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September 30, 2013
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Artist Workshop expands space at new location

The swathe of art supplies and projects continue to surround the interior of the Artist Workshop, but in a new location with expanded space for group activities.

The creative mecca moved to 120 Mill St., Grass Valley, on Aug. 30 and has since enjoyed the space, which allows for different types of projects to be located in separate sections instead of everything residing in one common area, like it was at the previous location on East Main Street.

“We wanted to expand into a bigger space and offer some more things to do and be more in the area where people walk,” said owner Margo Murphy. “It’s a really big space. The length allows us to break up our options, and we have space for a classroom or private party.”

The Artist Workshop offers different activities, including open art, where visitors create anything they want out of the materials and supplies on the walls; paint your own pottery by choosing from 150 pieces of bisque ware ranging from figurines to plates, which starts at $8 per piece; mosaics and tiles in the shapes of animals or picture frames or sun catchers, which start at $11.99; candle-making where participants choose a colorful wax, mold or glass container and scent and decorate a candle; clay creations where the clay, tools guidance, glaze and firing are provided, which start at $20 per creation up to 6” or for several small ones. The workshop also offers handprint plaques and sculptures from $15 to $80; and cuddle creations, where you pick your plush animal, stuff it, insert a “come alive” star, fill out a birth certificate and make or buy clothes for it. This activity starts at $17. Though the workshop has offerings for children, it also provides materials for adult art projects.

The lighthearted environment Murphy enjoys at the Artist Workshop is very different from her technical background in architectural landscaping, where she designed sustainable water projects to address water runoff in Rhode Island.

The Nevada Union graduate moved to Los Angeles and attended California Polytechnic University. She then moved to the East Coast to study at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her master’s in architectural landscaping and expanded her artistic experience.

“I got even more exposed to art — painting and clay, video and metal work and industrial design,” she said, adding that she later worked for a landscape architecture and interior design firm, Hart Howerton, and taught in a sustainable design studio at Boston Artchitecture College for two semesters. She then decided to raise her family in her hometown, which she returned to in 2011.

“I worked in landscape architecture for a few years, became a mom and wanted to move back home. I had been gone about 15 years,” Murphy said.

The idea to open up her own art studio came from a place she visited one day with her daughter to make hand prints.

“I thought, ‘I can do that in Grass Valley and it could be a really great activity,’” she said. “I just started with what I called my incubator idea, expanded it as we could afford to do so, and we’ll still add more things.”

The Artist Workshop opened on East Main Street Nov. 12, 2011, after Murphy researched studios all summer, wanting to keep a modest budget in the beginning.

Now she has nearly doubled her space and offers classes for all ages, as well as after-school drop-off and homeschool enrichment program classes to stimulate the creative expression that making art offers.

“I just think it’s amazing to take something that’s in your head and play with different materials and see what can come from it,” she said. “It’s a physical expression of something you made and you can be proud of.”

Such pride allows children to feel more self-confident, Murphy said. “It allows them to express themselves and use fine motor skills and challenge themselves in a way that they’re able to make something and show it. I think it’s essential all the way down to learning how to use scissors.”

“I just think it’s amazing to take something that’s in your head and play with different materials and see what can come from it,” she said. “It’s a physical expression of something you made and you can be proud of.”

For more information, contact or 530-272-1937.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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The Union Updated Sep 30, 2013 10:55AM Published Sep 30, 2013 08:42PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.