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Meet Shelley Williams of Craft + Light Creative Arts Studio in Naples Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelley Williams.

Shelley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always loved to teach. In college, I taught a small arts and crafts kids program at the local city park and loved it. It led me down the path to become a teacher a career that I have enjoyed for now 20 years. I’ve taught students, then taught teachers, and led teams who oversaw teaching programs. Quite a lot of movement and quite a lot of work. But one year, funding ended and I needed to find a new job. To keep the stress off, I made soap. Lots of soap. Diving into something new and so different fascinated me. I found a new job just eight weeks later, but I remember even now that those eight weeks were not so hard. There was a peace I experienced when making soap that it calmed me. I only applied for one job that summer and with all the clarity I had, I knew it was the one for me and I got it. I continued making soap and loved it so much I thought, ” maybe I could teach soap somewhere!” I thought I could teach on the weekends.

However, not too many establishments were keen on me working with lye. After a long search, a thought came ” Wouldn’t it be nice to open my own studio and then I could teach soap!” I also wondered how many other crafters needed a place to teach and that they could teach in my studio too! I loved this idea.. but I had a pretty busy job. I led a team and oversaw a teaching program and it was non stop. Summer was our busiest time. We conducted week long conferences several times during the summer. But one of the most fun things we’d do during those weeks was the Paint Party where I would lead a painting a session to 50 teachers. Knowing the healing benefits of art, the paint party proved to be a nice element to the day where teachers could relax, chill and paint. Watching them and facilitating the time always made me wonder what teaching in my studio could be like.

In 2019, I was finishing my 5th year overseeing that program and I was ready for something new. There was a Bible scripture that I meditated on for about a year that reads ” If you can believe, all things are possible to him( her) who believes.” It encouraged me to dare to imagine what it would be like if I totally decided to change my life and pursue this dream. Over and over I imagined… during meetings, when at home, in my car… I thought about all the people I’d meet and the fun we would have creating and just enjoying the day. So I started to look at spaces and figured when it’s the right door, it’ll open.

And then in April 2019, I was pulled into a meeting and told that my program was be refunded and my team was disbanding. Then things started to happen… not too long after I was offered a job teaching teachers at a college. A goal of mine that I had wanted for some time. That same month, I received a phone call regarding this perfect space here on 2nd street. Now I have this life exactly as I imagined it. I thank God for the dream. For building me up in courage and for the clarity, I had to recognize the right door when it opened.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I had been looking for a space for a year. Rent was so high for some of the spaces I did want. One was perfect for me, but the city where I applied was concerned that there would not be enough parking spaces to offer my workshops and maintain their traffic flow on their popular city street. I was so disappointed… I honestly didn’t know how I was going to pull it off because I had such a busy job, but I wanted it so badly. But it simply was not the right time. Five months later, I found the space in Long Beach.

It all happened pretty fast and I had to renovate the entire summer and didn’t have much time to market and locate artists. So I postponed my open date one month-to August- than scheduled and began to slowly build awareness. It took about four months for it to get consistent. Then the holidays came and my weekends were booked with private parties, but then the holidays were over… The studio rebooted in February. Rebuild awareness, market, introduce, email, etc. but then six weeks in… COVID. And I had to shut down my brand new studio in its seventh month.

Mentality wise… I am a spirited, Christian black woman who owns a craft studio on 2nd street in Naples, Long Beach. Wrapping my head around that truth took me some time.

I’ve been so busy building the business, I hadn’t connected with many other women in business for community and that would have been refreshing. One of my goals now that I am in my 2nd year is to pursue these friendships more.

Please tell us about Craft + Light Creative Arts Studio.
Craft +Light Creative Arts Studio located in Naples at 5614 E. 2nd Street, opened last August 2019 bringing light and engaging crafts to the community. Whether you’re an expert, beginner or even a ” non-creative,” Craft + Light is your creative arts space. Create with your friends, your kids, your spouse, or by yourself. This studio welcomes you to create something and feel good.

This arts and crafts studio is another fun option to engage in during this time. Offering virtual craft workshops for kids and adults four times a week. Kids Studio occurring on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 10:30 take kids through creative crafts step by step for 75 minutes that fly by! On Wednesday evenings, adults enjoy their time together, making a variety of crafts such as mosaic vases, body butters, and watercoloring. For some, these virtual workshops have become an opportunity to catch up, connect and see old friends that they haven’t seen in a long time. Craft kits with all the materials for the workshops are prepared and picked up at the studio curbside Mondays 10-12PM.

But the studio isn’t just all workshops, you can also pop into the Open Studio 1-5pm Monday-Friday, hang out and choose from over 15 crafts to make in an hour. Adults can do macrame, a mini wood plaque, or just paint and go freestyle using the plethora of paint, brushes available. Studio capacity inside is four. You also have the option to enjoy making crafts on the patio at our picnic benches and umbrella.

Only DIY Modern Crafts studio in Long Beach.

Pricing:

  • Virtual Craft Workshops for Kids $90/ Four Workshops (held once a week)
  • Monthly Craft Kits $50 for three crafts
  • Private Parties for Groups and Teams: Virtual $45.00/pp
  • Private Parties for Groups and Teams: At Studio w/ face coverings and social distancing $45.00

Contact Info:

  • Address: CRAFT + LIGHT
    Creative Arts Studio
    5614 E. 2nd Street Long Beach, CA. 90803
  • Website: www.craftandlight.org
  • Phone: 562-588-9407
  • Email: connect@craftandlight.org
  • Instagram: craftandlightstudio
  • Facebook: craftandlightstudio

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