I’d like to take just a minute to brag on one of my clients. Charity Alva moved to Sisters a couple of years ago after living in Germany for over 20 years (her husband, John, was stationed there with the Department of Defense). Their goal was to find the ideal locale to retire.
That was the plan, anyway…
Now, Charity is perhaps the most creative person I know. Her European-influenced home is filled with paintings and mixed-media creations (homemade books and journals, wall hangings) of her design. And although she loves all that Sisters has to offer its artists (that’s one reason they moved there), she noticed there wasn’t any real support geared toward the crafting community.
Enter Alpenhimmel Creative Arts Emporium, Charity’s new business venture, which combines a crafts-supply store with a fully outfitted crafts classroom that folks can also rent as studio space. Charity’s goal is to create a gathering place (“Alpenhimmel” is German for “Alpine heaven”) where folks who enjoy crafting can share ideas, learn/fine-tune a variety of different crafts and find everything they need to complete whatever project they’re working on.
In other words, it seems perfectly suited to a creative town like Sisters.
Although Alpenhimmel has only been open a few weeks, Charity has a number of classes already on the fall schedule (in time, she says she’d like to have a number of different instructors leading four to five classes per week). In October, the offerings range from “Creating a Souvenir Photo Accordion” to “Beginning Pine Needle Basketry,” “Designing and Carving Your Own Rubber Stamps” and “Exploring Cyanotype Printing.” In other words, not your average fare.
The classes are reasonably priced (most three-hour classes are $35), especially considering that she supplies all the supplies (“People who aren’t necessarily crafty shouldn’t be expected to show up with everything on hand,” she says; “all you have to invest here is the fee for the class and your time”).
When no classes or workshops are being held, the classroom space, which seats 12, can be rented for open studio time for $3 per hour — that includes access to the studio tools and equipment. There’s even a frequent-crafter’s pass ($25 buys you 15 hours of studio time).
In the store, Charity stocks everything from marker sets, oil pastels, acrylics, watercolor crayons, brushes, and calligraphy pens and inks to canvases, wood panels and watercolor pads, carving blocks, oven-bake clay, paracord, bookbinding tools and decorative papers. She focused on filling the space with products by manufacturers not already represented in the area.
One thing the ever-humble Charity neglected to mention when I first toured the emporium: She also sells beautiful handmade mixed-media greeting cards that she creates (I spotted them perched unobtrusively in a back corner of the store).
Details: Alpenhimmel Creative Arts Emporium, 392 W. Main Ave., Sisters. 541-588-0931. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday noon-6 p.m; Tuesday by appointment. The class schedule is available at the Alpenhimmel website.
Here are a few more photos of Alpenhimmel:
About the Author
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and Redmond.