Happy Thanksgiving from Practical Art

It is officially Thanksgiving! (How did that happen?)

We hope you have a safe and wonderful day celebrating all the things you are thankful for! Here at Practical Art, we are thankful for our amazing arts community, loyal customers, fantastic staff, and (if you don’t already fit into one of the previous categories) YOU!

Now, traditionally, the Friday after Thanksgiving is reserved for Big Box stores who promise incredible deals (coupled with overfilled parking-lots and ridiculously long lines– they don’t call it ‘black’ Friday for nothing). Here at Practical Art, however, we’ve never been big fans of the chaos, mayhem, and stress of Black Friday… but we do love celebrating the holiday season in our community. So, if you are looking for something to do this weekend other than standing in line at Best Buy or Walmart, come join us at one (or more) of the awesome local events listed below, or stop by the store any day this weekend from 10:00am-5:00pm. Help spread holiday cheer while you support local businesses around the Valley.

Friday, November 25: BLACK FRIDAY!

10am-7pm Practical Art’s Alternative Black Friday Celebration

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Get in the festive spirit by making unique, handmade robot ornaments with our favorite Space Boy Robot (Jordan Thomas).
Click Here to RSVP!

 

10am-5pm Alternative Black Friday Market, CityScape, Phoenix

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Spend the day perusing the wares of more than 30 Vintage and Local shops at the market, eat lunch at some of the best local Phoenix restaurants around, and cap it all off with a bit of ice-skating, just for fun!

Saturday, November 26: SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

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Whatever your plans, make sure you stop by your favorite local businesses to show your support and let them know how much you appreciate them! We will be open from 10-5 with lots of locally made wares & recommendations of other awesome shops for you to check out!

9am-1pm Gilbert Art Walk

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With a forecast in the mid-70s, Saturday is the perfect day to head outside and stroll around the Gilbert Water Tower, checking out the vendors at both the Art Walk and Farmer’s Market!

 

10am-5pm Phoenix Flea, Heritage Square Park

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Don’t miss the 4th annual Phoenix Flea! It’s sure to be the biggest market yet, with goods from more than 100 local artists and businesses!

Here at Practical Art, we can’t wait to see you out and about this weekend!

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Please welcome Janel Garza!

Come by Practical Art today and browse the amazing work of our newest local artist Janel Garza!

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Genius Loci Jewelry is Janel’s line of wearable artistic creations, inspired by the Arizona desert. Genius Loci is latin for “the spirit or essence of a place.” As a Phoenix based artist, Janel employs simple, clean lines, color, and symmetry to evoke the beauty and balance of our arid landscape.

Methodologically, Janel uses a laser cutter to shape and etch designs into each piece. She then delicately hand paints every earring and pendant with carefully selected colors. The ear wires are individually formed and attached. The resulting work is 100% unique!

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Genius Loci Jewelry provides beautiful, handcrafted artwork designed to amplify and accentuate any wardrobe. But don’t take our word for it– come and see for yourself! We can’t wait to see you soon.

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Summer Art Classes!

“The arts…are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

 

Grow your soul this summer by participating in one of Practical Art’s 8 artist led summer classes!

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Did you know that art can relieve stress, enhance creativity, improve brain connectivity and plasticity, make children better students, ease the burden of chronic health conditions and dementia in patients, and increase empathy, tolerance and love? Whether you are 6 or 96, here at Practical Art, we know that everyone can benefit from practicing a little art– plus, it’s just downright fun! 

That’s why we are inviting you to come down to Practical Art throughout the summer to work with your favorite local artisans. Whether you are interested in designing jewelry, learning to sew, burning wood, or painting ceramics, we have the class for you!  Sign up for one or try them all. The unique creations you make will be yours for the taking. Every Saturday, starting July 9th, visit us from 2:00-4:00pm, get out of the sun, meet a new artist, and learn a new skill. We can’t wait to see you there.

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For a full list of classes visit http://practical-art.com/artist-classes/. Sign up online, call us at 602-264-1414, or swing by the shop today!

