In the past 18 months, many have adopted a new profession such as painting or collage to pass the time. But with a dedicated space for home work and kids underfoot, where can you make that happen? What if you needed supplies or inspiration?
A business you’ve long dreamed of in Greenwood is here for you. Dabble, opened by Dave Wheeler (he calls himself the “owner-concierge”), opened in July. It has 12 workstations, each with a height adjustable and tilting desk and independent lighting for each workstation. There are partitions that can be raised or lowered if someone wants privacy or to create with a small group. There are also two freestanding printing presses in the space and a separate area for spray painting.
Wheeler, a freelance illustrator whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, encourages people to bring in existing projects. But he also has a bunch of ideas people can use, still life items they can borrow, and lights and cameras to photograph the finished job. He has supplies available to borrow, like compasses, rulers, and noise-canceling headphones to rent. There are papers and paints that users can purchase from reused vending machines and newspaper stands. A few doors down is Seattle Recreative, a store that sells used art supplies.
He intends to regularly organize live model designs (not nudes, but people in costumes provided by themselves or by Dabble). He is actively looking for role models for these projects – they will get paid and come up with new support every month.
“I would love to have a Jackson Pollock party where we just lay the canvas on the floor and let everyone start splashing,” he said. “The studio is designed for walk-in use, as opposed to reservations.”
“I want to lower the barrier to creation,” he said. It costs $ 10 an hour per person and $ 20 an hour for two or more people from the same household.
“It’s not a non-profit organization, but neither is it a get-rich-quick scheme,” he said. “I have minimum expectations. I mean, sales tax has been a learning experience for me.”
Wheeler, who just published a hardcover book titled “New House” in February, said the store has been a dream for over 15 years, and is finally ready to open in early 2021 when the winter outbreak of COVID was reaching its peak.
Currently, he’s asking people to hide inside the business, and the bulkheads can be installed permanently if the county health department recommends it.
“And if we have to close, we’ll close. It’s people’s health,” Wheeler said. So far, things are going well.
“Greenwood has turned out to be a great area for this because there is a lot of foot traffic. During the summer there were kids who came,” he said. “They seem really happy to get lost in the job. Adults can be more tense. But really, the process is great even if you don’t like the results.”
Clients who are unsure of their work need not worry about sarcastic comments: there is a firm rule not to comment on other people’s work unless specifically requested. The fear of not being good enough is one of the things that can keep people from being creative, Wheeler said.
“It can be therapeutic to do something.”
Dabble is open Wednesday through Saturday and can be hired on other days for artists to teach or for other group events. A monthly calendar is available on the Dabble site.