For the past decade, handmade crafts have become so popular they've inspired books, TV shows, and even a recent New York Times article proclaiming pottery is the new Pilates. Here in Austin, the city has embraced the movement, hosting the Renegade Craft Fair, pottery studios, and DIY workshops. Heck, we even had our own yarn bomber at one point.
Now, whether we're practicing self-care or just looking for a safe place to retreat from the constant barrage of news, Austinites have a brand-new spot to get their craft on. Originally a series of mobile pop-ups hosted at local bars, Crafts & Drafts opened its first brick-and-mortar on June 23. Housed at 5555 North Lamar Blvd., the new shop is part workshop, part classroom, and 100 percent BYOB.
Crafts & Drafts offers 25 classes which range from topics like making summer wreaths and succulent centerpieces to dip-dye macrame planters and embroidery 101.
"All those projects you have been afraid to try or all the ones you haven’t gotten around to, we can help you take the time to actually get creative and also make sure that you make something you like and that you’ll enjoy," says owner Ananda Neureither, who notes the space is also available for private parties and craft nights.
Currently, Neureither teaches all of the workshops, but says she's actively meeting with artists and other makers to add to the curriculum. "I’d love to bring more [artists] in to share their expertise with everyone, and give our customers a little taste of creating a wider variety of projects from people who are passionate about their art."
Neureither began Crafts & Drafts three years ago while living in Chicago. After moving to Austin last year, the entrepreneur joined B Hive Aviary, a local women's club, who helped Neureither to turn her pop-ups into a permanent locale.
"[The B Hive Apiary] was crucial to helping me make my home in Austin when I moved here," explains Neureither. "Building and running a business on your own is tough, you need a support team."
With her support team in place, Neureither is now creating a space of support for the Austin community. "I want Crafts & Drafts to be your craft room away from home," she says.
Though the brick-and-mortar does come with its challenges (as Neureither points out, the pop-ups differ offer a certain freedom), the permanent location does give Crafts & Drafts the opportunity to build a community. "When I did bar pop-ups, it was all over town," she says. "I have customers in all areas, so I’m hoping that we’re not too far for most people to come visit us at the new location."