Getting Crafty at Garden Street Studio in Visalia
Get InspiredDecember 2014
By Fache Desrochers
Photos: Kelli Avila
The artist Henri Matisse once said; “Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” This quote is particularly apt as a description for Visalia’s Garden Street Studio, because as soon as one steps over the welcoming mosaic which comprises the threshold, any feelings of heaviness or dullness inexorably melt away in the lively, airy space.
There is a palpable sense of inspiration in the room…a positive, warming energy that only adds to the sensation that this space projects: that of a foggy morning being gently but firmly burned away by the day’s sunshine. And from her cheerful, encouraging disposition to her charming, open face, it is immediately apparent that owner and operator Jenny Zeeb is the human sunbeam that illuminates Garden Street Studio. “My goal is to inspire and let creativity just grow,” Zeeb enthuses.“After all, there’s really no right or wrong in art.”
Zeeb possesses not only the passion to help others tap into their creative potential, but also the history and training to make her extremely effective at it. For 30 years, she coached diving in Visalia, and also parlayed her creativity and credentials into a teaching career. This history has endowed Zeeb with the mind of an educator and coach and the soul of an artist; qualities which make her an ideal agent in her quest to share the wealth of creative pursuits with anyone willing to get their hands dirty. “It’s interesting how most people don’t ever get to realize how good it feels to express yourself creatively,” Zeeb muses. “But getting your hands filthy with clay or glue or paint…those are absolutely the best days.”
As a firm believer in the relationship between art and well-being, Zeeb founded Garden Street Studio with the intention to create a place where people can unlock their artistic side, and all the benefits that come with it. “We do a lot of classes for kids, which I love, but I actually think my favorite thing is working with adult people,” Zeeb says. “Adults need that outlet too…it’s so therapeutic and important to do that. We all need to create.”
Zeeb speaks from experience, as she has always been a creative person. Her first outlet was sewing, which still factors importantly in the classes and workshops offered by the studio. But these days, fabric and thread have come to share space with grout, tile pieces and baubles of all kinds, as jewelry making and mosaics found their place among Zeeb’s media of choice. The studio is alive with the evidence of both of these pursuits, and examples of Zeeb’s work and the work of her clients adorn nearly every surface of the space.
Mosaics in particular seem to speak to Zeeb on a deeper level. Indeed, there is something philosophically satisfying about creating whole art from disparate, broken pieces. “I think that putting something back together makes it more beautiful,” Zeeb says. “And I kind of think people are like that too. We’ve all been broken in some way, and we all need to be put back together at some point. But that process just makes us more beautiful.”
Located just around the corner from Arts Visalia, Garden Street Studio is a new and vital stone in the foundation of Visalia’s burgeoning art district. And with Zeeb’s uplifting nature and contagious optimism, one has to assume that her studio and efforts are only going to inspire more creative growth. “I truly believe in the potential of the art community in Visalia,” Zeeb says.“I’m really hoping that this part of town continues to turn into the art district. It just makes our community so much healthier. And I’ll be here to help it happen.”
Garden Street Studio offers a variety of classes for all manner of ages and interests. For children, classes include:
• SmART Girls: a mixed-media, after-school class for girls ages 7 and up.
• Creative U: a class that gives kids the opportunity to be creative with a variety of
materials while learning about themselves.
Adults can get in touch with their inner artist through Zeeb’s Mosaics and Salvaged Jewels classes, and Thursday evenings are dedicated to an art and wine night, where attendees can try their hand at that week’s featured project. Garden Street Studio is also open for group Pinterest parties, as well as sessions by appointment. A detailed schedule of classes and sessions can be found at Garden Street Studio’s website.
Garden Street Arts & Crafts Studio • (559) 802-5239
www.gardenstreetstudio.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
www.facebook.com/GardenStreetStudio • www.pinterest.com/gardenstreetart