At Whimsy Antiques in Carpinteria, a group of beginner and seasoned crafters are ready for some lively scissor wielding and hot glue gunning. They’ve gathered for the first class in a seven-month series of “creative retreats” curated by the store’s owner, Karen Clark, and will soon be creating a book-like sculpture called a “Petite Paper Garden.”
This week’s instructor, Julie Ippoliti, is a Los Angeles–based pro crafter who sells her work online and at craft shows. “A lot of art starts through crafts,” explained Ippoliti. “There are many artists that didn’t know they were artists until they started some small project and opened the door.”
Ippoliti met Clark through Instagram, where they have become fast friends through a mutual love of arts and antiques. “There has been a great and weird evolution of finding all these artistic people from all different backgrounds,” said Ippoliti. “We’re hoping these workshops will build that community.”
Clark credits social media with much of her success finding interested crafters. “I had no idea when I started Instagram that it was going to be a life-changer for our business,” said Clark, whose dedicated group of online followers often plans trips to her Whimsy store based solely on her profile postings.
“I’m an art educator in my heart,” explained Clark, who’s been teaching art and photography to kids and adults for 35 years. Her current series was inspired by similar creative retreats she’s attended around the country, some taught by crafting legends like Mary Engelbreit. “It’s such a nice experience to get together with like-minded women that just want to escape and have fun for an hour,” she said. “We all need to nurture our creative sides.”
Whimsy Antiques, located at 5042 7th Street in Carpinteria, will be hosting two classes a month for the next six months, including crafts such as rug-hooked owls, knitted autumn leaves, watercolors, and indigo dyeing. See the schedule at whimsyantiques.com under “workshops.”