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Having Fun with Arts and Crafts

Off the Cuff with Charmbiance’s MéShelle

Dec. 13, 2016
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MéShelle possesses the unusual combination of entrepreneurial prowess and artistic talent. As the founder and owner of Charmbiance and Candlicious, Michelle encourages artistic activity by emphasizing how fun and easy it can be. The upcoming year promises to be big for Charmbiance as MéShelle expands her operation to a new location, courts new demographics and continues to enliven date nights, bachelorette parties and other celebratory occasions. Off the Cuff spoke with MéShelle about the past and future of Charmbiance.

What is Charmbiance?

Charmbiance has offered crafting classes since 2010. It was developed out of my other business, Candlicious, which sells painted glass candles. There is a trend of do-it-yourself painting classes at bars and a lot of people who had been buying my painted candles mentioned that they wanted to paint them too. I also design charms and everything I make has charms on it. For me art is about the ambiance that these items can create. So, “charms” plus “ambiance” equals Charmbiance!

What happens in a Charmbiance class?

Painting glass is something I’ve always done for fun. I’m drawn to the texture, the non-porous beauty of paint on glass. Whether it is painted candles, wine glass or windows, I paint all sorts of glass for gifts and for fun. In Charmbiance classes we paint wine glasses because they are functional pieces of artwork. Participants paint two glasses and will actually use them. I give a 20-minute instructional at the beginning of the class that teaches techniques to ensure that the glasses don’t look like a child painted them. I come prepared with between 15 and 18 designs that I’ve drawn ahead of time. The participants are free to choose a design, trace it on the glass and then paint in the lines. Some people like to follow my designs. Others like to expand on my designs. Some just like to do their own thing.

What do you tell people who don’t consider themselves artistically talented?

Ninety-eight percent of people who attend my classes are extremely nervous, but they want the glass so badly that they decide to chance it. I’m proud to say that about 70% come back for another session. Plus, after two drinks, people relax and get the liquid confidence they need. I guarantee people a good time. It’s all about having fun.

What is the future of Charmbiance?

I’ve been doing painting classes at Jojo’s Martini Lounge in Wauwatosa. The owner, Myron, recently opened the Wall Street Drink Exchange in Elm Grove and he invited me to hold classes there. I even have a private room for that purpose. Beginning in January, I’ll be at the Wall Street Drink Exchange two or three nights a week. In 2017, I’ll start offering kids classes as well. Instead of wine glasses they’ll paint hot cocoa mugs or plates.

Any humorous or touching stories you can tell about classes you’ve led?

Well, a good half of the designs I prepare are drink-related and humorous; such as “step aside coffee, this is a job for alcohol.” Oftentimes men are dragged to the classes by women, but then they thoroughly enjoy themselves and tend to do better. And not a class goes by that someone doesn’t accidently put a paintbrush in their drink instead of the water.


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