Best Home Arts Classes

Where to brush up on new tricks and trades.


Photo by George Baker Jr.

You learn something new every day — or at least, that’s how the saying goes. It’s becoming easier than ever to follow that mantra and improve your tricks and trades. Residents of The Town are seeing a booming trend, with local shops going beyond their staple shopping experiences to offer workshops and classes teaching customers new skills.

Take the Oaktown Spice Shop which now — in addition to selling its beloved freshly ground spices and spice blends — also holds a rotating classes on topics from brewing kombucha at home to infusing your own oil and vinegars. To continue improving your culinary dexterity, head over the Institute of Urban Homesteading, which offers a wide range of classes that teach “the art of living sustainably” in a city environment, including backyard mushroom cultivation, fruit tree pruning, and planting an urban orchard.

Preserved is a kitchen shop that offers weekly workshops focused on — you guessed it — preserving and making your own foods, with courses like the basics of picking and canning, the art of marmalade, and making homemade vinegar from leftover wine, beer, or fruit scraps.

Or, expand from the kitchen to learn how to refurbish furniture at the Artistic Home Studio and Boutique in Alameda. While the shop offers canvas wall art and sign painting, one popular option is the Trash to Treasure course, in which attendees bring in a beautiful, old piece of furniture and give it new life with the assistance of professionals. That way, they learn a new skill and take home a new furniture item, too.

For more beautiful objects to bring into your home, sign up for a course at the Lower 48 Woodshop, a nonprofit woodshop featuring classes on subjects, from an introduction to bowl turning to the fundamentals of woodturning, where you’ll take home your own handmade bowl.

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