Pittsburgh was built with blue-collar workmanship. And while the advances in tech and business continue to move the city forward, there are still those that prefer to “Do-It-Yourself”. Artists, crafters, contractors, and weekend warriors alike can let their creativity run wild at these 14 Pittsburgh places keeping the DIY spirit alive.
PGH Glass Center
This Garfield gem hosts Make-It-Now glass workshops for small groups and hot dates. You’ll take a tour of the amazing facility, learn glassblowing techniques from talented artist instructors, and leave with a handmade glass creation. Be sure to check out their extensive workshop list, packed with opportunities to sandblast wine glasses, make a paperweight, design beads, or take your basic glass work skills to the next level. Workshops run year round, with options for beginners, advanced artisans, and everyone in between.
Visit this incredible Point Breeze warehouse to find used and surplus building materials collected for sale and reuse. If you have a vision, and are willing to get hands-on, Construction Junction should be your first stop. Inside you’ll find amazing antiques, statement pieces from old Pittsburgh homes, specialty hardware, furniture, and recycled goods. Appliances ready for a second life? Reclaimed lumber for a “new” nightstand? Construction Junction has you covered.
Sign up for ceramics courses at the historic Union Baptist Church in East Liberty to learn the basics of pottery or perfect your skills. Register early to join a weekly class, where you’ll learn to throw, fire, and glaze pottery. If you don’t play well with others, you can take the studio home with you. For $25, the Union Project Clay Case is a carryout option perfect for the recluse creative who prefers solitude when channeling their artistic genius.
Nestled a block behind E.Carson, this South Side staple is a retail shop featuring the works of 40 local artists, a pottery studio, and a workspace with a spectacular glaze collection. Every week, Fireborn instructors and notable Pittsburgh potters, Donna Hetrick and Daniel Vito, teach courses to 80 pottery students, ranging from beginner to advanced. If you’re on the fence about checking out Fireborn, just watch this video. It’s sure to win you over.
Center for Creative Reuse
Upcycle vintage insulators, cigar boxes, glass bottles, and everything you need to go green in 2016. The Center for Creative Reuse is Pinterester’s paradise. Fair warning, it might cause DIY overload. There’s so much to explore, so many crafting materials, and untold amounts of unique recycled treats that you could easily spend an entire day here. So clear your calendar.
Don’t ask, just go. If art supplies are what you seek, Utrecht on East Carson Street has them.
Artist Image Resource
This studio on the Northside focuses on community education and access to printmaking. New to printing? Schedule a tutorial to learn how the pros do it. If you already have the know-how, but need some supplies, AIR hosts open studio hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10pm. Experienced printers can get their hands on tools for screen printing, digital printing, intaglio, lithography, and letterpress. AIR also goes beyond offering up studio space and expertise. This nonprofit supports and facilitates local art projects while providing printmaking education to community and youth organizations.
We already told you that Techshop should be on your shortlist of Pittsburgh places to visit. So what are you waiting for? You can take a soldering course. Learn to code. Enroll in that woodshop class you’ve always wanted to take. The list of course goes on and on. But there’s more to this place than how-to classes. If you’re ready to make something, snag a monthly or yearly membership for access to all of Techshop’s high-tech tools. Either way, it’s a great way to tap into an incredible community of makers, tinkerers, and creatives in Pittsburgh.
Children’s Museum MakeShop 21+
Channel your inner child at MakeShop 21+ night. It’s a stroller-less evening of play at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. You can think of it as crafting and cocktails. Or building and brews, if you prefer. But whatever you do, don’t wait to get your ticket. These events sell out fast. If you do score a ticket, you’re guaranteed a good time. Activities can include screen printing, designing one-of-a-kind cards, or taking on an art-inspired project that will take you back to middle school art class. Being an adult is overrated anyway.
Popular Etsy Shop artist Monica Yope founded Pop Craft to bring crafting to the masses. At these drink-in-hand workshops, you’ll create tote bags, reclaimed wooden wall art, and other tactful decor at a rotation of local bars in Pittsburgh. Want a personal pop up? Schedule a Pop Craft party for up to 10 people.
Adults rejoice! Assemble – Pittsburgh’s STEAM classroom – isn’t just for kids. They offer classes grown-ups too. Their class offerings are always changing, providing plenty of opportunities to get creative no matter how old you are. It’s best to stay tuned to their events calendar for news and notes on upcoming events. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for details on MakerDate 2016, Assemble’s annual fundraiser, where partygoers bid on “dates” with local artists who offer skillshare sessions in exchange for the donation.
A favorite BYOB spot for beginner painters…and winos. Bring some friends, grab a bottle of cheap wine, and find your way to Paint Monkey in Lawrenceville or Cranberry. It’s a perfect way to test the DIY waters. Afterall, if you’re not artistically inclined, you can always blame a poor showing on the wine.
Society for Contemporary Craft
Since 1971, the SCC has offered Pittsburgh a space to craft. With a mission to spread social awareness through art, it’s a space where artisans of all types meet to share, and teach their talents. Stop by this lovely Strip District location to sign up for an upcoming DIY workshop taught by a local artist. And while you’re there be sure to check out the current artist exhibit, Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art.
The Factory @ Andy Warhol Museum
While not quite the same as Andy’s Silver Factory, this spot will have you screenprinting in no time. Learn the artist’s popular technique and experiment with other mediums inside the North Shore Warhol Museum. If you’re feeling really inspired, get some friends to attend a personal Pop Party. This experience is designed and facilitated by Warhol staff for your group’s needs and artistic ambitions. Give a little love to Pittsburgh’s 15 minutes of Pop Art fame.