Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Wet Paint Interview with Mural Artist Jeffrey Nelson

As many of our local customers and neighbors know, we recently added a vibrant mural to the back of our building, and we asked our mural artist, Jeffrey Nelson of Jephemera Illustration to tell us a little bit about his experience painting with Montana Spray Paint, artistic process, and the happy accidents along the way.

Q. What is your process when starting a mural project like this? Did you do anything different for this mural vs. previous projects? What is your process for getting the drawing from the sketch to the wall?

Jeff Nelson: First of all, thank you for inviting me to Wet Paint World Headquarters. The fireplace is a nice, unexpected touch. The first thing I do when I begin a mural is panic. It’s a healthy panic, but panic nonetheless. A mural is often a person’s introduction to a business, organization, or neighborhood and, contrary to the cliche, one can tell a lot about a book by its cover. That’s why my favorite part of the whole mural process (and this is where the panic melts away) is where I get to sit down with the client or clients and work from whatever seed of an idea they may have. It may be as limited as a color combination they like or a feeling they want to convey all the way to a mock-up that was born in the marketing department and has already made it through countless rounds of revisions. Including those two extremes and everything in between is where I have my most fun: helping people turn their ideas into extremely large paintings. As far as how I transfer an approved final sketch to a wall depends on the level of exactitude desired by the client. Sometimes I’ll use transparencies and an overhead projector. With odd shapes and logos, I’ll use an old-school sign-painting pounce pattern. Less accurate is a grid system. And then, in the case of the Wet Paint mural, I use the time-tested and approved method of ”winging it.”

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Jeff making plans for the wall

Q. What was your inspiration for the design and colors?

JN: The back of the store used to have naked limestone-colored brick with windows and doors trimmed in Wet Paint Blue.  Due to the wall’s location at the back of the store, but still in an area that receives a huge amount of both foot and car traffic (thanks to its proximity to a busy retail corridor of Grand Avenue) I thought it would be the perfect candidate for a riot of color. I had a difficult time coming up with a design because I wasn’t sure whether I should accentuate the many windows, doors, chimneys, and other random enforcers of right angles, or go in the complete opposite direction and ignore all of those things and go with a more organic design. We opted for the latter. That became an increasingly wise choice as the mural progressed. 

That’s all nuts and bolts, though. The idea of filling the space with a wide range of Minnesota perennials (not annuals!) and over-sized bumblebees was meant to be symbolic of the symbiotic relationship between local artists (hearty perennials — dare I say “weed-like”?) and the staff of Wet Paint (bees, pollinating and cross-pollinating with ideas, materials, and connections to other artists). Not shown, but implied, is the art (honey) that results from this relationship.

Last, but certainly not least, is that our city, though vibrant and wonderful, looks the same in color photographs as it does in black-and-white photographs for six months of the year and I thought it would be nice to park back here in February, listen to Margaritaville for a few minutes, and then go about my shopping.

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Mural brings in lots of color to the Wet Paint parking lot… painted with Montana Spray Paint.

Q. Most artists do their work inside. Any challenges to working outdoors? Do you like working this large?

JN: Rain. Bees. Wind. Heat. Cold. Sun. Sweat.  I Love It.

Q. Have you ever worked on a project like this with community involvement? Any challenges or happy accidents that came from that?

JN: I’ve gone from loathing the idea of working with others to actively seeking out opportunities to working with others. It’s like going from checkers to 3-D chess. It’s fun to get people who are enthusiastic about making something to the point where they’re confidently wielding a brush or a can of spray paint regardless of what their age, skill level, or degree of confidence may be. Bob Ross was partly right: there are happy little accidents, but there are happy big accidents as well.

 

Q. How was it working with the Montana Spray Paint? Have you worked with it previously? Was this a challenge?

JN: Going from garden variety spray paint that you can get at a hardware store to Montana Spray Paint is like learning to drive your family’s station wagon and then getting to drive a Tesla. I’ve used it many times before as a tool on large pieces, but I had never done an entire mural with spray paint. It took some getting used to, but the miracle of spray paint is that if you screw up, you go over it again until you’re happy. It’s a joy to work with. My only tip would be that if you’re using a lot of red and it’s windy out, and you have a propensity towards hypochondria, to remember when you’re getting into the shower and look at your arm and irrationally think, “Have I contracted a rare, tropical, flesh-eating rash?” that the answer is no. It’s just paint.

