Sitting under one of her latest, and largest, works of art, Jordyn Kramer got cracking on her next one.
The 24-year-old painter — who had recently completed a mammoth, bursting-with-color fluid art painting for Old Town’s new craft bar, Extra Arts & Drafts — delicately traced over a small cheese board with a wood burner.
Extra Arts & Drafts quietly opened at 115 E. Mountain Ave., in February but kicked off its grand opening weekend on March 25, letting in its first customers — Kramer and her fiancee, Madi Schmidt — early that evening.
Schmidt, 23, worked away nearby on a wooden beer bottle opener, appropriately sipping on a beer right in front of her.
The bar is one of the newest additions to Old Town, melding the social environment of a bar with the fun of “upscale DIY projects.”
“That’s just a fancy way of saying arts and crafts,” Extra Arts & Drafts owner Jeff White said in a March interview, sitting next to his co-owner and wife Amy White in their airy bar dotted with bright and industrial touches.
The couple — Amy, an English and journalism teacher at Rocky Mountain High School, and Jeff, the former creative director of Loveland’s Group Publishing — were finally able open the business after nearly a year of waiting out the pandemic.
“We’ve always loved the arts, and our kids were always doing some sort of arts and crafts project at home,” Jeff said, adding that Amy has also taught painting classes for years. “It’s just part of our life and who we are.”
Customers can come in, choose a craft to do from Extra Arts & Crafts’ menu and work on it at one of the space’s tables while visiting with their friends and sipping on a drink.
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Current craft options include stitching together your own leather keychain or notebook, doing string art or moss art creations, making jewelry, doing wood burning designs and more. Every craft comes with all of the supplies needed as well as instructions. As part of the bar’s grand opening, every craft will cost a flat rate of $27 into possibly June, Jeff said.
Drinks — from beer, wine and ciders to nonalcoholic offerings — can be purchased separately at the bar.
“You get to try new things without buying all the supplies,” Kramer said, darkening the lines of the wood-burned flower on her cheese board. “It’s a smart idea.”
Unlike paint and sip studios — like Loveland’s Studio Vino, which the Whites also own — Extra Arts & Drafts gives customers more flexibility and a craft option that isn’t primarily paint based, Jeff said. They also encourage walk-ins, though you can make a reservation online to guarantee your spot at a crafting table.
“You get instructions and we’ll help you,” Amy said, but Extra’s crafts are not as instructor-based and regimented as the painting classes she teaches at Studio Vino.
“You can just come in (to Extra) with somebody, pick a different project than what they pick and you can just visit and have a drink and hang out,” she said. “We really wanted something that could appeal to anybody, where someone could come in and make whatever they wanted.”
As longtime Northern Colorado residents, the couple also wants to partner with local businesses and host special crossover classes at Extra Arts & Drafts outside of its regular hours of 5-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
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This could mean anything from a weekday fly tying class for local fly fishers to an evening cheese board wood burning class hosted alongside a cheese sampling from a local cheese shop, Amy said.
They hope to have announcements made on future crossover classes in April, according to Jeff.
Despite originally expecting to open last April, the Whites made it through the other side of the early pandemic and city permitting process late last year — in time for a February soft opening.
Since then, people walking through Old Town will often poke their heads in.
“We get a lot of people that stop in and ask, ‘What is this place?’ ” Jeff said.
“The response, at least to our faces, has been very positive,” he added with a laugh. “There seems to be a tangible excitement from people when they understand what (the space) is.”
“It’s fun,” Amy said. “I think people need that and don’t even know it until they go, ‘Hey, I made that. I made a cutting board. I did a painting. I did that.’ “
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Erin Udell reports on news, culture, history and more for the Coloradoan. Contact her at [email protected] The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. If not, sign up for a digital subscription to the Coloradoan today.