Mon, July 15

Imagine That
Get personal at Imagine Art

One feels among friends when visiting Imagine Art. Its warm faux painted rich yellow walls create an inviting feng shui atmosphere complemented with open seating, topped with a tin roof that elicits a rustic charm.

Upon entering Imagine Art in Sedona, one is greeted by Terry Allen or owner Henry Wingfield. On either side of the entryway stands shelves stacked with fresh bisqueware. Customers select a piece of bisque pottery, choose from a rainbow of paints, then find an open table on which to create. If you need ideas, there's plenty of books and photos to peruse on the "visions of inspiration" carousel. There's even an outside courtyard for those wishing to paint among nature.

For as little as $3 you can experience ceramic painting. The price, marked on the bottom of each piece, includes all supplies and firing. There's no studio fee -- just one price to create all that can be imagined from beginning to end.

"It's a place to come let your creative juices explode in living color," Wingfield explains. "It's for kids of all ages ... from 1 to 99."

He encourages artists to stop by and "discover a whole new medium."

With nearly a thousand pieces of bisque to choose from, there's something for everyone. Selection include a variety of home décor items such as bowls, cups, plates, tea pots, sushi sets, platters, lamps, candlesticks, vases, picture frames, tiles, tissue boxes and more. There's also a plethora of children's items and garden gnomes. These make wonderful keepsakes and gifts, says Wingfield, because you can create a personal expression that is also functional. Among the most popular items are angels, dolphins, pet bowls and piggy banks.

Wingfield and Allen can provide guidance, but the design is your own; they don't teach drawing or painting. Customers can stay as long as they want to work on a piece or nurture the creative process a little each day, there's no rush.

Once a piece is completed, it's dipped in a clear glaze before being fired at 1800 degrees. The firing process takes about seven and a half hours with an additional eight hours for cooling.

The idea behind Imagine Art, says Wingfield, is "to let the whole creative juices come out from within." Their mantra is: If you can imagine it, it can happen at Imagine Art.

The concept is not new to Sedona. Wingfield first opened Imagine Art in 1997 in Harkins Cinema Plaza. He later relocated to Phoenix but returned to Sedona last year. He struck an agreement with Fuller and Jan Barnes, who own this new building, and Imagine Art was resurrected. It officially opened its doors July 4. A grand opening celebration is slated around Labor Day.

Wingfield's purpose in reopening Imagine Art is "to offer a community venue where all you need to do is just come in." The facility can be hired out for private parties and Wingfield plans to host poetry gatherings, belly dancing and other social events here. There's even a piano waiting to be played if someone's interested in sharing his or her talent.

Imagine Art showcases two rotating artists each month. Currently on display is artwork by Susan Thompson and Ludmila Loisy.

Paula Petrovic of Sedona has been working on a miniature castle nearly everyday since the studio-gallery opened. The pleasing aesthetics of the building prompted her to stop by. This marks her first time at pottery painting.

"When I started doing it I really enjoyed it. I was surprised. I didn't think I could do anything like this," she says while meticulously painting her castle. "It's a creative way to balance a busy day. It's a nice outlet and you get a solid product at the end of it. You don't have to have any artistic skills. ... You could just hang out for hours and just create and socialize. And it's so affordable."

"There's no place like this in Sedona," adds Allen.

Imagine Art is open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays when it's closed. It's located at 90 Brewer Road in Sedona. Call 282-4236 for information or to reserve a private party.