Art comes in all shapes and sizes and so do art studios where Cherokee County budding artists can create their very own masterpieces. Both Paper.Scissors.Cake in Woodstock and the Art Barn at Morning Glory Farm in Canton bring art to life for children throughout the year.
By Kayla Elder | Photography by Erin Gray Cantrell
Paper.Scissors.Cake owner Adria Smith opened her modern, yet cozy, art studio in August 2013 to offer a comfortable place to inspire children of all ages, even adults.
“I have a love of art, but do not really want to be confined to a school system telling me what I can and cannot do. If I wake up in the morning and decide I want to make fairy houses with kids, I can do that here,” Smith said.
“No. 1 for me is this: noncompetitive environment. When kids come here, I want them to feel relaxed, no pressure, and I want to bring out whatever creativity is inside of them, whatever they want to try.”
Before walking through the doors of Paper.Scissors.Cake, a registered Little Free Library can be found for families to bring a book, take a book. Once inside, children will be dazzled by the flood of color the studio holds with paper links hanging from the ceiling, a variety of artwork hanging on every wall and endless supplies to choose from at the Art Bar when producing their own work of art.
“The atmosphere is to enhance the creativity of children. I was apprehensive of even putting chairs in here that adults could sit at … I want them to interact. We have started housing more pieces for adults to paint so they can sit in with their child,” Smith said, adding that there are books by the seats for inspiration and for parents to read to their children as artwork dries.
“Everything is out for the kids to touch…the child can go over there and pick what they want to use. It is not just a craft kit that we bring to the table, they have free reign of all the materials. Everything is reachable, obtainable and we offer a lot of different sizes of brushes and types of paints.”
There is something for every age at Paper.Scissors.Cake including washable, nontoxic paint for children as young as 18 months and chalk paints for adults. Visitors can select unique wooden pieces cut specifically for Paper.Scissors.Cake, canvases, clay and ceramics to decorate with beads, jewels, glitter and buttons from the Art Bar.
“Our wooden pieces are extremely popular because the kids can paint and decorate them. They like these pieces because they are like home decor; parents can take it home and hang it up in bedrooms,” Smith said. “People often tell us that the artwork done here is frame-worthy.”
Before opening this business, Smith was a district manager for The Gap and worked in retail until she was “burnt out.” She then became a traveling art teacher who taught in several after school programs and ran The Little Picasso’s Club. She also worked as an art therapist with students in Department of Family and Children Services care in Cherokee County. She attended art school in Madison, Wisconsin.
“I want this to mimic a home environment so that the children can feel free to express themselves. That is important. They need to come and feel like they can safely express themselves the way they want to. That can show through our artwork, we are all different,” Smith said.
“I want them to know we are inviting and welcoming. We are open to suggestions on projects that the kids may want to do and encourage ideas that they may want to do. We are very encouraging and love this community we are in and love all the support we have gotten.”
Paper.Scissors.Cake also finds community outreach important and has worked with MUST Ministries, Cherokee County Animal Shelter, local schools and Autumn Leaves.
The facility offers an open studio, art classes, hosts birthday parties, ladies nights monthly, summer camps and provides a shopping experience for art supplies, as the business is a retailer of Melissa & Doug arts and crafts supplies and Seedling products.
Smith described her studio as a place for everyone to “learn, craft, shop and party.”
More information about Paper.Scissors.Cake, which is at 6687 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock, can be found by visiting its website at paperscissorscake.com. Contact the studio at (404) 867-1630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Hickory Flat Community, Art Barn at Morning Glory Farm owner Susan Shaw can be found with a chicken in one hand and paintbrush in the other while talking to children about farm animals, agriculture, history and of course, art.
Known as Farmer Sue, since 1999 she has brought art to life on the farm as a way to get children unplugged, unwired and unhooked.
“Out here it is great because some of them come in, depending on their age group, with their iPhone and those stay with the lunch boxes until the 10-minute picture time and they go back away. Unplugging and actually getting dirty is a good thing,” Shaw said. “We are an educational family farm so the kids get back to nature.”
Walking onto the farm, children will find a library full of books on animals, art and agriculture, in the area where they can put their belongings for the day. Past that, they can walk to the back of the farm where they will be greeted by animals of all shapes and sizes.
“There is a story that goes with every animal. Every animals here has a job on the farm and is an ambassador for teaching,” Shaw said. “We do not breed and sell these animals, they love their little jobs here.”
There are chickens including heritage breeds of Japanese Silkies and Bardock Coach “pajama chickens,” ducks, geese, bunnies, sheep, goats, donkeys, a miniature horse, ponies, horses, dog, cat, doves, lambs and pigs including Pickles who can turn around, bow and blows bubbles.
“There is an art element, animal element and nature element that all go together to get them outside,” Shaw said.
The Art Barn offers private parties, birthdays, farm to table field trips, summer camps, after school classes, playdates, educational workshops and seasonal farm fresh goods.
“It is the best trip because there are five stations they can rotate through,” Shaw said of the rotation through the honey bee demonstration, hayride, garden, the barnyard to meet animals and then to the art tables to make a farm inspired masterpiece.
“At every station we kind of quiz them about something they learned at the previous station, which is really fun. They are filled with facts when they leave. Everything is very interactive and hands-on and very funny. They get into it because they understand the process so well. Little things help them remember. We try to tie every fact back to an art, gardening or history fact,” she said.
Children learn a great deal from the farm including the cycle of the honey bee from the certified bee keeper, about compost and recycling on the hayride, about growing a blackberry patch and garden from the certified master gardener, what animals jobs are on the farm and the life cycle of chickens.
“This is my 16th year doing this. In the last five to eight years, the hands are coming up which is really exciting because 10 years ago when you asked the questions of who has a garden at school or home, the hands were not up so much. Now it’s a good 50 percent of hands are up,” Shaw said.
In the barn, children are given the opportunity to gather art supplies and make a unique piece of art to take home. There are often scavenger hunts around the farm for horse hair, bark, twigs and wood chips for their painting, sculpture, drawing or mixed media masterpiece.
“We really encourage the parents to paint along with the children. Everybody is born an artist. They start with the same shapes, but everybody’s is completely different,” Shaw said.
“Art is yours and if you see with your eyes and your heart that is the way you get to do it. Art is the one subject you don’t have to do a certain way. It is the only place you really have freedom to explore with no criticism. You can never mess up a piece of art.”
At the Art Barn there is a saying, “straight line, circle line, wavy line, dot; I can do anything with the shapes I’ve got,” Shaw said. “Art helps children put the whole world together.”
The farm also offers girl’s nights out, therapeutic social skills groups and Orton Gillingham tutoring and school workshops. They will also begin classes for older children including classes on pollination and building a backyard habitat, as well as partnering with Wilbur and Rudy’s Farm for Saturday workshops beginning in September.