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Many cans of Montana Black Spray Paint

Q. How many hours to finish a piece like this? How many cans of spray paint did you go through?   

JN: This wall took about 50 hours, not including design time. I used a lot of spray paint, but I stopped counting how many cans I used. Which reminds me: There is no such thing as too much ventilation or lung protection.

Q. And the classic question: If you had it to do again, any changes or additions you would make?

JN: And the classic answer: no changes. No additions. Everything went perfectly and according to plan.

Ha!

Right.

We had to be nimble with the palette on the first day of the mural, which was the demonstration day. That was simply due to the huge number of people who showed up. That made things a little difficult on the tail end when I had to match colors. Other than that, the only thing I would have done differently was to wear better shoes. 

I would add one thing: there is a chimney in back that is begging for a huge, puffy dandelion on it, so if anybody knows somebody who knows somebody with a scissor lift, let me know. And one last free-floating thing: painting a mural on an art store full of art supplies and accomplished artists is an opportunity everybody should have, just for the sake of knowing what it’s like to have everything you would ever need for a project.

 

Check out our fantastic mural the next time you visit the store (or are in the neighborhood)! 

You can find more info about Jeff and his other amazing work at http://jephemera.com/#

Thanks to Montana Spray Paint, Tucker Russell, Cassie Brehmer, and everyone who helped paint this mural with Jeff!

Interested in working with Montana Spray Paint? Wet Paint stocks the full lines of Montana Black and Montana Gold, and offers quantity discounts when buying 24+ cans! 


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Boosting Your Vitamin A(rt)

virginiacircleThis blog post is written by Virginia, the Programming Manager at Wet Paint. 

Crisp air, fantastic light and colorful harvests in fall invite us to awaken all of our senses, to slow down and enjoy the view. Doing so naturally promotes better health. Engaging with creative practices  does as well.  This fall we offer you a bounty of ways to begin or continue your creative practice and reap its many benefits.

Not sure where to start? The Artists Way classes are designed to help you meet your creative self wherever you are on your journey. Who Am I Now? provides strategies to navigate the transition from work life to creative next chapters.

Practice connecting more deeply to the world around you by drawing and painting in Keeping a Travel Journal: Water Media Sketching on Location or Abstract Florals Acrylic Painting. Drawing helps us to slow down and be more attentive. For this you might try Drawing with Ink and a Brush, Painterly Drawing or Drawing Pet Portraits in Pastel Pencil.

Re-connect to traditions you’ve been missing – sign up for our Rosemaling classes. Start with basic Brush Techniques and continue to develop skills and enjoyment in Roses & Design as well as single session ornament classes.

De-stress with creative activities like Mandalas, Sumi-e, Visual Journaling, Hand Block Printing or Alcohol Inks…no experience necessary!

Satisfy your curiosity in the Science of Watercolor Series.  Restore Gestural movement to your watercolor painting or take a deeper dive in Watercolor, Gouache and Experimental Drawing multi session classes.

Throughout you’ll find stimulating classes by top-notch teaching artists in Watercolor, Book Arts, Drawing, Mixed Media, Acrylic, Lettering, Encaustic and much more.

For a complete listing, head on over to our events page to browse the whole lineup!


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What’s your growing creative edge?

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This blog post is written by Virginia, the Programming Manager at Wet Paint.

This time of year, rebirth in Nature everywhere offers us inspiration and guidance in its incredible diversity and beauty. Likewise, we are inspired by you, our customers, to provide an expansive selection of classes and events designed to spark and guide your growing creative edge this summer!

From Continuing the Artist’s Way, Lettering & IllustrationColor Theory, to Modular Origami, Planner Peace, and Drawing Faces,   classes at Wet Paint can be just the fertile community in which to start the seeds of your creativity or deepen their roots.

 

New in the garden…you’ll find a number of textile art related classes: Drawing Fashion FlatsDrawing for Textile Artists, The Art of Joomchi … and textile projects Shibori Tea Towels, Cochineal Bandanas, and Eco printing on Silk.

