Experience an art-filled vacation in Wisconsin

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.

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