BY JACLYN ROSE –
A chameleon is a brightly colored animal with the ability to change its color to fit its surroundings, this is the inspiration the animal loving, Shana Bush used when naming her new craft shop. “My vision was a place that allowed people to be creative without it being scary. I enjoy many different types of crafts and I wanted a place that would allow people to come in and pursue different types of art, to be able to change, just like a chameleon.”
Joel and Shana Bush married three years ago and when Shana completed her degree at RMCC, where Joel is employed as the Chair of the Technology Department, she planned to accept a scholarship at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and pursue a degree in Graphic Design, but at the insistence of her husband, instead decided to open her own shop. “Shana wanted to open a boutique or a shop of her own and when she started researching paint your own pottery I encouraged her to follow her passion, and here we are.”
Together the couple purchased the building at 623 Mena Street and worked tirelessly to renovate it. Joel explained that much of the work they put into the building was done by them, “We hung sheet rock and removed walls and we created the light fixtures and the chandelier. All of this was my wife’s vision. We are exhausted but very excited.” The result is a unique, industrial style studio where customers can select an item of bisque wear and visit the paint bar, which houses many various paint brushes and colorful glazes that are non toxic, lead free and food safe, they can then paint and personalize their individual piece. The Bush’s will then take the piece and add a coat of clear glaze and fire the pottery in their kiln. The customer ends up with a special and unique piece of pottery created by them.
Chameleon Arts facilitates parties as well; with packages beginning at $50, for parties of 5 or less. Shana explained that their large studio can house parties from as few as two or three on up. “We’ve already had several parties, from a few children and adults on up to large community groups.” Party goers can each select and paint their own piece. The Bush’s are also willing to ship the completed items to individuals not located in Polk County.
Chameleon Arts also plans to host unique screen printing parties. Ball teams, community groups, businesses, groups of friends, or individuals can create a design with the assistance of the Bush’s and then screen print their design on their own shirt or selected item. The possibilities with this medium are endless. Shana also enjoys making unique pieces of bead jewelry and Chameleon Arts plans to have jewelry making classes, as well as crocheting and knitting classes, beginning the first of 2014.
In addition to the fun crafts that individuals and parties can create at Chameleon Arts, their handmade and beautiful window displays house 100% wool yarn, “we had customers tell us that there was no wool yarn to purchase in Mena so we found wool yarn, we also have wool blends and individual crochet hooks. We want to help meet the creative needs of our customers. Also, every handmade item we have for sale, which includes beautiful bags, fun hats for babies, and scarves, were made by people in Arkansas. We are doing our best to keep it local,” explained Joel. The store will also sell Annie Sloan paint, a quality chalk paint used to refinish furniture, cabinets and other wood pieces, this is a product many crafters are thrilled to have the ability to purchase locally.
Chameleon Arts is open from 10 am to 8 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and 2 pm to 6 pm on Sunday. They are closed on Monday. Shana explained, “We believe that creativity is a gift, it can actually be an experience. We hope to help people that come into our studio experience and develop that gift.”