DIY: Get inspired to get crafty

Woodworking, sewing, and pottery—tons of options exist in Atlanta

Photograph by Whitney Ott

Long before Amy Sedaris picked up her glue gun or Etsy revved up a new generation of artisans, the American Craft Council helped build public appreciation for fine crafts. When the ACC Show returns to the Cobb Galleria Centre from March 14 to 16, the attraction will mark its twenty-fifth year in Atlanta. We recommend going to the show for motivation, then releasing your own inner artist with the classes below.

Atlanta Printmakers Studio
Founded in 2005 to promote printmaking and provide studio space for artists, the Atlanta Printmakers Studio in southwest Atlanta will show you how to transfer one-of-a-kind designs onto paper or fabric. Dive in with a four- to eight-week course on screen printing, relief printing, etching, or letterpress (on 100-year-old machines!), or test the waters with one-day workshops (a recent offering: printing your own Valentine’s Day cards). Most classes are open to all, but a few focus on higher-level techniques.

The Beehive
Various sewing, knitting, jewelry-making, and felting courses focus on personal accessories and home decor projects, and frequent sip-and-stitch nights encourage camaraderie amid the craftiness. Whether you’re learning to cast resin for jewelry or cast on yarn for a hat, your class will be taught by a designer who’s made crafting into a full-fledged career.

Fabricate Studios
As the name implies, this tiny business on Defoor Avenue focuses on sewing. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes appeal to a range of abilities, and the lessons build on each other. If you’ve never touched a needle, Fabricate can take you from threading your machine to creating your own wardrobe. Students who already know the basics can test their skills with a bag-making or quilting class. There are also workshops on essentials like sewing machine maintenance, hemming, and clothing repair.

Highland Wood­working
This Virginia-Highland shop has been turning out artisans and hobbyists since it opened as a general hardware store in 1978. Beginner classes introduce students to hand-carving, turning, and finishing techniques, while more advanced topics include hand-cutting dovetail joints and building a continuous-arm Windsor chair. Highland’s retail operation is now devoted exclusively to woodworking supplies, so stick around to discuss hand planes or scroll saws with the experienced staff.

Spruill Center for the Arts
The Southeast’s largest community arts education center, Spruill offers hundreds of classes across more than three dozen disciplines. Topics range from the everyday (pottery, calligraphy, knitting) to the unusual (chain mail, millinery, perfume making) and include several intermediate and advanced options. Most classes are held at its Dunwoody campus, but some are off-site—including glassblowing workshops taught by Janke Studios in the Old Fourth Ward. Want to sell your wares? There’s a class for that too.

ACC Show
With more than 225 artisans, the juried show offers handmade items from jewelry and accessories under $100 to furniture and sculpture in the five-figures. This year, for the debut of the American Craft Charm Collection, participating artists were invited to contribute charms, to form an assortment that’s both eclectic and affordable. Make Room, Modern Design Meets Craft—a series of vignettes by local designers like Tish Mills, Lori May, and Rick Anthony Bonner—returns for a second year, with the theme “Let’s Entertain.” Visit a tasting room for a sip of Scotch from the Balvenie, a distillery that supports artisan-made goods around the world. Atlanta designer William Peace drew inspiration for the warm, rustic space from wooden slab tables and antler-shaped wind chimes.

This article originally appeared in our March 2014 issue under the headline “See It, Make It.”