projects complete with gift wrapping, so kids can create a gift for mom while she shops. 

El & Em is located at 113 E Main St. in Battle Ground. Visit their website at elandem.net for a class calendar, or call 360-721-1675 for more information. 

Glass Art 

If you can decorate a cookie you can make glass art, said Melt Glass Art Supply owner Sheri Spurlock.  

At the Vancouver shop, one-session classes through Dec. 14 feature ornaments and gifts ideal for gift-giving. 

Projects range from a fused glass penguin ornament dubbed “Roger” to whimsical Santas, snowmen, and peppermints. Glass pieces are pre-cut, with a range of options to get creative with your own design. 

“There’s lots of room for creativity,” said Spurlock. 

Fused glass classes are open to students ages 10 and up. For crafters age 14 or older, try a stained glass workshop. This technique uses hot soldering irons and mild chemicals, and requires more concentration. 

Fused glass projects stay in the studio to be fired, and are ready for pick-up in about a week. A stained glass project will be completed in class and ready to go home with you. 

Special open house sessions will take place on Nov. 25 to coincide with the tree-lighting celebration in Esther Short Park, and on Dec. 1 during Vancouver’s First Friday. 

Melt Glass Art Supply is located at 502 Washington Street in Vancouver. Visit their website at meltglass.com, or call 360-771-5617 for more information. 

Paint your masterpiece 

If you envision your favorite person unwrapping a painting by yours truly on Christmas, you can create your masterpiece with the help of Debbie New’s Art Classes in Battle Ground. 

Group studio classes will teach you how to use paints, chalks, charcoal and even collage techniques. 90 minute classes are offered twice daily and are open to ages 6 and up. You can attend one class, or become a regular.  

New received her art education at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and has been teaching art classes for 35 years. Classes are designed for artists of all skill levels. 

“I like to be really encouraging and help them be successful,” New said.  

At paint parties, you can create a completed painting by the end of the two and a half hour class. Select from a wide range of seasonal themes, including charming snowmen, winter snow scenes, or country barns. Paintings can be created on 11-inch by 14-inch canvases or on rustic barn wood. 

A popular gift item is glass paints on plates or wine glasses, said New. 

Debbie New’s art studio is located in Battle Ground. Visit her website at kpnmom.wixsite.com/debbiesartclasses, or call 360-687-0429. 

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