Break open that budding interest in watercolor in Getting Your Feet Wet: Watercolor for the Non Artist, and a watercolor series: Set Yourself up to Paint in Watercolor demo, Watercolor Color Chart, Summer Garden, and Science of Watercolor.

Celebrate Minnesota flora and fauna with these classes for youth, families and adults: Sumi-e PaintingMinnesota Critters Family class, Acrylic Painting for ages 11-15, and Observational Drawing Wet Media and Botanicals.

Need some quality art play time? Independence Day Fireworks painting, Getting Started in Visual Journaling, Art it Up! kids, and Alcohol Inks to the rescue!

You’ll find community to share your passions and processes with at one of our free meet-ups including Art Book ClubBullet JournalingSketch-In’s, and The Artist’s Way.

Perennial favorites hold the season together. You’ll find fresh and fortifying classes by top-notch teaching artists in watercolor, acrylic painting, encaustic painting, drawing, book binding, rosemaling and hand lettering.

To see the full garden, head on over to our events page to browse the whole lineup!


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Wet Paint’s 6th Annual Summer Postcard Project

Going somewhere fun this summer? Or, having a productive stay-cation? Draw, paint, or mix up your media on a postcard-sized paper and mail it to Wet Paint! We’re putting together an exhibition of mail art from our friends and fans wherever they may be. As postcards arrive, we will photograph them to share on our social media pages and then display them in our storefront windows. At the end of the summer, we’ll host a public art opening here at Wet Paint for all of the contributing artists!

postcardimage15There’s no limit to how many postcards you can send, but in order to participate, postcards have to arrive at Wet Paint via our friendly postal carrier – – no dropping them off at the store! Don’t forget to sign your postcard(s) and let us know how to reach you. We want to make sure we’re crediting you when we post the work online and we want to be able to contact you with details about the end of summer art opening on August 16th, 2019.

General Guidelines:
-We are a family-friendly shop, so please tailor your images & words to be suitable for viewers of all ages.
-We reserve the right to not display postcards that we feel are inappropriate for this activity.
-All artwork must be original.
-In order to have your postcard displayed in our end of summer exhibition, you’ll need to have it postmarked by August 12th, 2019.
-All participating mail art must arrive at Wet Paint via US Mail.
-Keep in mind that postcards will “wear” a bit depending on how far they travel- which is part of the fun of mail art!
-Contact your local post office for shipping and postage information.
-Send one or send one every week! We’ve got big windows!

Supported by Hahnemuhle Artist Paper

Wet Paint Address:

Wet Paint
Summer Postcard Project
1684 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105


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Cultivating Our Creative Community

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This blog post is written by Virginia, the Programming Manager at Wet Paint.

Having planted the garden and tended to its growth along the way, now comes the harvests’ bounty. And we have a bountiful season of creative opportunities for you to sample.

New varieties abound! – from the satisfaction of making stunning Crepe Paper Sunflowers and jewel toned French Lace handbound Journals, from the deeper dives of Self Portraits 3 Ways and Experimental Drawing, to the rich exploration of creative life questions such as “Who Am I Now?” Organizational Journaling for Pre and Post retirement.   There’s a whole new crop of classes designed for the absolute beginner who wants to try painting and drawing with themes like painting pets, miniature landscapes, painting in the style of MonetMatisse and more!

 

Perennial favorites form the base of any excellent feast! You’ll find fresh and fortifying classes by top-notch teaching artists in watercolor, acrylic painting, encaustic painting, drawing, book binding, rosemaling and hand lettering…including a new Monthly lettering practice Meet-up on the first Monday of the month.

 

Bright notes and deep flavors round out the season! Look for show-stopping classes and demos by visiting artists in sketching, relief printmaking and silkscreen printing as well as other great demos and hands-on events that will surprise, engage, edify and cultivate your creative life.

To see the full bounty, head on over to our events page to browse the whole lineup!


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Fresh classes to fit your summer

virginiacircleThis blog post is from Virginia, our Classes and Events Manager at Wet Paint:

Summer is here.

