The first thing the folks at Hands On Art Studio tell adults is: "Just have fun." It's one of the things our kids know and many of us have forgotten. But at this Door County, Wis., do-it-yourself art emporium, fun is the whole point.
The studio was started by Cy Turnbladh, a potter who saw one of those paint-your-own pottery places and thought he could do it better.
It's possible to paint a plate at the Hands On Art Studio. But it's also possible to make a mosaic, paint a T-shirt, create a fused glass bowl, learn metal working and make jewelry. The studio is open for drop-in visitors on
Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November-April and every day from May-October. During the summer, the place can be overrun, particularly on rainy days. In inclement weather, expect to wait while another artist finishes a masterpiece and clears the work space.
Creating art here is as affordable as you want it to be. Each artist pays a $7 studio fee. Additional costs are determined by the cost of the basic project piece-coffee mug, plate, metal scraps-with prices starting at $3. Set the budget, choose the project and start creating. The friendly staff at Hands On will do the boring stuff-grouting your mosaic, glazing your pottery, drying your painting-and have it ready for pick up the next afternoon.
Although Door County is a popular summer haunt for lots of Chicagoans, many of the businesses, including Hands On Art Studio, are open year-round. Crowds are down, the pace is slower and prices are much lower than during the summer and fall.
I stayed as a guest of the Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor, an all-condo hotel undergoing a much-needed facelift. It offers three big draws for families: multi-bedroom suites, full kitchens and complimentary breakfast.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.