Crafting and caffeine

Finding local gems at Artisans Galleria; Chico Dutch Bros. support high school sports

There was a time, several years ago, when I was particularly crafty. I made scrapbooks, I sewed, I learned to fuze glass and I screen-printed my own T-shirts. It was a lot of fun, but that creative itch, I fear, has been scratched. That said, I have a particular affinity—and appreciation—for handmade things. So, I love discovering new local creators and creator spaces. This week I found Artisans Galleria—what a gem!

I stepped inside the Mangrove Avenue shop (next door to O’Reilly Auto Parts) and was immediately greeted by owner Carol O’Donnell. “Is this your first time in?” she asked from one corner of a large room filled with beads, pendants and other jewelry-making supplies. She explained that beyond the crafting room were displays for a dozen or so local sellers. Intrigued, I made my way through the quaint, comfortable space to peruse the various goodies.

Artisans Galleria is chock-full of some seriously cool stuff. Some of it I’ve seen elsewhere—Chico Soap Co., for example—but others were new finds for me. Some of my favorites: the art glass clocks and cheeseboard-knife sets from WindRock Creations, a husband-wife venture run by Barry and Cyndi Duensing; the gorgeous stone beadwork (especially the turquoise!) of Boho Beads, by Susy Meyer; the festively hand-painted wine glasses by AB Glass Designs; and the beautifully decorated gourds of all sizes by Janis Martinez.

I chatted a bit with O’Donnell after my lap around the store. The jewelry sells best, she said, and some of it is handmade while others are vintage. I really liked the pieces made by GlAmmo Banging Jewelry, which incorporates spent bullet casings and other used hardware—loved the keyholes!—into some very cool pendants and earrings.

The weekend classes are very popular, O’Donnell says, and they cover everything from jewelry and beads to soaps and gourd art—you can guess that last one is taught by the aforementioned Martinez. For more info on the shop and upcoming classes, go to or find it on Facebook.

Sports buzz I love hearing about businesses giving back to the community. And it’s a nice reminder when that philanthropy comes from a national company that many of our chain stores are, in fact, locally owned. So, this Friday (April 29), I encourage all you coffee drinkers out there to head over to a local Dutch Bros. for your morning buzz. That day, Dan and Michal Richardson, who own the three Chico locations, will be donating $1 of every drink sold to local high school sports booster clubs. Sales from the Esplanade location will go to Chico High, the Cohasset Road shop will donate to Pleasant Valley and the Park Avenue stand will be giving to Durham High.