In June 2001 an F3 tornado changed Siren, Wisconsin taking many trees and buildings in its destructive wake. But it changed Siren for the better. The new buildings downtown sport a log cabin look, and the former Lilac Capitol brand is gone. New businesses are popping up in town and beyond, and they've even changed their town's description. Now it's more upbeat; "Siren, Your Destination for Year-Round Fun!"
Erika Nojd Swanson is part of the new Siren with her studio dedicated to crafts, painting and art classes for kids and adults.
Her innovative workshop is north of town on State Road 35/70, and she shares the area location with several other shops that are gaining in popularity; Barndance & Co., selling updated antiques and handcrafted barn wood furniture, Ruby's Second Hand Store, and Siren Antiques. This grouping of smart business' has become its own strip mall in a way, each business offering their unique take on commerce.
The name Jellybeana came from Erika's father, Gordon, an artist in his own right, who, for some reason, used it as her nickname when she was little.
A Spooner High School graduate, Erika chose to pursue a business degree in college, despite the artistic ability she demonstrated from little on.
Married in 2007, she took a watercolor class through Community Education the following year, and the artist in her was renewed. A trip to the art supply store in Hayward, Wisconsin gave her the idea of starting a similar store where they lived near Siren.
Common sense took hold when she realized that with the popularity of the internet, she wouldn't be able to carry enough varieties of art supplies to suit each current trend, so instead, she decided to teach.
She was already employed part-time at Nouveau Salon & Spa and previously at Chuck’s Garage & Marine as office manager, so her time was somewhat limited that she could devote to her own pursuits.
Spring of 2017 a new idea bloomed for a store that people could come do crafts and art classes. That June she moved into her current location. One side is dedicated to crafts, and the other side is for classes and parties. One of the walls on the class side has finished projects from previous classes, and if enough interest is shown in one of the former projects, she'll consider teaching the class again.
On the craft side of the building, she has current craft projects displayed and a section for sale along with crafts that can be taken home or to the cabin.
Her business plan is pretty basic; she posts current information on her website and Facebook regarding Open Paint times and Classes, which includes posting photos of the current class projects.
An example is the Paint and Decorate a Pumpkin for kids that will be held on Saturday, October 6 at 10:30a. There is also an upcoming class for adults on Wednesday, September 5 at 5:30p where she will demonstrate how to paint a 12 inch by 4 foot Fall/Winter Sign that is duel purposed with a fall motif on one side and Christmas or Thanksgiving on the other.
Currently, she's open for crafts on Friday's from 10a until 3p and Saturdays from 10a until 1p. She loves to do kid's birthday parties and private parties.
During the summer her shop is open more often due to the volume of tourists or summer residents who like to come in with their kids and grandkids over age four, and they all do crafts. Each craft project taking anywhere from one-half hour to an hour. Adult classes are Wednesday's at 5:30 and Thursday's at 1:00pm & 5:30pm and Kid's classes are generally once a month. Craft projects you can come in during the Craft Hours without registering. Adult & Kid's classes registration is required because seating is limited.
With cold weather on the way sooner than most of us would like, it might be a good idea to include Jellybeana's in your fall and winter schedule for something to do besides raking leaves or shoveling snow. Plus you'll have something to hang on your wall that was handcrafted by you.
For more information: Jellybeanascraftpaint.com, Facebook, Instagram or call 715-349-5169
About the Author
Diane is a features writer for DrydenWire.com. She started her fifteen-year career as a features writer for the Washburn County Register and has written for assorted newspapers and national magazines. She has also just released the third novel in her Chicago series of books – Scott Free in Chinatown. You can visit Diane's website at www.dianedryden.com or her facebook page at facebook.com/authordianedryden.