Maker’s Place: A New Creative Space with Strong Boerne Roots
Last weekend Big Girl and I attended a friend’s birthday party at Maker’s Place, a pottery and painting studio in Boerne. She and all of the other kiddos had a wonderful time learning how to paint sea turtles, step-by-step. They also did plenty of exploring around the studio, playing with toys and props they found along the way. There was pizza and juice and a rainbow unicorn birthday cake that you never would've guessed was from HEB. It was a great time, not only for the kids but also for the parents...I even heard one mom say, "This is the calmest kid's birthday party I've ever been to!" and she wasn't wrong, folks. Those kids were so entirely focused on the task at hand that I almost even forgot there was a dozen of them in the room! Things did start to get a little crazy when we were finishing up our lunch, but then it was right back to the easels and all was calm, once again; a fantastic party experience for all.
I’d been to Maker’s Place once before…at Boerne’s fall Diva Night back in November (which is coming up again NEXT WEEK, by the way!). We stopped in to see what it was all about and enjoyed a bit of wine and appetizers while chatting with the owners. Turns out, Maker’s Place may be fairly new to Boerne, but it’s predecessors, Captured Sunshine and The Shabby Palette, were long-time Boerne staples. We have local businesswoman Kristen Lewis, of Hill Country Sitters, to thank for bringing Boerne’s most active pottery and painting studios under one roof and re-branding them into Maker’s Place.
Then, shortly after Maker’s Place opened its doors in April 2017, Kristen sold the business to its manager, Alicia Mendez, which was a completely natural fit and transition. Alicia’s history with the business goes all the way back to when she managed The Shabby Palette for owner Summer Poole. I’ve spent some time talking with Alicia a bit lately (aside from the birthday party, my daughter also participated in an all-day art camp at Maker’s Place over spring break) and the more we talked, the more interested I became in her story. So, I sent a few questions her way and here’s what she had to say:
SS: Tell me a little about yourself and your family.
Alicia: My family, for now, consists of my husband Josh and our three fur-kids: Mona, a Schnauzer poodle; Mycroft, a Boston Terrier; and Frida a Schnauzer-Boston mix. Frida’s very interesting looking, almost like a gremlin! We’re both students, in addition to owning the studio. Josh just received his phlebotomy certificate and I'm working toward a teaching degree. When we’re not busy with school and work, we enjoy binge-watching Netflix, camping, long walks, and reading…give either of us a good book and we will be engrossed in it anywhere from hours to days!
(Courtesy photos below)
SS: I understand this is a mother/daughter partnership...what's that like? Who handles what?
Alicia: My mom handles the financials, scheduling, and helps me teach the art camps. She's a retired teacher and helps me a lot with the kids. I handle the artwork, the lesson plans, marketing, and lead the paint parties. I won't lie, it has its share of joys and challenges. Spending so much time together has helped us form an unbreakable bond but it's also made us realize that having differing opinions on important matters can become a challenge. What has really helped is being able to admit that sometimes we will disagree and knowing that we can have open and honest communication between us is key. I feel like we have learned so many things about each other that we would not have learned in any other setting. It's like being on a roller coaster: you might freak out at times, but you'd totally do it over again!
SS: How long have you been creating? And can you share a bit about your background there?
Alicia: If you ask my mom I have been creating since I could hold a crayon and my parents signed me up for art classes at a very young age. I was accepted by The University of Michigan for a summer art program one year and later went on to create giant murals for the theater department at my high school. I started painting professionally at eighteen years old and studied Fine Art for three years in college. Before I knew it, I found myself teaching. Now, teaching paint parties and art camps fills my life with so much meaning and happiness! Seeing someone walk out with new skills or simply having learned something new about themselves is the best thing in the world. I still do commissions, murals, and donate my artwork to charities regularly. Soon, I'll be participating for the fourth time in a blind auction for the San Antonio Lighthouse for The Blind and Vision Impaired. I'll be sharing more information about that on our website, but it's called “Art in the Dark” and it's super fun!
(Courtesy photos below. And P.S. the 4th photo actually says, "I am beautiful" in Braille and was a piece that Alicia made for a previous "Art in the Dark" event...how sweet is that?!)
SS: What's your favorite part about what you do?
Alicia: Being able to provide everyone with a blank canvas is one of my favorite things! Whether that canvas is a ceramic piece, an actual canvas, or a blank piece of paper. Helping people come together, spend time together, bond, and learn something new is definitely one of the best parts of my job.
SS: What exciting things are in store for Maker's Place in 2018?
Alicia: Tons! Aside from our standard walk-in availability, we’ll also have summer camps for the kids and more fun theme nights like “Marvel vs DC Night”, “Lisa Frank Night”, “Star Wars Night”, and another “Harry Potter Night”, which was a big hit. We’ll have more public Paint & Sips each month and I'd like to incorporate mosaics this year too!
(Images below are courtesy of Maker's Place)
One thing that caught my attention while talking with Alicia is the way she centered the whole conversation around the idea of “a blank canvas”. It seemed to be an overarching theme of the business, so I pressed her on it just a bit more, to which she replied “The reason that our sign out front is mostly white is that I want people to know that Maker's Place is a blank canvas. We are here for you. If you need a place to escape from work and enjoy a creative outlet over your lunch break or after school, we can be that. If you need a space to host a birthday party or event, we can be that. If you need a date-night or girl's night out, we can be that too.”
Well, guess what? That just sounded like too much fun to pass up, so we took her up on her offer! Coming next month: a fun floral arranging and Paint & Sip workshop brought to you by Alice's Table, Maker's Place, and Sowing Seeds! We’ll have live music from the Boerne Singing Sisters and Sister Creek Winery will be with us, offering tastings of their delicious, local wine. This event though, will not just be an evening to relax, fellowship, and get creative but will also serve as a fundraiser for the Boerne Community Coalition. Want to join us? Mark your calendars for April 19th and stay tuned for information on how to get your tickets!
But don’t wait until April to see what Maker’s Place is all about. You’ll find all the information you need on the website or you can contact Alicia via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 830-331-8191. You can also just stop on by 233 S. Main Street anytime Tuesday through Thursday (11a-6p) or Friday and Saturday (11a-7p). Go, explore, create something, and have fun!
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