Gettin' Made: Happy Trails and Clearance Sales

Folks, it's with a heavy heart that I share with you that after a year at its location in Santa Ana,  The Craft Kitchen is closing its doors.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in--after the jump, more on what to expect in the craft class/gift boutique's final days and some insight into what led store owner Nicole Stevenson to this decision. (Which I gotta tell ya, is a major blow to the indie craft scene in Orange County.)

A montage of crafty goodness from The Craft Kitchen's website
A montage of crafty goodness from The Craft Kitchen's website

Nine years ago, Nicole Stevenson moved to Southern California from San Francisco and began teaching craft classes at a local Jewish center. She realized how rewarding it was to show people how to make things and unleash a creativity they didn't know they had inside, and quickly became hooked. So it was only natural when the shop next door to her aunt Delilah's Road Less Traveled became available in October 2008 that The Craft Kitchen was born.

The Craft Kitchen is, in a word, amazing. Not only can you go to the shop to learn how to sew up a pillow, assemble a tiny terrarium, or loop up a vintage looking flower, but you'd be learning from the best - folks like Nicole herself (also the mastermind behind Random Nicole), Robert Mahar of Mahar Drygoods, and Cathy Callahan from Cathy of California. The shop is also a showcase and gift boutique for all kinds of indie arts and crafts from all over southern California, and served as a monthly meeting place for the OC Craft Club, which was a monthly meet-up for Etsy shop owners, giving them a chance to relax and hang out outside of the crazed pace of working a craft show booth for 8 hours in the blazing sun.

"Goodbye Hummingbird" purse by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole
"Goodbye Hummingbird" purse by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole

Upcoming Events

On the next page, learn why the shop is closing and what you can expect in its final days.

 

When asked what led to the decision to close up The Craft Kitchen, the usual suspects came into play. The economy stinks, expenses at the shop went up and the sales just weren't there to support it. Couple that with the fact that Nicole took a job teaching at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, and she started realizing that having a shop of her own wasn't necessary to do what she loved. "I'm actually looking forward to being able to teach and sell my goods without the insane responsibility of running a shop," she says.

The Craft Kitchen will be open through August 22, and will have a closing night party that night from 6-10pm. In the meantime, there's still a couple of weeks of fun to be had and sales to be shopped! Classes will continue in the store through August 15, and include classes like Purses 101 and Creating Natural Handmade Spa Goodies. As far as sales, you can't go wrong - 50% off all Random Nicole art, 30% off Random Nicole art and accessories, 25% off all art by other other artists, 20% off everything else in the store - what more could you hope for?

I know... you could hope that the shop would stick around a little longer. On the next page, find out what's in store for the future of Nicole Stevenson, her work with the Random Nicole line and the best indie craft event in the OC, Patchwork.

Mixed media piece by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole - coincidentally, The Craft Kitchen is the only place you need to be.
Mixed media piece by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole - coincidentally, The Craft Kitchen is the only place you need to be.

 

Even though The Craft Kitchen will soon be a sweet crafty dream, you'll still have a chance to take classes from Nicole! Starting in September, she'll be teaching classes at other locations, like Lucky Owl Boutique in Santa Ana, The Kids Are Alright in Long Beach, and Rebe in Woodland Hills. She'll also be offering private lessons, kids parties and group crafting parties at customers homes.

I asked Nicole Stevenson about Patchwork, the twice-yearly craft show she produces with her aunt Delilah,and rest assured it will still be a fixture in Orange County. I also asked her about her Random Nicole line and if it would continue to rock it's awesomeness in the indie craft world. She shares:

"Random Nicole will continue as long as I live and breathe. No matter what I end up doing, creativity and art will always be a part of it and sharing that with other people is part of the process. I see art as a three part endevour... 1) You go out into the world and see it - I mean really see it - the way we forget to see things because we look at them every day and they just become part of the backdrop for our busy lives. 2) You go home and that inspiration leads to creation. So you make something, be it a painting, a shirt, a pin, a song, a dinner... anything. 3) You share that thing with the world - and the world can be a million people or just one person - and the world looks at what you made and hopefully it moves them... Hopefully they stop for a moment and see the beauty and the sadness all at once."

"Spare Change" tee by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole
"Spare Change" tee by Nicole Stevenson of Random Nicole

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