Sometimes one’s Pinterest craft projects come out looking, to put it nicely, less than Pinterest-worthy.
Thankfully, Buchanan graduate Janice Keith doesn’t seem to have that problem, and she recently opened Nola Love Craft Studio on the outskirts of Old Town Clovis to help others create gorgeous, personalized decor for their own homes.
“It’s been a dream that I’ve had for a long time,” Keith said. “Since I started crafting, I’ve wanted to have my own little space.”
Since January, Keith has held a monthly Crafternoon at Cool Hand Luke’s in Clovis, where up to 40 participants spend two hours creating a handmade item of the month.
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In June she moved into a space at 777 N. Minnewawa at 8th Street, where she caps each Crafty Happy Hour class to 12 participants on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Keith shares the studio with a friend and fellow entrepreneur of Designs by Jade.
Participants register for classes via Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They pay Keith $20 and in turn she provides all of the supplies needed for the craft, refreshments and snacks and a two-hour tutorial to guide them to their finished product.
“I encourage people to come and try, even if they think they’re not very crafty. I make it easy for people to go step-by-step and create something,” she said.
Keith, a bartender at The Mad Duck in The Square at Campus Pointe, said her long career in customer service has helped her create a unique class experience.
“I really tune into people. It’s different from the other options that are out there,” she said.
Her classes are also different from popular paint nights.
“I do mostly wood crafts,” she said. “We’ve done frames out of wood, letter signs. I try to offer different things.”
Although Keith loves to help beginners learn that creating things by hand isn’t as hard as it looks, even seasoned crafters can get in on the action.
“I try to keep the classes easy for people who consider themselves non-crafters, but I also think that if you are experienced then you can come and take it next-level,” she said.
The most popular classes at Nola Love feature crafts that can be truly personalized by their makers. For example, a wood sign painted with the crafter’s last name and “established” date can be customized to fit in with their home’s decor.
“I’ve been doing this for so long I have so many ideas in my head that keep me up at night, but I was also on Pinterest when I first started crafting so I’ve been collecting ideas on there for a long time,” Keith said. “Pinterest is a good barometer of what people are into. I look at that for what people are into, what’s popular.”
Many Nola Love crafts are wood based.
“I am a fan of wood; I have all my power tools at home so I love to do wood stuff because I know I’m going to get to put on my pink tool belt,” Keith said. “Yeah, I have a pink tool belt. I love using my saw.”
But the entrepreneur hasn’t always been a crafter.
“I’ve been crafting for about 10 years,” she said. “My mom was super crafty when I was younger but I had zero interest in it. I wanted nothing to do with it.”
In her 20s, Keith moved to New Orleans to experience life outside of the Valley.
“I super fell in love with the city,” she said. Then disaster struck.
“I evacuated from Hurricane Katrina,” Keith said. She had already been through two previous hurricanes, so she only packed for one day as she left her home in the French Quarter, not anticipating the impending damage.
Due to the devastation, it took Keith three months to be able to return to the city to colelct her belongings. Then she decided to move back home for good.
“It just wasn’t the same city,” she said.
When she moved home at the end of 2005, she began sewing and embroidering.
“I finally was into it. My mom was super excited,” she said.
Keith began hosting small craft parties with her friends and family members during the holidays, but then decided to turn her passion into a business.
Now she pays homage to the city she fell in love with -- New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA) -- through the name of her business, Nola Love.
Along with happy hour and Sunday afternoon classes, Keith occasionally hosts children’s craft days and birthday parties.
“I’m considering doing his and hers crafts to promote date night,” she said, looking forward to expansion. Her dream is to move a few blocks over into the heart of Old Town.
Contact Nola Love