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I Love You Dad

Celebrate Father’s Day June 19th by finding a one-of-a-kind gift –perfect for dad– at Practical Art. Fathers, grandfathers, godfathers– they help mold our foundations– our selves. We learn who we are and who we want to become through the examples of our fathers. They deserve a day of honor, and Practical Art is looking forward to celebrating them next week!

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“Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.”

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

It’s only when you grow up and step back from him–or leave him for your own home– it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.

— Margaret Truman

 

“The monsters are gone.”

“Really?” Doubtful.

“I killed the monsters. That’s what fathers do.”

Fiona Wallace

 

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“To her, the name of father was another name for love.”

— Fanny Fern

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“[My father] didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

— Clarence B. Kelland

 

Come by Practical Art (or visit our online shop) to find something special just for dad. We can’t wait to see you there!

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Photo Story: Studio visit with William Letterman

Here at Practical Art, we love the sensations of handmade goods– smooth glass, sanded wood, soft wool fibers, scented wax, vibrant palettes, cool metals. We know that our mom, too, greatly appreciated the encaustic wax finish of the Lara Plecas art piece she received, or the deliberate color choices of the Pat Mahoney planters, chosen just for her. With the success of our Mother’s Day selections, we figure it’s never too early to start getting ideas for Father’s Day (dads are pretty important, too!). When we visited William Letterman’s studio, we knew that his woodturned vessels were perfect. Letterman-01

Letterman began turning wood 10 years ago. He began with pens, and soon progressed to bowls and vases, and then more advanced techniques of inlays, segmented works, and burl pieces. Using a mixture of classic and self-taught techniques, Letterman’s work is flawless.

First, Letterman selects a brilliant series of colored woods to pattern his bowls and vessels. After strategically designing flat rings out of the wood, patterned with the various shades, he then makes additional rings, increasing in size. He glues those rings of wood together to create the rough shape of the desired piece. With great precision, Letterman uses a lathe to spin the wood, and turns a tool down the slope, re-shaping and thinning the walls of the vessel. Sanding and applying a finish complete the process. Letterman works hard to perfect his craft and create one of a kind pieces and custom pieces based on a buyer’s request. The result is a beautiful, natural, and functional piece of art.

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Get a head start on your Father’s Day shopping by coming to Practical Art and exploring the work of William Letterman and more than 130 other Arizona artisans. We can’t wait to see you soon!

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Practical Art is turning eight!

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Practical Art is turning eight!  Our little shop on Central has grown and matured in ways we never would have imagined– and it’s all a result of our hard-working staff, our imaginative and talented artists, and most importantly, you, our loyal customers. In honor of our 8th birthday, here are 8 fun facts about PA.  Did you know that…

  • Practical Art houses the work of more than 130 local artists

When Practical Art opened, we carried the functional, imaginative work of eight (fitting, right?) local artists. Over the past eight years, we have expanded our network of artists to more than 130– and we are still growing. We jury new artists into the store every month, which means you can always find something fresh and innovative on our shelves!  

  • Practical Art = Functional Art

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At Practical Art we pride ourselves in finding art in the everyday– which is why we feature work that is beautiful, and usable! The truth is, it is more fun to drink your morning cup o’ joe from a Jillian Schimmel Arizona mug, roll out your favorite pie dough with a Paul Porter rolling pin, or sign your name with a hand-turned Richard Altenhofen pen.

Practical Art also features fine art in our monthly wall shows. Have you been by to see Lara Plecas’s encaustic pieces in her show, We Shall Be Free…”?

  • Practical Art believes in the power of recycling

Here at Practical Art, if you need something boxed or bagged, we are happy to oblige– but don’t be surprised if you walk out with a child’s birthday bag, or Tiffany & Co. box. All of our packaging comes from community donations. Next time you celebrate a birthday or go on a shopping trip, don’t throw your bags and boxes away! Bring them to Practical Art  and we will put them to re-use.

  • Practical Art supports local charities

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Last year, Practical Art raised more than $10,000 in support of 12 different local non-profits around the valley– and we are on pace to do even more this year! Our monthly Charity Pie Night highlights organizations around the state that are working hard to improve our community.

Our next Charity Pie Night happens April 22nd! Come by to hear about the great work of the Phoenix Zoo, meet some adorable critters, and eat delicious pie!

