Where Art Thrives
When Tara McKee moved to Glen Rock with her young family three years ago, she fell in love with her new town, but the artistic side of her saw a void she was anxious to fill.
“I grew up with a mom who could make everything,” she says. “She was an artist, a seamstress, a baker, and I picked up on that. Creativity thrived in our household.”
In talking to artist friends in the area, Tara saw the need to create a space where they could not only sell their work, but also gather to create and offer opportunities to teach their skills to others.
“There had been a gift store in town, but I wanted it to be more than that,” she says. “I wanted to provide a platform for artists in our community.”
She opened Creative Den in downtown Glen Rock last year: 1,200 square feet of space which includes a retail store in front containing all handmade items by local artisans, and in the back, a large room with long worktables for workshops and comfortable chairs and couches for making conversation and creative connections.
“I love bragging about my friends who are such talented artists, so we’ve made an environment for their work to be showcased and have them be the star of the show,” she says.
Also included in the space is a 400-square-foot commercial kitchen used for culinary classes and as rental space for bakers, cooks and caterers.
Still working her day job as a founding member of a new stock exchange in Manhattan, Tara loves that Creative Den can cater to people like her who want to foster their creative talents.
“I really love structure and spread sheets, but I also have to do creative things on the side,” she says.
Glen Rock’s Jenni Scheiwiller, creator of Bean & Bug baby products, handcrafted baby blankets, bunting blankets, burp cloths and tag blankets, loves the Creative Den concept.
“It’s perfect for me as a stay-at-home mom to have this side business and be able to sell my products at her store. Tara is providing a resource to do this, which is really great.”
Heather Corey creates art with paper she makes by hand, a process she learned back in college.
“There is such a beauty in the process of paper making that drew me in,” she says.
At the Creative Den, Heather offers pieces from her latest botanical series, including floral bouquets, a culmination of her passion for paper and sculpture.
“They’re hydrangea bouquets placed in a birch frame to hang up in the home,” she says.
She is offering a workshop in February at Creative Den on making paper flower petals, which will tie into Valentine’s Day.
“I was so thrilled when this space opened,” she says. “I love the dynamic of teaching, the back and forth and bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s great to share something that’s so special to me with others.”
The workshop is only open to those ages 13 and older, and Tara has a good reason for not offering workshops to little ones.
“I’m a mom of young children, and I love making art projects with them, but my feeling has always been that younger kids have chances to be creative all of the time,” she says. “Teenagers and adults have less of an opportunity, so we want them to explore that side of themselves and feel good about it too.”
She even offers couples workshops.
“I love giving couples a night out together for, say a cooking class,” she says.
Her project is not only working but flourishing.
“I’m so excited that Creative Den can be the venue that showcases these artists and all of their hard work. The talent around here is just unbelievable,” Tara says.
And some who learn new skills may just go on to a new path in life.
“One of my artists, who is 85, took a class in making handcrafted greeting cards (using the Iris Fold technique) and now has her own little business. How awesome is that?”
Artists & Workshops at Creative Den
Creative Den offers an eclectic assortment of workshops taught by local artisans, a great opportunity to brush up on old skills or to learn something new. Registration is required; see their website for dates and times of workshops.
- Metal Stamping: Taught by Janet Setter, jewelry designer, Inspired Between the Pines.
- Card Design: Led by card artist Samantha Hiskey.
- Intro to Weaving: Fiber artist Fran Collier-Singh teaches this workshop.
- Macaroon Making: Taught by Petal Dust Cakery.
- Knitting Classes: Three levels of knitting classes are headed by Kim Raney, owner of KS Knits in Allendale.
- Collage Art: Led by high school teacher, wrestling coach and artist Jim Nonas.
- Fresh Flower Arranging: Demonstrated by floral artist Susan Dempster.
216 Rock Road, Glen Rock, 201.882.1422. CreativeDenLLC.com