Creative inspiration for the New Year

Chicago Avenue Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
Blacksmith Brad Buxton showed his hand-forged bottle openers at a recent art show at Chicago Avenue Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center. Photo by Linda Koutsky

A friend once told me to do something on New Year’s Day that you want to do more of in the coming year.

I’ve always remembered that, and I don’t think of it exactly as a resolution, but it does guide my direction for the year. Usually it’s wanting to learn something new, so I’ll look through craft and art or travel books on New Year’s Day and see what tempts me.

Here’s a roundup of inspirational classes and opportunities to expand your horizons. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see you at one of the sessions.

Happy New Year!

Lost wax casting

Spend your winter Saturdays in the warmth of a blowtorch at Quench Jewelry Arts, 1707 Jefferson St. NE.

Located in the Casket Arts Building, a funky artist enclave, this studio is filled with new and experienced jewelers taking classes and workshops or using the equipment during open studio time. Learn about wax casting, soldering, stone setting, resin, enamel and using a hydraulic press to create texture in metals.

Wear home the bling that you made yourself.

Friday night pottery

Celebrate the end of the week making your own ceramic coffee mugs. The Edina Art Center, 4701 W. 64th St., has numerous classes in painting, drawing, jewelry and photography, but they’re known for their extensive pottery and clay classes.

This six-week class is open to all skill levels. Learn the fundamentals of working with clay including wheel throwing, hand building and glazing.

If it turns out you don’t have the talent, bring something home from their terrific gift shop.

Turn up the heat

Cold this winter? Turn up the heat by taking a class at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center, 3749 Chicago Ave.

All classes use fire or heat of some sort to create projects. Blacksmithing, electronics, encaustic wax painting, glass bead making, neon, tinsmithing and welding classes are on the regular roster of this volunteer-run arts organization.

After one four-hour class you could go home with your own iron-worked bottle opener.

Sew be it

Did you receive clothes this holiday season that don’t quite fit? Don’t fret; learn to alter them yourself.

Classes from sewing basics to quilting to home decor are held in the quaint Treadle Yard Goods, 1338 Grand Ave. From beginner students to advanced, classes offer instruction on using patterns, sewing by hand and machine, darning, embroidery, copying existing garments, corsets and costumes and even making your own winter coat.

 ZRS Fossils & Gifts
A display of finely cut and polished stone pieces encourage students in the workroom at ZRS Fossils & Gifts. Photo by Linda Koutsky

Become a rock star

Like in geology. Learn how to cut slabs, grind, sand and polish rocks to make cabochons for your own stone jewelry. ZRS Fossils & Gifts, 3018 Lyndale Ave. S., is known for its extensive selection of rocks and minerals, fossils, loose crystals and fine jewelry.

It’s also hosting a winter healing expo 2 p.m.–7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Learn about the healing properties of crystals, flower essence therapy, chakra balancing, electromagnetic cleansing and enjoy live music, free samples and more.

Follow Linda Koutsky on Facebook for more adventures.


If you’re itching to do a project but need food and drink too, attend a happy hour social at Upstairs Circus, 125 N. Washington Ave.

Order up a flatbread and specialty cocktail, then make a leather wristlet, magnetic shelf, string art or jewelry. Reservations recommended.