Whimsical Creations

Arts / December 15, 2016

Let your creativity flow in a fun way

Whether you’re artistically inclined or have never picked up a paintbrush in your life, one step through the door at Whimsical Creations Art Studio in Hot Springs Village is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Upon walking through the front door, the relaxing and whimsical (hence the studio’s name) atmosphere engulfs its visitors as they take in the 400-plus pieces of art that adorn the walls. The resident door greeter, aka Dora the rescue dog, will most likely meet you at the door with a toy and a wagging tail, followed by the warm, smiling faces of Joyce and Cliff Koon, the studio owners.

Joyce and Cliff moved to Hot Springs Village from Fort Worth, Texas, three years ago to “get away from the hustle and bustle” and enjoy retirement. Cliff immediately discovered the golfing and fishing that Hot Springs Village has to offer, but Joyce had a harder time finding activities to occupy her free time and

Cliff and Joyce Koon

Cliff and Joyce Koon and Dora

she became bored.

“I started just kind of feeling like I was dying on the vine,” Joyce said. “There’s nothing to do around here. Nothing. Cliff said, ‘What would you like to do?’ and I’ve always been a crafter but I have never owned a business like this. I said I’d love to go forward with opening a studio. Everybody has been so open and nice about it because they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, finally something to do here,’ so that’s kind of how it was born — out of boredom.”

They opened the doors on June 6 of this year and the community has welcomed them with open arms.

A large selection of base pieces made of materials such as wood, glass and tin are available to choose from. The wood pieces are the most popular and come in all different shapes including letters, gingerbread men, mermaids, golf carts, fish, Mason jars and deer. The possibilities are almost endless because Cliff uses his own high-tech laser to cut out the shapes himself, so if you’re looking for a certain piece and can’t find it, chances are he can make it for you. Once you choose the piece you want, you put on an apron and choose your paint, stencils and as many embellishments as you desire. Dig through flowers, buttons, bows — you name it, Joyce probably has it. Then, you sit down at your station and get to work.

Each piece takes around an hour and a half to two hours to complete and prices range from $15-30. The prices for each piece include the use of the studio and all materials.

“It’s amazing, you’ll see people come in and they’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t even know where to start,’ or, ‘I’m not creative, I can’t do this,’ and by the time they leave, they leave with a work of art,” Cliff said. “The kids are fearless though. They come in and just dive right in, and the stuff they come up with is just astounding.”

The studio’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome, but groups of 10 or more must call ahead and reserve the studio for no extra fee.

“I love to see people have a good time. I love children. We love people, and I just enjoy every minute of it because people come in and, a lot of times, like I said, they’re scared, they’re intimidated, and then to get to see people feel so good WHIMSICAL CREATIONS ART STUDIOabout themselves when they finish, it is incredible to see it,” Joyce said. “It’s just my cup of tea. Cliff allowed me to do it and I always say that it has kind of saved my life here. I’m a huge gardener but that only goes so far. Cliff said whatever the cost of it is wouldn’t be as much as me out in the stores with credit cards, so he says he’s still coming out ahead.”

Whimsical Creations will be moving to a new, bigger location in March, only a couple of blocks down the road from its current location at 3822 Highway 7 north, Suite 3, in Hot Springs Village.

Joyce said after the move she plans to start opening the studio on Mondays and will also begin offering children’s art lessons during summertime next year.

“A lot of the parents have asked for that. Just the basics of learning the beginnings of art. Learning how to hold the brushes right, learning how to do the brush strokes, learning how to mix colors, because it really does help to teach them early and young,” Joyce said.

The studio is perfect for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, wedding and baby showers, girls’ night out, anniversaries, churches, school fundraisers, reunions and more. A refrigerator and microwave is available, so guests can bring in their own cakes or food and refreshments. Alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Call Joyce at 501-541-6121 or email joycekoon13@gmail.com for more information or to reserve the studio.

Photos by Richard Rasmussen

Lindsey Wells

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December 15, 2016