Hoisting a hunk of moist clay above her small frame, Keren Brown instructs a group of squirming elementary-aged kids in the art of bowl making. "Use your thumbs to press a hole in the center," she says while dozens of tiny hands feverishly prod at misshapen mounds of grey. At their recently opened Nampa yarn and craft store, Puffy Mondaes, Keren and her husband Aaron teach a variety of all-ages classes.
"We wanted to do an art center for a long time, and the opportunity came to buy a little yarn store from a friend of ours, so we started expanding it as soon as we got it to include all fiber arts," says Aaron. "Now we're going to all kinds of arts, primarily practical arts—pottery, fiber, recycled glass tile, cloth diapers."
But despite the cutesy name, Puffy Mondaes isn't all neon puff paints and multi-colored pom poms. Almost everything in the store is a combination of sustainable, handmade, fair trade or local. A selection of raw fibers—like bamboo, corn, local wool or even hair from the Brown's own long-haired rabbits—wait to be spun on one of the shop's natural wood spinners' wheels. The shop also has a collection of soft organic yarns, fair trade jewelry and even shredded, recycled Indian saris that can also be spun into yarn.
"It's all based on the premise that people need to do things with their hands, they need to make things themselves and not just be consumers," explains Aaron. "Everything we do here is to teach people how to do it and give people the supplies that they need."
Back at the pottery lesson, as the kids—four of whom belong to the Browns—meticulously smooth down the clay's lumpy edges, Keren explains over the chattering chaos that the store offers the same class both in the morning and the evening so more crafters can make it out. This Thursday, April 30, from 10 to noon and 7 to 9 p.m., Keren will teach a class where students will create a 100 percent recycled, mosaiced stepping stone. And if you're out in Nampa for the Superheroes/Supervillains fashion show, stop in to Puffy Mondaes for 20 percent off all farmers market bags, or if you already have a market bag, get 20 percent off your total purchase.
200 12th Ave South, Nampa. For more information on upcoming classes, visit puffymondaes.com or call 208-407-3359.