On a sweltering summer evening in July of 2016, I timidly walked into Rochester Brainery for the first time. The faint smell of sawdust and paint swirled together in the air. Unbeknownst to me, Rochester Brainery had just moved into its current location, the new doors still laying against a wall ready to be hung. Also unbeknownst to me, Rochester Brainery would become my new haven—a sanctuary of creativity, education, and conviviality. A place for fellow makers (and learners!) like me to convene. My new favorite place.
My New Year’s resolution for 2016 was to spend money on experiences, not things, but that was easier said than done. As a young fifth grade teacher at French Road Elementary School in Brighton, I’m not exactly rich in time (or money, obviously). The idea of an ongoing class was out of the question—the weekly commitment just wasn’t feasible for me. That’s when I saw a local letterer I follow post on Instagram about a watercolor calligraphy class her friend was teaching at Rochester Brainery. I had gotten into hand lettering in the spring and was itching for instruction beyond watching YouTube videos. The idea of a one-time, evening class was instantly appealing to me, and with the price tag of less than a new pair of jeans, I didn’t need to think twice.
Since my first class, I have learned about incredible things from bookbinding to paper marbling, brush lettering to macramé. I’ve taken classes about modern architecture, planning with a paper planner, and knitting. I’ve cross-stitched, improvised, and screen printed. I still haven’t managed to snag a cake decorating class ticket with Scratch Bakeshop yet – it’s my white whale. Someday!
April is packed full of amazing classes, and I’m already signed up for seven. There are more than just seven I wish I could attend, so I present to you a list of classes you shouldn’t miss out on in April! Starred classes are ones you will see me at...
This class takes you over to South Clinton Ave. for the night to create a beautiful stamped necklace with the talented co-founder of The Adorned Studios, Marisa Krol. She's the genius behind Interstellar Love Craft (maybe you even own some of her gorgeous jewelry!). I took one of the first classes Rochester Brainery did in partnership with the studio, making a simple stamped layered circle necklace. This class boasts a larger piece and new additions to their stamping collection!
THIS IS MY FAVORITE CLASS! Part of that is because I love weaving (I used to take classes at MAG as a kid/teen), but another part is the teacher - Courtney Craig. She is a textile designer and does a wonderful job sharing her knowledge with her students. People ask me why I take an introduction class over and over. The answer is that creativity is never something you are done learning. Each class I take away something new (literally and metaphorically). My apartment is covered in gorgeous wall hangings I have created myself, and while my boyfriend may say, "Uh, but what are they, like, for?" I love how each piece achieves unity in a different way. Colors and textures are fun to play with in this class!
Have you been to any of the Brainery Bazaars? If so, you probably have seen the artwork of Kelsey Schmid, the teacher of this class! She creates the amazing Rochester-themed stamped prints that instantly catch your eye from across the Green Room. I am so excited to have the opportunity to make my own stamp with her expert guidance. I have become increasingly interested in printmaking since attending classes at Rochester Brainery, and I can't wait for this class!
This class takes place at Nox and the ticket price includes a free drink - need I say more? I love the Brainery classes at Nox. They have this gorgeous back room that feels so relaxing and laid back, giving the class a totally different vibe. This class gives you the opportunity to make two beautiful terrariums to house cute little air plants. The instructor, Sigriet Ferrer, provides you with excellent advice for keeping your air plants alive. If you are a person that is always envious of those with a green thumb, this is a great class to try.
This will be my 14th improv class at the Brainery! I had zero experience going into my first class, like most participants. I was goaded into signing up by a work friend, who I once shared the stage with at our teacher talent show. I was terrified when I arrived, and then we actually began the class and I was told to not think. Seriously! One of the rules of improv is "Don't think." Once I got out of my head I was able to get into the improv, and I haven't looked back! We get such a variety of people each month, truly proving that improv is for everyone (even you!).
I am obsessed with shibori! Shibori is the Japanese art of dying fabric using resist techniques. Think tie-dye, but way classier. Shibori-patterned fabric is really popular in fashion and home decor right now, making this the perfect class for creating something to display in your home. Most of Courtney's shibori classes have used beautiful indigo blue dye, but this class marks the return of an amazing new color - gold! I did a gold shibori wall hanging back in October and I just love the look! I am excited to great another piece.
Don't let the name scare you! Scherenschnitte means "scissor cuts" in German, and while the gorgeous picture on Rochester Brainery's website looks crazy intricate, I have been assured that it's less complicated than trying to pronounce the class name (kidding!). The class instructor is the talented Linda Bowers, who does the fantastic egg decorating classes. When talent just oozes out of a teacher, you know you are in for a treat! I am bummed that I can't attend, but I will be stalking Rocheter Brainery's Instagram stories to see what they create!