Down pace your life to something more relaxed and curious. Summer classes at Wet Paint offer you ways to refresh your creative spirit, support for your continuing creative pursuits or perhaps explore new materials or techniques for the first time.

Here’s a look at what’s in store:

You’ll find many more single session classes along with a handful of shorter multi session classes ranging from lettering and book + paper arts, to printmaking, painting and drawing and some unique specialty classes.

There are some new instructors and classes to point out:

When the Work Doesn’t Flow taught by Ellie Kingsbury addresses those dry spells artists inevitably experience and how to work with them; Intro to Micrography taught by Kyna Levi  (also offered for young artists); Intro to Screen Printing taught by Tim Cronin and Jeff Hnilicka. They are also teaching a Summer Printmaking Sampler for ages 10-15Floral Abstractions: Onsite Sketching to Finished Painting taught by Paige Tighe; Intro to Calligraphy classes for young artists and families taught by Mary McKee; plus 2 classes in the works: Wet Paint Watercolor Paper Sampler Exploration class and How to Paint Dew Drops in Watercolor taught by Illinois Watercolorist Jane Mason of Watching Paint Dry.

Many returning instructors are offering new classes such as Custom Playing Cards and Tarot Cards taught by Jeff Nelson who has three offerings in August; A whole series of new Artists Way classes taught by Tara Tieso including Abstract Urban Sketchbook, a Mixed Media Triptych and Artists Way Mini Retreat; Painterly Drawing: Water soluble Colored Pencils taught by Monica Fogg; Os Style Rosemaling taught by Julie Anderson (pictured); Watercolor + Pastel Workshop and Watercolor/Gouache/mixed Media Plein Air Workshop taught by Carl Oltvedt; Drawing Pet Portraits in Pastel Pencil taught by Susan Beck, A whole slew of classes taught by Liz Carlson including Mail Art-A-Go-Go and Cut + Paste Illustration; plus two new offerings from Bridget O’Malley Handbound Book: Japanese Side Stab Binding, and Holding it All Together : Longstitch Binding with Cave Paper.

In addition to classes you’ll find free events and demos:

Monthly Sunday Sketch-In’s, Andy Evansen Watercolor Demo in July, Bullet Journal Meet-Up in August, and our Annual Summer Postcard Project all summer long!  Keep an eye out for more events and classes in the works on our Facebook page, website or in-store posters.

…and finally, there are numerous ways to join us for fun art activities in the community this summer:

Grand Old Day Master Artwork Selfie Station, Pinners Conference and Expo in Minneapolis, Monthly Artist Talks at Lyngblomsten, Lyngblomsten Mid-Summer Festival, American Swedish Institute’s Great Makers Exchange, Pet Portraits during Paws on Grand.

With 50+ classes and events, it’s going to be a lot of fun in the classroom and we hope to see you there!


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Wet Paint’s 5th Annual Summer Postcard Project

Going somewhere fun this summer? Or, having a productive stay-cation? Draw, paint, or mix up your media on a postcard-sized paper and mail it to Wet Paint! We’re putting together an exhibition of mail art from our friends and fans wherever they may be. As postcards arrive, we will photograph them to share on our social media pages and then display them in our storefront windows. At the end of the summer, we’ll host a public art opening here at Wet Paint for all of the contributing artists!

postcardimage15There’s no limit to how many postcards you can send, but in order to participate, postcards have to arrive at Wet Paint via our friendly postal carrier – – no dropping them off at the store! Don’t forget to sign your postcard(s) and let us know how to reach you. We want to make sure we’re crediting you when we post the work online and we want to be able to contact you with details about the end of summer art opening on August 17th, 2018.

General Guidelines:
-We are a family-friendly shop, so please tailor your images & words to be suitable for viewers of all ages.
-We reserve the right to not display postcards that we feel are inappropriate for this activity.
-All artwork must be original.
-In order to have your postcard displayed in our end of summer exhibition, you’ll need to have it postmarked by August 13th, 2018.
-All participating mail art must arrive at Wet Paint via US Mail.
-Keep in mind that postcards will “wear” a bit depending on how far they travel- which is part of the fun of mail art!
-Contact your local post office for shipping and postage information.
-Send one or send one every week! We’ve got big windows!

