Medina fiber arts studio lounge offers peaceful, creative space

Posted 28 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Art & Soul is located at 410 N. Main St. next door to the Zambistro restaurant.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

MEDINA – The American lifestyle is all about doing everything in a New York minute and taking very little time to recuperate from the stresses of the everyday. Art & Soul in Medina offers a space to help people step out of all that. Owner Donna Bryant says it is the area’s first expressive healing arts studio lounge.

The front of the store is a boutique area selling whimsical primitives and handmade gifts. All of the fiber merchandise such as hats and handbags are handmade from natural materials. There is also natural tea for sale that can be sampled during monthly tea tastings on the third Thursday of every month.

The back of the space is where things get really interesting. Classes will be offered to teach basic techniques on the looms, spinning wheels, or sewing machines for crafts that attendees can then try out using studio equipment.

Students of the studio can learn techniques ranging from Saori weaving to what Bryant calls mindful, intuitive sewing. The equipment also can be used at other times besides classes to allow for a creative space when someone needs to take some quiet time.

Looms are available for anyone who would like to try out the craft without having to purchase large, expensive equipment at home.

Bryant says the studio offers an atmosphere that allows for healing with low meditative music and a helping hand whenever someone would like assistance. She thought of starting the studio when she was recovering from spinal surgery. During that time, she made craft items as a type of rehab for herself and wanted to pass the healing onto others.

She sees her shop as a therapeutic venue without the concerns of perfection and judgment from others. It is about overcoming the fear of trying something new and making things for the sake of personal enjoyment. Perhaps you may never make a perfect item on a loom, but if you enjoy the process then that is what is most important, Bryant said.

“Try it,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You can have as many beginnings as you want.”

Most of the fibers available are quality material such as wool. However, Bryant also offers acrylic yarns that are great for children or anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot if they are uncertain about the craft. She said classes will be offered that will appeal to children eight years old up to adults. She plans to offer one-day events to let people get a taste of the craft, but also plans to offer classes that could run once or twice a week for several weeks.

An array of colorful materials are available for making crafts in the fiber studio lounge.

Children can work on simple crafts such as basic potholders. Teens can look forward to a Project Runway-style fashion show, interior decorating, altered couture to help change up their wardrobes, and needle felting. Other classes she plans to offer include hand-dyeing fabrics, basket weaving, quilting, and making simple handbags.

Bryant is also looking for people in the community who would be willing to teach classes on other fiber topics. She would love to hear from knitters, crocheters, and anyone else who would like to share their ideas for classes. She wants her business to be used as a healing vehicle and a draw for the area. If there is enough interest she said she would expand to include classes for people with disabilities.

“There’s nothing like this in Rochester or Buffalo,” she said.

The only places she has seen that offer this service have been in places such as Texas, California, and New York City. She wants her business to be known as a studio focused on intuitive creativity and engaging in something fun and different, rather than just a place to shop.

Art & Soul is currently open on Saturdays, although appointments can by made by calling (585) 798-4980 or (585) 318-4314. It will be open during Wine About Winter on Feb. 1. It will also have a free tea-tasting event called Cherubs & Chocolate on Feb. 9 that requires registration by phone.