By Amy Taylor
If you’re into arts and crafts, chances are you have a Pinterest board (or 20) filled with project ideas. How many times have you gone to create those masterpieces and the tutorial was less than helpful? Luckily there are many studios in our area that want to help give you some hands-on guidance to create your
masterpieces so that you can show them off. Here are a few studios helping you create those “Pinterest win” projects.
Manassas Clay, co-owned by Jane Cullum and Fran Newquist, has been teaching area pottery enthusiasts for the past 23 years.
“Our classes are all pretty popular. We have classes on throwing on a potter’s wheel, hand building, coils slabs and pinch pots to construct pots,” Cullum said. “It’s all a process; it’s a skill like riding a bike or learning a musical instrument. We have eight-week classes that are 3 hours once a week.”
Manassas Clay has about 70 students per week taking classes in their studios, which requires four kilns to fire clay. Firing clay is the process of heating clay to create ceramics that can then be decorated and used.
They hold five eight-week sessions per year. Cullum and Newquist have both been making pots for about 40 years each.
“You can come in and start out with a lump of clay and in three to four weeks come out with a lovely piece that’s unique to you,” Cullum said.
Manassas Clay offers classes and sells supplies like clay, glazes and other materials, as well as equipment you may need to create your own pottery.
“It’s a lot of fun. You get dirty. It’s a good chance to meet people. We’ve been here for a long time, been a part of this community and enjoy it a great deal,” Cullum said.
For more information about classes, visit manassasclay.com.
Robyn Becker, owner of Yarn Cloud in the historic Town of Occoquan, opened her shop after what she calls “the shortest retirement in history.”
“I retired on May 31, 2011, at 3:30 p.m. and on June 1 at 10 a.m., I opened the doors to my new yarn business,” she said.
Becker brought her family heritage to her business after she retired from doing high-level government work for 33 years.
She said, “My grandmother taught me all the crafting skills, one by one, as I was growing up. My grandfather was one of the original thread manufacturers for the garment district in New York. I worked there part time over several summers and had a chance to observe how thread is manufactured and how a
successful business should be run.”
Becker is proud to bring her family heritage of working with fibers to the historic Town of Occoquan, where the shop is housed in the original general store, a 120-year-old building. “I smile each morning, bringing my history and the town’s history with me as I open the shop doors. A sense of continuity between the past and present always creates a sense of awe as I start my day. And just like in times past, our little shop is a
community meeting place where we listen and share and are there for one another,” Becker said.
“This is a wayfarer stopping point in the world. You can watch folks as they come into the shop with the world on their shoulders. They take out their project to work on, and over the course of an hour or two, the serene nature of the crafting takes over. They let the world go and once again become whole. It’s an
amazing transition to watch,” Becker said of her customers.
Yarn Cloud supports local artisans by bringing in yarns that are grown, raised or dyed locally.
“We currently carry five brands of Virginia, Maryland … East Coast kind of yarns. We’re giving people local stuff because we’re in a historic town, and we want to offer them something special they can take home that they won’t find probably anywhere else,” Becker said.
Yarn Cloud offers a full range of group and private classes, as well as workshops in knitting, crochet, weaving and spinning.
Workshops and classes fill up quickly at Yarn Cloud. The best way to find out what classes are currently available is to check the website, yarncloud.com, or the events section on Facebook.
Becker said the shop knit-alongs are some of the most popular events at her shop. A knit-along consists of “a shop-sponsored project” where a community of knitters come together on a Saturday morning and create a project with assistance from shop staff.
“We encourage participants to bring their stash to the shop, and we fill in from our stock whatever is needed for the project. One of the projects we just finished was a designer who teaches you how to take seven yarns and blend them,” said Becker. “We had everybody bring in all their yarn, and we helped them to put together an artistic blending. The results were amazing and can be seen on our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.”
“Where nature meets imagination is the Yarn Cloud way,” she said.
For more information, call 571-408-4336 or email email@example.com.
Stone House Quilters Guild
Stone House Quilters Guild is a non-profit that shares its love and talent for quilting in the community.
Current president of the guild Cyndi Cooke said, “We provide a monthly meeting for members to get together in a social context. We have monthly programs from other quilters, teachers and vendors. We provide a space for members to share the projects they have completed. We help to produce an annual quilt show at the Prince William County Fair Grounds. We provide community service, donating quilts to other organizations, (i.e., hospitals NICU’s, veterans groups, nursing and rehab hospitals and others).”
Stone House Quilters runs various workshops throughout the year.
“Our workshop schedule changes often. We recently had one learning more about foundation paper piecing. We are sponsoring a beginner’s class at the Bull Run Library. We hope to offer it again at the beginning of the year. We also have four to five retreats a year where we all get together and sew for a
weekend,” Cooke said.
The guild’s meetings are open to everyone.
“Anyone is invited to our meetings and workshops. We would hope they would then choose to join us. We do have one retreat a year that you must be a member [to attend]— mostly because it is very popular,” Cooke said.
Cooke’s love for quilting was kindled after she inherited an unfinished quilt from her grandmother.
“I completed it years ago. After I retired, I decided to start sewing again. I absolutely love it. It is a hobby that provides social friendships, skill building, creativity and accomplishment,” said Cooke.
On Nov. 2, 2019, Stone House Quilters will hold their first Iron Quilter competition. The event takes place at Manassas Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Quilters will group into teams of five to complete a quilt top of at least 48 inches by 60 inches in three hours based on a surprise theme. For more information on
this competition, visit bit.ly/IronQuilter2019.
Amy Taylor (Ataylor@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.