CraftSanity Podcast 144: A conversation with artist Kelly Allen

IMG_1071459If you crave more art and craft supplies or have a few extras (ahem) stashed in your basement, you need to meet Kelly Allen.

Kelly Allen's collage paintings are available for purchase through LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

Kelly Allen’s collage paintings are available for purchase through LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

A fine art painter with a soft spot for crafting, Kelly, 35, just opened the Wisemaker Creative Reuse Store and Studio at The Geek Group, the maker space at 902 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids. Part craft supply thrift shop, part drop-in studio, Wisemaker is a place where local creatives can go to take workshops, use the studio space and buy unique reclaimed supplies donated by local businesses and individuals.

“We are basically like an arts and crafts thrift store,” Kelly said about the shop that opened Sept. 23. “Bring us your old arts and craft supplies that you don’t want anymore because we want to make them available for people who do want to use them at a very low price… We want to make creativity accessible for everyone and promote reuse.”

Kelly is collecting paper, magazines, wallpaper samples, scrapbooking supplies, fabric, sewing notions, yarn, embroidery hoops and floss, knitting needles, crochet hooks, rotary cutters, jewelry supplies and just about all other clean and usable art and craft supplies. Those interested in making a donation are asked to email before dropping items off to make sure the donation is appropriate for Wisemaker. The bonus is that all donations are tax deductible.

In addition to running Wisemaker, Kelly is the director of the new arts and crafts department at The Geek Group, expanding the science and technology offerings inside the former YMCA building to include a welcoming space for artists and crafters.

“We want to make creativity accessible,” Kelly said.

Read more about Kelly, Wisemaker and Geek Group in my complete column posted here.

Wisemaker workshops are $20 per person, with guests encouraged to bring a friend for $10. Studio time to use the Wisemaker serger, embroidery and sewing machines and other tools is $5 per hour or $10 for the day. Supply fees may apply depending on the project.


Wisemaker Creative Reuse Store and Studio of The Geek Group

Where: 902 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids
When: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sat.
Featuring: Reclaimed art and craft supplies and drop-off site for unwanted, usable art and craft supplies.
More info.: or call 466-4335. Check out her fine art website here. Her paintings are available locally at LaFontsee Galleries, 833 Lake Dr. SE in Grand Rapids.

Listen to Kelly tell her story on CraftSanity episode 144 below.

acshomeandwork-300x124Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

IMG_2498Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

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