Nestled within the historic Millburn Manor property, Periwinkle Art Studio is truly a hidden gem, offering classes and drop-in sessions for both budding and experienced artists alike. Reminiscent of a true artist’s retreat, the studio is housed in a renovated, rustic barn built in the early 1900’s, and is surrounded by an expansive lawn and mature trees. Inside, colorful examples of mixed-media artwork, hand-made jewelry and wind chimes constructed from repurposed items adorn the studio. The barn’s glass windows allow natural light into the workspace and make for a delightful viewing of sunsets during weeknight classes. A colorful fabric banner peppers vintage patterns beside a wall. Everything about this studio’s environment invites and inspires creativity.
Jennifer Evans opened Periwinkle Art Studio in November of 2014. “I outgrew my dining room table at home. I needed a place where I didn’t have to rush through projects before the holidays and then scramble to put everything away,” said Jennifer. Indeed, she has assembled a lovely artist’s space where she can create, teach and showcase art pieces for sale.
A mother and full-time marketing professional, Jennifer finds solace in her studio, where she conducts classes on two Thursdays or Fridays each month, and on the weekends. Classes include instruction in mixed media, pen and ink, watercolors and acrylic paint techniques. Jennifer also teaches beading and jewelry making, greeting card and gift tag workshops, stamp carving and art journaling. When classes are not scheduled, there are open studio hours during the weekend, where visitors can drop-in to make a project.
“Everybody has a creative side, but so many people are too hard on themselves, or feel that they don’t have enough experience to create art. I help people turn off their ‘inner critics’ here. It makes me happy to see people surprise themselves with what they can create,” said Jennifer.
A variety of projects are offered throughout the year. Classes are small, limited to 12 participants, and students work at their own level of proficiency. Jennifer creates alongside the students during classes, guiding and demonstrating each step of the project. If she sees that someone is struggling, she offers gentle advice to help work through any stumbling blocks. “Most art projects go through an ‘ugly stage’ before all of the individual elements come together as a finished project. Students need to be able to get through that stage with success in order to create,” said Jennifer.
But Jennifer doesn’t expect everyone to leave with the same end result. “This is not cookie-cutter artwork. Students explore both process and technique when they create art here. I provide examples, but everyone leaves with their own version of the project,” emphasized Jennifer.
Jennifer has a loyal following. Prior to opening her own studio, Jennifer taught classes at several other Lake County art studios. On the evening I attended a class, everyone else in the room was a repeat guest, including a professional artist. We completed a folk art-inspired canvas that included a collage and acrylic painting, with beautiful results. I enjoyed learning about the products and tools we used to make the project as much as I did creating the art.
One of Jennifer’s favorite projects for children is a “best friend brag.” Kids choose a word that reflects a positive characteristic about a friend and use that word as the cornerstone to create a decorative art canvas. “I love that this project encourages self-esteem and creativity, especially in young girls,” said Jennifer.
Periwinkle Art Studio is a perfect place to gather for a mom’s night out, an art-themed party or simply a time for your family to reconnect through art. It is also a great venue to spend one-on-one time with your children or indulge your own creative spirit in an unplugged, soothing environment. My finished art canvas is proudly displayed in my foyer. I am really looking forward to seeing what new projects Jennifer will be offering at Periwinkle Art Studio in the months to come.
Editor’s Note: On June 10th and July 8th, two adult classes will be featured at the Lake Villa District Library. Through Periwinkle Studio @ The Library, participants can create an art quilt using Gelli prints or try their hand at sketching and painting in the style of Georgia O’Keefe. Registration details can be found on the library’s website.
Disclosure: I received one free class for the purpose of providing readers with firsthand information about Periwinkle Studio. All thoughts and opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.