Husband-and-wife duo Jonathan Fessler and Delanie Holton-Fessler are in the business of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty, and now they have more than enough elbow room to do their work. The founders of The Craftsman & Apprentice, named Best Place to Learn Your Craft in the Best of Denver 2016, launched a Kickstarter campaign back in December to help cover the cost of an expansion — and today, April 19, the crafty couple will get the keys to their new space.
According to Holton-Fessler, she and her husband learned back in October that one of the storefronts in the City Park West strip that houses their business would become available; it was located just two doors down from their 700-foot location. By taking the empty spot and then switching spaces with Unity Community Acupuncture — which was occupying the middle storefront — the Craftsman & Apprentice was able to gain a basement for tool storage, freeing up the top floors for workshops, a gallery to showcase the work of teachers, and a retail space, which is a new concept for the makers. To make more room for the retail space, Holton-Fessler and her husband will knock down the wall between the adjoining stores, creating one large and open studio.
“When we built the original Craftsman &Apprentice in 2014, it was just a sort of hangout space that turned into a workshop,” Holton-Fessler says, noting that the additional square footage allows for a “totally dedicated hangout space.”
The Craftsman &Apprentice’s renovated home comes equipped with a large workshop room and a kitchenette, which Holton-Fessler says will be a highlight for big groups and private parties hosting events. Prior to the expansion, the craft-making space could only accommodate up to fifteen children for family-friendly or school activities, and maxed out at twelve for adult activities. With the additional storefront, she notes, the Craftsman & Apprentice will be able to host full-sized field trip classes; the average adult workshop will hold between sixteen and twenty students.
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The Kickstarter had a goal of $15,000 and was quickly backed by more than 130 people who helped raised the take to nearly $15,500. While Holton-Fessler and her husband used the first contributions to redesign their website and award scholarships to children for their summer camp, they wasted no time in beginning the moving process. “Even though we’ve been expanding, it’s been really fluid, and we didn’t lose any time,” she says. “The transfer of activities has been really seamless, and it’s turned out nicer than we expected.”
Now she and her husband are planning additional programming and searching for new workshop teachers, reaching out to their network of Denver makers. The calendar is already overflowing; there's a Woodworking 101 course on April 19 and April 26, and a pie-crust workshop taught by Shauna Lott of The Long-I Pie Shop (winner of Best Bakery 2016 — Sweet) on Wednesday, April 20.
To see a full list of workshops or to learn about renting space in The Craftsman & Apprentice, visit craftsmanandapprentice.com.