Experiencing Northern Michigan: Crafting Together at Gather: A Festive DIY Studio in Harbor Springs
A week into 2019, and I can already tell: this year will be punctuated by the importance of making art. Creating can often be a solitary task, especially if you’re a thousand-page novelist or a painter of landscapes or a sculptor of inanimate objects. Yet engaging in the act of making things can be a social activity when you’re creating with friends at a cute craft studio in Northern Michigan.
Cue Gather: A Festive DIY Studio in Harbor Springs, which hosts unique creative classes cozily nestled in their lovely second-level downtown space. Gather’s “fresh, fun, modern crafting classes” are accessible for beginners and encourage local folks to discover, make, and learn new skills together. From macrame and modern embroidery to jewelry making, woven wall hangings, DIY tile coasters, bold refrigerator magnets, string art, and more, there are so many cool new things to try!
Gather recently celebrated their first anniversary of being in business—going strong with some pretty impressive success. The business came to life in December 2017 thanks to Harbor Springs native Stephanie Baker, who is also a skilled and accomplished wedding and portrait photographer based in Northern Michigan. Walking into the studio space, you can tell this is a place where imagination lights up.
What makes Gather so refreshing is the vibe: it’s light and bright, efficient and airy with views overlooking Downtown Harbor Springs, attracting creative Michiganders of all ages. Gather offers a full schedule of classes that are laid back yet stimulating for both kids and adults alike. And every Gather class comes with all the step-by-step instruction and materials you need to complete your new work of art! The space is positively glowing with creative energy.
Last fall I took a cheesemaking class at Gather taught by cheesemaker extraordinaire Sue Kurta, who owns Boss Mouse Cheese, a wildly successful small business based in Kingsley, Michigan. It was so laid back, educational, and fun learning from a cheese expert based right here in NoMi! Another two-hour cheesemaking class with Boss Mouse is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5 at 6:30pm. For $29, you’ll leave with a kit and step-by-step instructions, so you can go home and make a batch of mozzarella cheese on your own!
After class, Stephanie told me a bit about why she started Gather: “I was really looking for another way to be involved in the community and get out of the house,” she said. “I started Gather because I love being creative, and I love teaching people, and being around people, so it was a really natural idea.” With a wide variety of creative classes for adults and kids, Gather encourages collaborative learning with friends and neighbors in the Harbor Springs community. “Living in a small town, people really like it,” Stephanie said regarding the significance of a true gathering space.
Gather is located upstairs in a charming historic building downtown. In the room adjacent to Gather is a large open space with hardwood floors and glass doors leading out to a second-floor terrace overlooking a courtyard and the shores of Lake Michigan. This serene space is home to Harbor Yoga, a local yoga studio offering a weekly schedule classes ranging from the beginner-friendly Slow Flow to the more challenging Power Vinyasa class. To sign up for yoga or for an art class in the next room over at Gather, check out these small businesses online—or visit Downtown Harbor Springs and stop by in person!
Coming up Sunday, January 20 at 1pm is a fun string art class! This is a Gather favorite, where you can choose from patterns like the Michigan Mitten Lower Peninsula, the Great Lakes, the Detroit D, three hearts with an arrow, deer antlers, the word LOVE or HOME with the Michigan Mitten replacing the O, the Upper Peninsula, the full map of Michigan with the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, a feather, or a cactus—or you can make a custom design! If you’re interested in signing up, be sure to reserve your seat online.
On Tuesday, January 29 at 6:30pm, Gather will be hosting a Kombuchu Brewing 101 class with instructor Marcy Duran, a seasoned kombucha brewer who’ll walk students through the process of making this healthy and delicious fermented beverage. You’ll leave with your own fresh batch already brewing! And that’s what so fun about Gather: experiencing the process of making coupled with the satisfaction in finishing something and bringing it home to share and enjoy. To learn more about Kombucha Brewing 101 and save your seat, check out the class on Gather’s website!
Also, on Saturday, February 2 at 1pm, there’s a brand-new Gather class on the calendar for making DIY letter boards. These are super fun, trendy, and both easy and cost effective to make! They’re perfect for curating short, sweet, funny little quotes (case in point: “Mo money, mo pizza”), and the 8×10 frame makes it the perfect size for decorating your office area or your bedroom or kitchen at home. Sign up online for this fun one!