  • Practical Art loves local

At Practical Art we consider ourselves experts of all things local. Our staff is proud to direct you to other local shops and eateries around the Phoenix area, including Bunky Boutique, Frances, Changing Hands Bookstore, For the People (our new neighbors!), Windsor, Short Leash Hotdogs, or Southern Rail.  As proud members of Local First Arizona, we know that supporting local shops improves the economy in Phoenix.  At the national level, local businesses reinvest, on average, 64.8% back into their local community, as compared to 33.6% from national chains. At Practical Art, we know that our numbers are even higher. When you shop at our store, more than 70% will be reinvested back into our local community.

  • Practical Art offers workshops and classes led by our awesome artists

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Practical Art conducts workshops and special events in which our customers get the chance to become the artist. Past workshops have included the opportunity to cut wine bottles with Ray Del Muro and turn them into vases, creating your own candle scent with Standard Wax, or paint pottery with Jillian Schimmel.

This month we have an Ice Dyeing workshop happening with Lara Plecas on April 30th (click here to find out more)!

Keep your eyes peeled for class schedules and workshop updates on our website and in our monthly newsletter– we have some exciting events planned for this summer!

  • We thrive on being eclectic

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We love the variety of sights, sounds, and smells that you will experience when you walk in our doors. Don’t be surprised if you are confronted by scent of creosote, care of Silver Lining Soaps, or bergamot from our Standard Wax candles.  We hope you relish in our recycled  and refurbished cases salvaged from other businesses, or the newly reinvented shelves and tables handcrafted by our artists. Enjoy the myriad of textures represented by our artists: feel the silky smooth glass constructed by Marnie Brookins, the grain of Greg Corman’s wooden vessels, or the soft cushion of Elsie Leutwyler’s nits. Experience something new with each visit, and know that each experience has been hand-crafted by local artists, just for you!

  • Conveniently shop Practical Art online

Live out of state? Moving out of town? Don’t have time to come down to the shop before your best friends wedding? No problem! You can still purchase one-of-a-kind, Practical Art pieces on our web-store. Find a great selection of your favorite artists work at www.practical-art.com. We are happy to ship (for FREE during the month of April)!

We want to send a huge THANK YOU to the local community who has continued to support our shop and the amazing artists that we represent. In honor of our wonderful customers, we’ve put together a birthday goodie bag– one that highlights the best of our shop!  Inside this ‘bag’ you will find Alex Ozer earrings, a Lisa Olson original photograph, Carolyn Camp’s Silver Lining soap, and more!

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How do you get your hands on this one-of-a-kind goodie bag!?! Purchase a raffle ticket online or come into Practical Art today and purchase a celebratory 8th birthday raffle ticket for $8.00. We will draw the winning name at the end of this month!
From the bottom of our hearts thank you for helping us build a beautiful space that supports local artists & the Phoenix community. We can’t wait to see you soon!

Lisa & the Practical Art team

Got Green?

Going green this Saint Patrick’s Day? Practical Art is here to help. Come on by and grab these fantastic one-of-a-kind ‘green’ goods that will help you celebrate the spirit of the Irish!

To support your festivities, we have paired our green goods with some fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

Did you know…

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St. Patrick wasn’t Irish, he was British.

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Pencil pusher by Aaron Voigt

The color associated with St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, was blue, not green.

 

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AZ love t-shirt from Bunky Boutique

In the 18th century people began wearing shamrocks to symbolize their Christian heritage and honor St. Patrick– this grew into the tradition of wearing green!

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Mug by Lisa Harnish

According to legend, St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, but modern scientists say that there never were any snakes in Ireland. This was likely a metaphor…

Owl bee habitat by Greg Corman

The first St. Patrick’s Day parades were in held in America, and the first recorded in New York was in 1762. It is now one of the largest parades in the world!

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Skateboard earrings by Lisa & Devin Kelley

The first leprechauns to appear in Irish folklore did not have a pot of gold!

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Coasters by Marnie Brookins

Corned beef and cabbage was not an Irish meal, but an Irish-American meal. In Ireland the traditional dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day would usually be broiled bacon.

Visit Practical Art today in preparation for wearing green, drinking a Guinness, and enjoying Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

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