New York City is a mecca of innovation and design. From the tangible—architecture, fashion, art—to the intangible—ideas, philosophy, debate—inspiration can be seen and felt everywhere. You don’t have to be professional to get in on it either. For those secret arts enthusiasts yearning to work with their hands and create, the good news is that the venues for such ventures are just around the corner. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of places to turn your arts and crafts cravings into reality. And don’t forget, homemade crafts can be a perfect holiday gift for someone on your list…
Walk into one of these NYC studios with nothing in your hands but a bottle of wine, and walk out with a unique rendition of a painting you painted yourself, a feeling of artistic accomplishment, the delight of having had a great night, and probably some new friends. This is the typical experience of being at studios like The Paint Place (Upper West Side and Astoria), Paint Along (Kips Bay), and Painting Lounge (Chelsea, Midtown, Harlem, and Williamsburg). These studios provide everything you need to make your art—the canvas, paint, brushes, aprons, instruction, and art piece to emulate—while you provide the wine and the whimsy. These studios also offer private parties, for when you want something a bit more inspired for your birthday, bridal, corporate, or team-building party. Personalized and one-of-a-kind, they’ll even work with you on catering options.
Need a little (or a lot) more instruction? The Art Studio NY (Upper West Side) is touted as having the number one rated art classes in NYC. From ‘Fear Free Drawing 101’ to intermediate and advanced drawing, painting, and mixed media classes, this studio focuses on providing technique along with freedom of expression, so that you feel comfortable, confident, and you as an artist. And there’s something for everyone—kids, teens, adults, couples, private lessons, parties, etc. Sign up soon, though, classes sell out fast.
Arts and Crafts
NYC art enthusiasts, a quick look through the lists of classes at either Brooklyn Craft Company (Greenpoint) or Make Workshop (Gowanus), and you’ll begin to wonder how you’ll fit it all in. Wanna try your hand at sewing? Will that be with your child or solo? Into the more robust materials? Will it be woodworking or leathercraft? Fascinated by times of old? Perhaps try basket weaving or quilting. Whether you want to make your own lingerie or macrame, needlepoint or soap, learn calligraphy or embroidery, dye or marble, these two arts and crafts havens can make that happen for you. And if you want to turn your newfound craft into a party—be it birthday or bachelorette, corporate or client appreciation—they can make that happen, too.
Sweater season is upon us, and what better way to express your personal style than to make your own winter wear? Thankfully, this is New York, where you can do just that. Step into Purl Soho (Soho) or Downtown Yarns (East Village), and be immersed in a bounty of rich color and exquisite yarns, all for sale. Next step: take a class. Learn to knit, or to sew, or to crochet. Learn loom weaving or rug hooking or embroidery. Make a hat, a scarf, some socks, and, yes, even a sweater—all under the guidance of an experienced instructor, using the most vibrant and beautiful yarns.
If you’re the type who likes to get a little dirty in your designing, pottery might be just the craft for you. Studios like Mud Matters (Hell’s Kitchen), La Mano Pottery (Chelsea), and Choplet Ceramic Studio (Williamsburg) are dedicated to the art of clay. They each offer classes in wheel throwing and handbuilding, private lessons, kids programs, open studio time, as well as studio space for experienced potters not taking classes. Courses are eight weeks long, but if you’re commitment-shy, you can try it out in a one-day workshop. For the professional, Choplet offers commissioned ceramic work, where designers can start a small line production based on their CAD renderings. The beauty of these studios is that they cater to beginners and professionals alike, as is evident when you walk in and see both types working side by side.
For those pondering the finer details of fashion and imagination, jewelry making might be the answer. Brooklyn Charm and Liloveve (both in Williamsburg) are two very different, very inspired jewelry making studios. While Brooklyn Charm dedicates itself to helping you design one-of-a-kind pieces using their vast supply of charms and chains, including such rare materials as taxidermy and vintage materials no longer in production, Liloveve delves into the actual craft of making jewelry from start to finish. Using materials such as silver and gold, Liloveve offers workshops, intensives, and courses from Intro to Silversmithing to Flush Setting and Ring Making. Yes, you can design for your best friend an original best friend charm necklace. Yes, you can make your significant other a personal wedding ring. Just step into one of these charming studios in Williamsburg, and begin the journey.
Arts and crafts are clearly not just for kids. There’s something for every art enthusiast in New York, and with this compilation, you can find the path to your own innovation and design. If you can’t get enough of the arts as you make your way home from a day full of crafts, check out the incredible works of art in NYC’s underground art gallery, the New York City Subway.