art art lives

Your Cure for Cabin Fever! Lillstreet Art Workshops

Sunday, December 13, 2015 Jennie Velasco

Ravenswood has an adorable open arts center tucked into this historic neighborhood.  I walked in to a bright gift shop with delicious aromas of baked goods, wall to wall ceramics, jewelry, print art, and art books.  A handful of locals were sitting in the cafĂ© area reading or prepping for a class.  This is Lillstreet Art Center.  This is a full service arts building that offers resources for artists and classes for creatives alike, ready to be inspired

After grabbing my dirty chai (it was early for a Saturday), I learned my ornament making class was on the 3rd floor in Digital Room B.  After glancing at the artwork on the way up three flights and getting lost in hallways with full classrooms on both sides of me, I made it to my class.
I was immediately confused.   I was prepared to get my hands dirty with some DIY crafting, and I walk into a room of computers.  

Obviously I failed to hear what room I was going to.  I immediately learned we were going to make digital renditions of our ornaments and print them using a 3D printer.  WHAT?! What sorcery is this?! My digitally wired brain was psyched!  After seeing infomercials on at-home 3D printers, I never saw a real use for them and I was educated on several uses for such a device.  Other than ornaments, they can be used to make plaster molds; some ceramic artists use it to create specially textured ceramics with stamp molds from 3D printouts.  It has also been used for jewelry and silk screening templates. 

Our class was led by artist-in-residence, Rebecca who is a ceramics artist herself.  We were led through an online program that allowed us an opportunity to create designs and download them for printing.  After making our designs, we were able to see the printing process where again, I was confused.  These were not the same printers I’ve seen on TV. 

These looked far more artsy and outrageous.  Being the helpful instructor she was, Rebecca taught us how these printers work.  They are fed spools of plastic filament in different colors where it sets the design on a heat pad for the construction to “stick” effectively.  The way it prints is similar to scaffolding, where your design needs to be supported by the printing bed in order to give you a stable ornament. 

I realize this may all sound like jibberish, but basic construction would help you in understanding how a foundation is crucial.  (I may or may not have learned this the hard way).  My fascination with this printing process had me rush to make more ornaments just so I could watch it again.  Three ornaments later, I had one for my daughter, my mom, and myself.  #win #bestgiftgiverever

This was just one of a handful of workshops that Lillstreet is offering as part of  their early winter program.  If you are interested in workshops or 10-week courses in a particular craft, Lillstreet offers a wide variety of options.  Their workshops are running until the end of the month offering crash courses in Adobe Lightroom or Illustrator, dyeing, and blown glass ornament making.  Their courses are available to all ages and can be a great way for the family to spend some time getting creative together!  These activities can be painting, ceramics, or even video game production.  By the looks of what I witnessed in these classrooms, Lillstreet is well equipped with tools and resources to instruct artistic minds. 

Until today, I never knew such a place existed.  So, you’ll be seeing me take advantage of what Lillstreet offers to fulfill my glass blowing dream of becoming the next Chihuly.  For more information on courses and workshops, visit

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