Wet Paint Address:

Wet Paint
Summer Postcard Project
1684 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105


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Fall’s Rich Mix of Classes

virginiacircle

This blog post was written by Virginia McBride, Classes and Events Manager at Wet Paint

Things we can count on at this time of year: the farmers markets are brimming with produce, the days are a little shorter, the air has started to turn a little cooler, the crickets are chorusing, the Minnesota State Fair is underway and soon Fall classes will start up at Wet Paint.

We are excited to bring you a robust season of classes that will support your continuing creative pursuits or perhaps introduce you to new materials or techniques for the first time.

Our fall catalog and online listings are ready. Here’s a look at what’s in store:

You’ll find multi week courses in watercolor and acrylic painting, awakening creativity, italic lettering, drawing animals, urban sketching, and rosemaling; daylong or weekend immersive workshops in folded and ruling pen lettering, collage, gestural watercolor, drawing facial features, oil painting without solvents, direct watercolor, mixed media, and oil paint + cold wax medium , along with many single session classes ranging from book and paper arts to 3D, organizational journaling, brush pen lettering and airbrush.

There are some new instructors and classes to point out:

Meet Your Creative Self- “The Artist’s Way” taught by Tara Tieso, Brush Pen Lettering, and Shrink Film Charms classes taught by Kaytee Crawford, Drawing Animals from Photographs taught by Tracie Thompson, Making Watercolors Sing: Split Primary Color Theory taught by Tara Sweeney, and for those continuing in watercolor or acrylics, Watercolor II: Figures in Landscape and Acrylic Painting-Level 2+3 taught by veteran instructors Tara Sweeney and Carl Oltvedt (respectively).

We are fortunate to be able to partner with some of our manufacturers to bring you a selection of classes and events featuring expert instruction and excellent art materials including:

From the Pacific Northwest: renowned watercolorist, Ron Stocke and oil painter Angela Bandurka will give a demo and each will teach daylong classes featuring M.Graham Paints (Oregon), Introductory Airbrush featuring IWATA airbrush  (also headquartered in Oregon)  taught by Rurik Hover; Oil and Cold Wax Medium with R+F Handmade paints (out of New York) taught by the incredibly popular Julie Snidle (from St.Louis); Minneapolis-based instructor Diana Eicher’s Family Print Activity classes with Speedball/Akua printmaking supplies, the pride of Statesville, North Carolina!

From Minnesota-  Autograph Digital Projectors and Light Pads demo/tutorials with John Davis and Two classes using CAVE handmade paper (from across the river in Minneapolis) –Hand bound Sketchbooks taught by Bridget O’Malley, and Nature Journal: Book Arts and Writing classes taught by Amber Stoner.

In addition to classes you’ll find some incredible free demos and events this fall:

With 45+ classes and events, it’s going to be a bountiful and creative fall in the Wet Paint classroom. Hope to see you there!


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Jumpstart Your Art with Mixed Media Collage

virginiaheadThis blog post is from Virginia, our Programming Manager at Wet Paint:

Join us in the Wet Paint classroom on Saturday, October 22nd for a 3 hour mixed media workshop with visiting artist Dana Brown.  You will make (and take) two unique mixed media pieces while exploring the potentials of Ampersand’s fantastic panels.  The workshop is offered twice – from 10am-1pm and again from 2pm-5pm – choose the one that’s best for you!

Mixed media collage allows you to experiment with dynamic compositions while you explore new techniques and materials. The change of approach from more conventional processes is great for generating original ideas that impact both the collage itself as well as your regular drawing and painting practice.

Dana is well known for the fun he brings to teaching, as well as his extensive knowledge of artists’ materials. This workshop is suitable for any level of art maker. It would be a great way to expand your experience of using a variety of media on the same surface, or just to try something different.

The $48 class fee includes all of the supplies we’ll use in the workshop: an 8×10 Claybord and an 8×10 Encausticbord for each participant, as well as Golden acrylic paints, Claybord/Scratchbord inks and the full line of Scratchboard tools, magazines for collage, drawing supplies, random materials for mixed media techniques, and essential studio supplies like brushes, glue and scissors. Register yourself – or your group – here.

