Theme Idea 3: The Maternity Girl's Guide to Urban Artistas

This shower is the art of the party. Create an occasion that inspires creativity with bracelet-making by day and gallery-hopping by night.

Art galleries present interesting and eclectic collections of local, national, and international art, which can range from paintings to sculptures to jewelry to woodworking and ceramics. Many locales with a preponderance of galleries coordinate gallery-hopping events one night a week. Guests can take a glass of wine or Perrier and meander through the exhibits.

If your area has an active artist colony or society, you can visit the creative stomping grounds during an Open Studios Tour. These events give the public a chance to see the art being created and even to purchase a piece or two.

As an alternative to the gallery-hopping shower, you can stage your own open studio or take an art class through a college, recreation department, or retail store. A project that is exciting and easy, regardless of the guests’ skill levels, is bracelet-making. In a few hours, friends will leave with wearable art.

Alert

Art projects can be a joy if you are confident and inspired artistically, but they are daunting and intimidating to those among us who prefer other creative outlets. When choosing a project for a group, bring pictures and ideas that the creatively challenged can copy or imitate. It will take the fear out of the process and let the fun in.

The Perfect Game or Activity

There are many options to choose from when selecting the type of art project or class you want to stage. Check out course catalogs and local newspapers for information about upcoming classes.

The ceramics lounge can now be found in cities large and small. A reservation, some wine and cheese, and a bottle of sparkling blackberry soda are all you need to spell success. Each person can make something for Mom or baby or can keep the finished work for themselves and bring a gift instead.

Jewelry-making supplies and tools can be found at craft stores, and this activity is a terrific way to spend an afternoon with friends. One project that can be handled at any skill level is putting together a Slinky-style bracelet — the kind that involve stringing beads onto a multi-coiled wire that looks like the original Slinky. Directions for these bracelets are available where you purchase the supplies. There are also jewelry project kits available.

How to Set Up a Bracelet-Making Party

  1. Setup stations. Each guest will need a flat surface as big as a TV tray to set up their work station. Each station should have a piece of light-colored felt (8" × 10") to work on, which keeps the beads from rolling off the table.

  2. Have the right tools and supplies. Jewelry supply and craft stores sell specific pliers for twisting and clamping wires. Have one set of tools (consisting of long-nose pliers, a wire cutter, and a crimper) for every four people. You will also need 22-gauge coiled memory wire for bracelets. Each bracelet will need about 20 inches, which is about five coils. Multiply this times the number of guests.

  3. Shop for beads and baubles. Beads come in vials or in larger bags. Each bracelet will need at least a vial’s worth of beads to complete. You should plan on having at lest ten colors of 2mm beads (glass is prettier than plastic, but it is more expensive), and five to seven signature baubles per bracelet. Also get metal charms, initials, symbols, or sparkles to add personality to these creations. Put beads and baubles in a clean muffin tin or ice-cube tray to sort, separate, and disperse to the group.

  4. Precut bracelet wire. Allow seven to ten loops for each bracelet. Have them cut before the guests arrive.

  5. Embrace all designs. There is no wrong way to make these fun and funky embellishments. Beads can be placed with precision and pattern or at random—both will produce a beautiful result.

Gifts That Work with This Theme

For this shower, have each guest bring a silver charm for a bracelet for the mom. It could be a girlfriend memory, a baby-related icon, or an engraved disk with a date, saying, or baby’s name. Have each friend present the charm to Mom and explain the story behind it. Attach charms yourself or arrange to have a jeweler do it.

Another great gift idea is a wall-mounted frame that actually opens like a cabinet—making storing and changing pictures a snap.

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