Fire breathing dragons in Cameron Park? Not really, but that’s what the staff at Craft Castle calls their kilns, according to “Her Royal Highness” herself, Cheryl Morris, owner of the new crafty business. “It’s not an ego thing, it just makes me laugh,” Morris said of her whimsical and castle-appropriate title.
“I love arts and crafts. I love that I have created something that families can enjoy,” Morris said of her recent business venture. ”I always wanted there to be something like this to bring my kids to.” Morris has lived in El Dorado County for the past 24 years, raising her kids and working as a bookkeeper for construction companies.
“With my background in [business services] I could have created any type of business, but I wanted to create a business with a positive impact,” Morris explained. Craft Castle is the kind of place all ages can appreciate. And when you make a craft you make a memory. “When people are crafting they are talking, they are socializing. It’s a memory being made with Mom, Dad and the kids. Something you buy at the store has no meaning.”
“I’m not the artist of the castle,” Morris said. But showing off a few of her recent creations that’s hard to believe. Being creative at Craft Castle is a piece of cake with a staff on hand to show you how.
“There are easy techniques that will produce great results. Even if you aren’t artistic we can help you create something that’s going to be gorgeous.”
At Craft Castle customers can purchase a ceramic piece and pay a studio fee that includes use of paints, glazes, tools and kiln without having to do any clean-up. There are all sorts of artsy toys at the shop like a computer and printer where photos can be transferred onto just about any surface such as wood, fabric or plastic.
“Everyone says, ‘You are so brave to open a business in this economy,’ but there are always risks starting a business,” Morris said of the Castle’s opening nearly one month ago.
The Castle is nestled in between the Togos and Round Table Pizza in Cameron Park Plaza. There’s a variety of craft supplies stocking the shelves, and a room full of tables for crafty-folk to work on. In the back are two kilns that fire up to 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit and can take over 24 hours to cool off. Craft Castle feels more like an art school than a retail store.
But technically the Castle is a studio as Morris is a member of the Contemporary Ceramic Studio Association — comprised of other studio owners just like herself.
It’s a hotspot for knitting groups, and if homework involves a little after school arts and crafts this is the place to go.
“You can leave the mess here and go home. Voilà, homework’s done,” Morris said. There’s an $8 studio fee for adults and $6 for kids.
On any given day Morris has a lot of “dipping” to do — dipping the glaze that must coat each ceramic piece before it is fired. The glaze is dyed green so it’s humorously referred to as ectoplasm even though, when fired, the green dye burns away, leaving the piece with a smooth finish. By the end of day she’s covered in paint and glaze is stuck in her hair, but she loves it.
“Crafting can be a very social outlet. People craft at home because there are no alternatives, but here they can be social and share their tips and tricks,” Morris explained while plugging another service offered at the Castle — craft parties.
Craft Castle hosts classes such as oil and watercolor workshops with local artist Vanda Lavar. There will also be classes for glass-fusing, beading and knitting. Craft Castle stocks wood crafts, supplies for scrapbooking, card making, embroidery, knitting and more.
A little crafting advice from Morris : “Straight lines are overrated — embrace the squiggly.”
For more information call 530-672-9575 or visit craft-castle.com. They are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Craft Castle is also on Facebook so like them.