Going Local: Artful Designs
Wendy Ives started Artful Designs in 1999. As she says, “I saw a pottery studio in Northern Michigan and said to myself, I can do this!” At the time, it was a home-based hobby but quickly grew into a real business.
In 2001, she moved her business to Normandy Village in Normal. Three years later Artful Designs relocated to 502 N. Prospect Road in Bloomington.
Today the business has 2,500 sq. ft. and seven employees. “Finding quality employees is always a challenge,” Wendy said.
Wendy graduated from Albion College where she majored in art. She also belongs to the Contemporary Ceramic Studio Association (CCSA) and makes sure to keep up with new techniques and ideas in the art industry.
One of those new trends is Board Art, where customers paint pieces of wood with family names, expressions such as “Home Sweet Home” or other designs. As noted on the brochures, “We offer a little coaching and a lot of encouragement!”
A keys aspect of Artful Designs’ success is the ability to cater to many types of people; Artful Designs is popular with children, teens and adults.
“We offer tools for every level of talent,” said Wendy. The studio has everything you need to create a hand-painted gift for any occasion. The Christmas season and spring break are two of their busiest times of the year.
“You can bring your group to our studio or we’ll visit your office and do an off-site event.” Bridal showers, ladies nights and team-building events are all popular as well. They also see field trips from daycare centers during summer months, and birthday parties are popular on the weekends.
Each month the studio offers “Kid’s Night Out,” a drop-off program for children five and up that allows parents to enjoy a some free time while their children participate in activities like watching a movie while painting their creations.
“We take pride in our relationship with our customers,” said manager Chelsea Achord.
For more information about special promotions, classes, and hours of operation, visit the Artful Designs website.