Friday, May 18, 2012

Things to do this summer

I have been contacted a lot recently about what kinds of things we have available to do this summer at Creative Genius. It got me thinking that we actually have quite a lot going on here and perhaps it would help to consolidate the key highlights all in one place.

For Children:
As we have for the past 8 summer seasons, we will be running our Summer Day Camp offerings in our studio. 
Day camp offerings include different activities each week and sign up is per week. Offerings include Digital Photography, Pottery, Mix It Up Camp (2 different weeks offered), Upcycling Camp, Painting and Drawing Camp and Clay Camp for Little Ones. For information about any of our camp offerings, visit Creative Genius Summer Camps

In addition to camps, our regular Pottery Classes (Thursdays) and Childrens Painting and Drawing Classes (Wednesdays) are available throughout the summer.  

Lastly for children, there are workshops scheduled that cater specifically to kids or that kids can take with adults. 

For Teens:
We considered doing Teen Camps but weren't quite sure how much interest level there would be. That being said, we have regular weekly offerings that are perfect for Teens. 
Teen Painting and Drawing is a favorite here at Creative Genius (Wednesdays from 4-6pm). Also a favorite is Pottery Class (two offerings Thursdays). Another option is 1x1 Digital Photography Classes (by appointment on Tuesday afternoons).  Plenty of interesting things for Teens to do on a weekly basis. We also have a few workshops that Teens can participate in as well. 
For additional information: visit The Art Studio at Creative Genius 

For Adults:
Weekly Classes in Painting and Drawing (Weds), Pottery (Thursdays), Digital Photography (1x1 by appt on Tuesdays) and  Jewelry Metalsmithing (Tuesdays) are available throughout the summer.

We've also got some great workshops happening including Flower Arranging Purse Workshop (June), Bottle Slumping Cheese Plate Workshops (scheduled for your group of 4 or more by appointment), and a great Mosaic Workshop (Sept). 
We often do open houses for our customers too...
To see more about what's coming up visit Upcoming events

Registration is required to join us for any of our activities. Call us at 609-714-1131 to register or have any questions answered. 

We hope to help you and your kids keep busy and learn something new this summer at Creative Genius...what better place to explore YOUR inner creative genius?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting Good at Buying Gifts

It is hard to believe that I have been helping people purchase special gifts for people they care about for almost nine years at Creative Genius Art Gallery and Studio. It seems like yesterday that someone asked me for help for the first time and I was frozen, unsure of how to help them connect with the perfect present.

Today, I am far more confident and very experienced at connecting people with a gift that not only works but earns them high praise from recipients for their great choices. There is no real secret to gift buying but it is amazing how many people really struggle with finding something that works. After thinking about it, I decided it might be helpful for women (and men!) to have a handy list of tips that I use to help make gift buying easy, painless and kind of fun for my clients.

1. Know your budget
It always helps to have a starting point or a range that you want to stick to spending. This helps anyone assisting you to narrow down your choices. If you are open to going slightly out of budget that is great but definitely have a range in mind to start off your gift buying adventure.

2. Describe your gift recipient with key words
The first question I always ask my gift buyer is to describe who they are buying a gift for with three words. Are they artsy, creative, unusual? Conservative, classic and elegant? If someone is elegant, I am not showing that funky, large outrageously creative necklace right off the bat because it might not be the best fit. By the same token, a small classic pearl necklace isn't a good fit for a funky creative type either. Having a description helps connect the person helping you with your recipient.

3. Know his/her hobbies
Knowing a person's hobbies can actually help narrow down decisions. This is kind of like the key word description (see #2). Is your recipient a red hatter? Is she an artist? does she like to cook or entertain? Does he play golf? Enjoy wine? Take pride in the custom bar in his home? All these items can help connect you to the perfect gift or at the very least, great options.

4. Know sizes, colors, personal preferences
If you know that the person you are buying for hates silver jewelry, or loves bracelets or doesn't have her ears pierced, certainly it helps eliminate wasting time on items that don't work. By the same token, knowing that someone has a large wrist or dislikes pottery on principle is helpful too. Knowing a person's favorite colors just adds to this.

5. Imagine the gift recipient's home environment
Do they like contemporary items? Prefer country style decor? It helps the person assisting you to learn about the person and be able to guide you accordingly. I certainly wouldn't show someone in a country style house a contemporary item unless I was asked about it. Although there are exceptions, generally a home is a reflection of a person's personality and can be a helpful clue in the gift buying process.

6. Does your recipient prefer function over decoration? 
I always ask if the person entertains because then I can guide the buyer towards items that will help the person entertain with nice functional pieces. Plus a person who entertains needs things like cheese plates, wine racks, etc. This helps open up many unique possibilities that a buyer may not have considered.

7. Don't be afraid to get adventurous
Most people appreciate receiving gifts that aren't something they might buy for themselves but are still unique, interesting or useful. Yes, there are instances when you need something specific but isn't it fun to get surprised once in a while and receive something unique that you never thought about? I think so and I encourage this to the gift buyers in my gallery. Because the gallery is filled with hand-made American art and creations, there is always something unique. The person you are buying for might never have considered what you choose but will appreciate and love it nonetheless.

Those are just a few of the many helpful tips that can make your gift buying journey easier.
And of course, don't forget the gift Creative Genius, gift wrapping is always free!

Julie Basello-Holt is the owner/operator of Creative Genius Art Gallery and Studio, located at 32 North Main Street in Medford, NJ. 609-714-1131