Editor's Note: I am working on a series that takes a look at the shops and restaurants that make up Libertyville's vibrant downtown. If you would like to see your business included in this series—or you'd like to suggest that we feature your favorite shop or restaurant—contact me, editor Korrina Grom, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vicki Tucker sat at a table in her Libertyville studio, surrounded by some of the artists who make up the various artistic media offered there.
In what was initially a brainstorming session of sorts, the women had now moved on to talking about their specialties. Sarah Storaasli and Phyllis Dobrin, for example, discussed their felted wool items and chain maille jewelry, respectively. Then there's Linda Doyle, who creates mosaics and tiles, and Angie Miller, who teaches and self-empowerment. Vonna Maslanka creates beaded wrap bracelets.
Artist at Heart in downtown Libertyville offers a variety of classes for ages 5 through adult, including ceramics, painting, mixed media, jewelry, yoga, watercolor and mosaics, said Tucker.
The studio opened 11 years ago in Long Grove and moved to Libertyville three years ago. Tucker has owned the business for the past six years.
"I have always loved art," said Tucker, who is friends with both of Artist at Heart's former owners. She especially loves working with kids, and does so at places like Riverwoods Montessori School.
"It's something that I love to do," she said of owning the business.
Eight artists offer classes through Artist at Heart.
Tucker, Dobrin said, "is the driving force."
"Where else would allow artists to come and collaborate and commiserate," said Dobrin.
A retired schoolteacher, Dobrin said she used to bring her grandchildren to Artist at Heart, which is how she met Tucker. Owner of Brain Beads, Dobrin creates intricate chain maille jewelry and dabbles in underwater photography. She has lived in Libertyville for the past 35 years.
"I'm the creative expression girl," said Miller. She is a registered yoga teacher and a life coach. "I come in and teach yoga, because I think yoga is a form of art."
She is also collaborating with Artist at Heart on a four-week art/yoga/empowerment program called "Girls Can Change the World."
Maslanka teaches traditional jewelry design to create items like wrap bracelets.
"I feed their need for beads," said Maslanka. "This is therapy for me."
Doyle, who has worked on a lot of public art projects, teaches tile, mosaics and sculpture. In her tiled pieces, Doyle likes the "juxtaposition of the new and old" and enjoys natural themes. In addition to Artist at Heart, Doyle also teaches in Round Lake and Waukegan.
Storaasli is a felting artist. She teaches needle felting to create whimsical animals, bowls and vases.
"There's almost nothing you can't make," said Storaasli, owner of Redhead Lake Fiber Arts.
In addition to the various classes, Artist at Heart also offers kids' birthday parties, ladies' night out, bridal showers, adult birthday parties and corporate outings. There are also art camps, Tucker said, along with a BYOB adult painting class.
For more information, visit the Artist at Heart website or call (847) 816-4865.