By Sallie Lewis
Outside The Paper + Craft Pantry in East Austin, a minty front door stands beside a black and white mural doodled with twine balls, ink wells, scissors and envelopes. This whimsical façade is a 180 from the building’s former generic existence as a warehouse for medical supplies. And owner, Pei Sim, is tickled by the public’s curiosity.
Since it opened in November 2015, The Paper + Craft Pantry has sold a creatively-curated selection of greeting cards, stationary, notepads, journals and home goods while offering — bonus — a workshop studio for aspiring artisans to hone their chops. While the creatively curated retail showroom is a meaningful part of The Pantry, it is the venue’s robust workshop rotation that’s bringing community together anew.
Throughout the month, Sim hosts events and workshops at this East 6th Street retreat, many taught by small business owners: painters, bartenders, bakers and calligraphers. “I want the workshops to be led by instructors who are truly pros at what they do,” said Sim.
Costing anywhere from $25 to $125, the all-inclusive workshop fees cover the materials and supplies, sips, snacks and instruction, along with a discount towards a purchase in The Paper + Craft Pantry retail showroom. While many of the workshops are artistically inclined, such as the loom weaving, screen printing or floral painting courses, others are aimed at teaching better business practices, from Marketing 101 to protecting a brand’s creative content with trademarks, copyrights and licensing.
Most popular to date are the modern calligraphy and brush lettering classes, subjects that have witnessed a resurgence in recent years. In June, creative types can learn how to decorate cookies from a local baker. Sim’s goal is to make the classes accessible to a diverse audience, while educating, broadening skillsets and creating a supportive community in the process.
Beyond workshops, The Paper + Craft Pantry also hosts different kinds of events, from an Austin Book Club gathering to a donation-based co-working initiative. Bloggers, photographers, designers and other freelancers can gather in the studio every Friday from 12-5pm to work on their collective projects; 100 percent of donations are passed on to local charities.
This steady rotation of events, workshops and networking initiatives is adding texture and color to the neighborhood. Whether it’s freelancers using the studio, students attending a workshop or passersby simply looking for an original greeting card, Sim’s budding business is succeeding in reimagining the community experience — in the name of paper and craft.
By Abby Carney
Ever since chocolate was first discovered by the Aztecs and praised for its aphrodisiac qualities, the delicacy has been associated with love and romance. Austin native Ryan Cheney’s first foray into chocolate making was also a love story. The Raaka Chocolate co-founder was working in tech when the woman he loved informed him of plans to travel out of the country for several months....more
By Sallie Lewis
By Katie Friel
How you know of Mark Mothersbaugh depends largely on your age. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers were likely introduced to him as the lead singer of DEVO, the progressive art movement/band that asked us to “Whip It.” Millennials probably encountered his work during the opening credits of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats for which he composed the theme song for the television show and scored the subsequent feature films. Today’s children (and a few parents)...more
by Joanna Steblay
As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.
For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.more
The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...more
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Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.
Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?
From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...more
by James Ruiz
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Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...more