More about Dana and Ampersand:

mixed102216Dana Brown is an artist from Austin, TX.  He has worked with Ampersand Art Supply for the past nine years educating artists and conservators from all over the world about Ampersand’s innovative contemporary artists’ panels. Dana’s personal art work is in a variety of media, ranging from oil painting to paper collage.

Originally from rural Iowa, Dana moved to Portland, Oregon, after completing his degree in studio painting. While there, he spent almost six years with oil paint company Gamblin Artists Colors, before moving to Texas to join Ampersand Art Supply. He loves working in the constantly evolving world of artists’ materials. He finds that this work reinforces his belief that access to information about the materials that we use helps support our personal, artistic intentions.

Ampersand Art Supply began hand-making museum quality panels in 1993, with the goal of offering artists  rigid, versatile, and permanent supports. Initially beginning with smooth, absorbent Claybord, Ampersand now offers ten different surface options; rejecting the, “one size fits all,” approach to painting surfaces. Ampersand hand-makes museum quality panels in Buda, Texas.


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40 Years of Collaboration: Wet Paint turns 40!

oldwetpaintFrom Wet Paint’s humble beginnings as the art supply section of the Hungry Mind Bookstore to the 5000 square foot wonderland of artists’ materials we’ve become, one thing has remained constant: the reason we’re here.  Serving one of the greatest creative communities in the world has been our honor and passion for 40 years.  As we celebrate this milestone anniversary in October, we simultaneously look forward to the next 40 years of providing the right tools for every artistic expression to the generations of creatives to come.

Like seeing some images from Wet Paint days of yore? We’ve made a little gallery of a few old Wet Paint pictures posted here!

Kicking off the anniversary festivities will be a month long exhibit of art by Wet Paint staffers at Sencha Tea Bar just next door to Wet Paint. There will be a closing party from 5-7pm on Sunday, October 23rd.

We’ve also come up with a number of ways for the community to help us celebrate this momentous milestone.  The most eye-catching activity will surely be our “Exquisite Corpse” project.  Following in the footsteps of the Surrealists who popularized this chance-based parlor game in the 1920’s, we’ve recruited a variety of artists to create a section of a figure.  These sections were collectively assembled to create crazy, mismatched people called Exquisite Corpses.  These near life-size artistic creations will grace the front windows of Wet Paint for the month of October. See photos of them on our Facebook page here. 

Note: want to participate in our Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project?  Click here for information on how YOU can get involved!

The weekend of October 27-30 is when the celebration kicks into high gear!  Look for a variety of family-friendly anniversary events, as well as door prizes, raffles, refreshments, and more!  All events are free and open to the public.  See the tentative schedule below or check out our Events page on our website for more info.

Thursday, Oct. 27th: Exquisite Corpse Art Exhibit Opening Reception from 5:30-7:30pm

-Collaborative Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project (ongoing through October): draw inspiration from the characters in the windows, or invent your own pocket-sized person!

Friday, Oct. 28th: Gel Plate Printing Party from 5:30-7:30pm

-Want to try printing with a gel plate?  It’s easy and fun!  Join Wet Paint staffer, Kate, and create your own monoprint card or artwork.  All materials are provided, just bring your sense of creativity and fun! Plus a sweet door prize!

Saturday, Oct. 29th:  All Day 40th Anniversary Celebration– door prizes, Exquisite Snake Origami Project, and more!

-Join our Collaborative Exquisite Snake Origami Project: led by Origamist, Kathleen Sheridan. Bring in some old coloring sheets, sketches/drawings, or colorful works on paper. Once cut to a square and folded, you’ll add them to become part the giant patchwork kinetic origami snake that will wind through the store! Plus door prizes, Pocket-sized Exquisite Corpse Project, and more!

Sunday, Oct. 30th: Sunday Sketch-a-Thon– all day sketching in the classroom

-The classroom will be set up for sketching  from intriguing artifacts courtesy of the Bell Museum of Natural History and more. Bring your own sketch pad and favorite tools for sketching/watercolor or use shared supplies from the classroom. Stay all day or stay for a few minutes! Drawing-friendly Door Prizes!

We hope to celebrate with you at one or all of these events!