I have always enjoyed creative projects and art, but in my adult life have found it to be a great way to relieve stress. No matter how busy my life gets, I make it a priority to have a couple hours every week to use my creative side. And I have found some great classes and resources all around Bellingham to help you in your quest to get art-y, express yourself and alleviate some of the stress in your life.

For me, putting my energy towards something creative allows me to take a break from endless to-do lists and regular daily life stress, and I usually end up with a finished product that is useful. If I only have a few minutes then I can make a couple notes to include in my daughter’s lunchbox at school or practice my cursive handwriting. When I have a larger chunk of time, I like to take painting classes or work on refinishing furniture pieces. I even managed to build a king size bed frame last summer with a little planning and a lot of help.

To really use creativity as an outlet for relieving stress, scientific studies show it helps to dive into the creative task. If you clear your mind and focus on what you are doing, stressful feelings will subside and your ability to be creative will increase. Want to give it a try?

My daughter and niece enjoy painting ceramic pieces with me at Creativitiea in Fairhaven. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

Creativitea

My daughter and I love to go to Creativitea in Fairhaven together to work on painting projects. You can select a ceramic piece from their wide selection, paint it, then hand it off to be glazed and fired in their kiln. You have a finished piece of art in about a week. The employees are all very skilled and can help you learn new painting techniques or use supplies that may be new to you. I really like that they have samples to inspire new ideas, because sometimes my creativity needs a jumpstart. If painting is not your cup of tea (they also serve tea!) they offer DIY fused glass projects. In fact, I had my baby shower at Creativitea and each guest made a fused glass “planet” that I hung in my son’s room.

Making and refinishing furniture has been the most useful way for me to spend my creative time. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

Hardware Sales

You may be thinking that Hardware Sales doesn’t belong on this list, but I find that refinishing furniture pieces is one of the most useful ways to spend my creative time. These endeavors are more physically involved but still satisfy my creative side by altering and painting each unique piece. The finished project also brings me a sense of pride because its serves a purpose in my home every day. The employees at Hardware Sales are a great resource. They have always been helpful in answering my questions, even when trying to find a single replacement screw or really not knowing what I am looking for. And I look forward to the day when I have a need to rent a power tool from their seemingly endless list of supplies.

Stampadoodle & The Paper Cafe

I enjoy using stamps, inks and markers to make lunchbox notes and cards to send in the mail. I get to relieve some stress and the recipient gets a happy piece of mail. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

You have probably passed Stampadoodle while driving down State Street. They offer a huge selection of rubber stamps and ink, scrapbook papers, paint, pens and stencils – everything you would need for a paper crafting project. I like to stamp and paint in a daily journal and make handmade cards to send in the mail. This store is one of my favorite places to shop in Bellingham but I have not had a chance to take one of their classes yet. The owners are so knowledgeable and kind, always willing to help out with questions.

Uptown Art makes it easy to be creative by having everything you need, including aprons and step-by-step instructions, to finish a painting you can hang on your wall. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

Uptown Art

If you enjoy painting on a canvas or want to try it for the first time, Uptown Art makes it really easy. They offer classes that you choose based on the finished painting and have a good selection of food and drinks for purchase. When you show up for class everything is setup for you and the instructor goes step-by-step to teach you everything you need to know. I have done two painting classes at Uptown art, learning how to blend colors and master different paint strokes. This is especially fun if you bring a friend because it is interesting to see how different each painting turns out.

Vinostrology

I keep seeing an event pop up on my Facebook for a coloring night at Vinostrology. They provide the coloring books and supplies and you can enjoy a glass of wine. I am going to make a date to go to the next coloring night because it sounds like the perfect night out for me. Vinostrology offers wine and other beverages along with a menu that is perfect for snacking.

Doing a painting class with friends and family means you can relieve stress together. My mom and cousin joined me for this class at Uptown Art. Photo credit: Cassandra Darwin.

The Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System are also an amazing resource for free classes that range from cooking and sewing to painting and print making – lots of opportunities to get creative.

With so many great opportunities to get creative – jump in and get started today. You’ll have fun, de-stress and your future self will thank you!

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