By Molly Cassidy
Meridian Times staff writer
The Art Unlimited store at 4692 Okemos road, may not have cots and dinner on the stove, but the feeling of family, self expression and appreciation of art are what makes the store a second home for some.
“I love what I do, I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t love it,” owner Anne O’Connor said. “I took a big lifestyle change to be here and part of the reason I do it is I think we bring something awesome to the community and we’re family oriented.”
O’Connor was a cell phone sales representative before deciding to open the store eight years ago with the help of her mom. At the time, she had never painted pottery before.
“It’s like Christmas every day. It’s Christmas every time we open the kiln. And if customers can feel that when they open their finished work; I know they’re going to come back,” O’Connor said.
The store allows customers of all ages to paint ceramics, glass fuse, design mosaics, paint with watercolor and mold pottery according to O’Connor.
Erica Begun has worked at the store for six months and enjoys encouraging creativity through art and believes it’s the best thing parents or teachers can do for students and themselves.
“We have a couple customers who just come in and hang out, and it really brings a sense of community to the studio and it’s great. It’s my day off. I wasn’t supposed to be in here today and I’m in here finishing my project and I don’t mind because it’s just the way it works here and I love it about this job. We don’t do it because it’s a job; we do it because we love the studio,” Begun said.
Self-proclaimed regular Judy Richards has been coming to the store for three years after retiring and was looking for something creative to keep her busy.
“They’re very caring and helpful and always want you to explore your creativity, not necessarily their creativity,” Richards said.