New Yarn, Old Space
Blue Boxer Arts opens in former Tangled storefront
Blue Boxer Arts, a new store from the owners of Tangled Up in Hue in downtown Eau Claire, features locally created fibers and beads, classes to learn new skills, and a space to gather to work on projects in the company of others. Owners Jamie Kyser and Erin Klaus as well as staffer Kelsey Wenberg are very excited about the new store, which is in Tangled Up in Hue’s former location, 416 S. Barstow St. (Tangled is now in a larger space at 505 S. Barstow St.) The new store will host a grand opening Aug. 4 including live artisan demonstrations and a community weaving project.
“To be immersed with other makers, share tips and tricks, and find a community that values the handmade is incredible.” – Kelsey Wenberg, Blue Boxer Arts
The inspiration for the store came from the vacancy created by the move of Tangled Up in Hue to a new, bigger location and the recognition of the need for a location art store. “We decided to open Blue Boxer Arts” – named after Erin’s dog Emma, a boxer who has been our store greeter at Tangled for many years – “when we moved our store location for Tangled,” said Kyser and Klaus. “We made the move while still in a lease on our previous space. We discussed our options, and while brainstorming, we threw the idea out there that we should keep the location and open a bead store. We work with lots of beads and have an enormous amount from our jewelry-making projects for Tangled. Also, Eau Claire needs more specialty shops and as bead lovers ourselves, we thought we would be filling a much-needed void for our community. We then expanded our product line to include yarn, out of the immense response we got from the fiber arts community. We hope to one day add art supplies as well.”
Kyser and Klaus continued: “It’s exciting for us to have Tangled, that showcases the finished products of the our talented community and now to have a shop that offers supplies as well it just seemed to fit with our mission. We strive to support the arts and creative community that is the Chippewa Valley. In that regard it is important to state that we have a whole local section of our store that showcases locally spun/dyed fiber – everything from yarn to roving and loose fibers. These items come to us from local farms as well as local spinners. This is unique to our shop, as you won’t find these items in the big-box stores. We even have some knitting needles that were made locally as well as wood turned crochet hooks, handmade glass beads, locally made yarn bowls, and handmade project bags.”
Kelsey Wenberg, a local artist working on a Master Knitter certification, has joined the team at Blue Boxer Arts, and will bring her talents and expertise to the shop, offering demonstrations, classes, and an opportunity to gather to work on projects with other artists. “We’ll start off with How to Knit/ Crochet classes and some simple projects that go over the basics,” she said. “As I progress in my classes, the classes I offer at Blue Boxer Arts will also include more intermediate and advanced knitting workshops.” Wenberg specializes in macramé arts, so expect lots of knot-tying demonstrations, but she says the store will also bring in teachers to demonstrate embroidery, weaving, jewelry making, yarn spinning, and other handcrafts. Beginning in August, a class list will send to the store’s mailing list and posted on Facebook. In addition, she said, a free Knit Club will meet 6-8pm every Wednesday.
“We carry the highest quality macramé supplies, in a broader selection than anywhere else in town,” added Wenberg, who makes, sells, and hosts workshops under the name the Contemporary Knot. “Macramé is making a huge resurgence from the ’70s, only with a fresh, modern look. It’s a great craft for anyone looking to start a new hobby.”
Wenberg believes Blue Boxer Arts will offer an opportunity for folks to gather to create together, and that the store can offer local and unique supplies not available at the big chain stores. “It’s so exciting to have a space downtown to do this stuff because folks, especially women, getting together to craft is a lost art,” she said. “In this world we are so surrounded by technology and consumer products, it is a truly magical experience to make something beautiful with your own two hands. It really teaches you patience and the value of something that isn’t made in a factory.
“To be immersed with other makers, share tips and tricks, and find a community that values the handmade is incredible,” Wenberg added. “What makes Blue Boxer unique is all the local yarns and roving we offer. We are very committed to the local movement Eau Claire seems to foster so well. Many of our vendors have their own farms, sheer their sheep or alpacas, and spin and dye their fibers. You won’t find this high quality selection anywhere else in town!”
Blue Boxer Arts, 416 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire, will hold a grand opening from noon-6pm Friday, Aug. 4. Learn more at facebook.com/blueboxerarts.