Along Port Republic Street, three shops create an artsy alley

By Pamela Brownstein
Embracing the age-old desire to create with your hands as well as the recent Do It Yourself (DIY) popularity, three small businesses cater to those who want to expand and explore their crafty side through painting, knitting and sewing.
All three owners are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about their craft. And each store offers a wide range of classes as well as space for the experienced or the novice to come and practice or create.

For Jennifer Kassing-Bradley, the best thing about owning an art supply store is the interaction with budding artists.
“I love being around the students and teaching classes,” she said.
With an undergraduate degree and a master’s from SCAD, Jennifer first realized the need for a place to

The entry way to Coastal Art Supply.

purchase art supplies in Beaufort in 2008. Before that, she said, she had to go to either Savannah or Charleston to find the products she needed.
Coastal Art Supply, across from The Beaufort Inn, offers professional artist supplies such as paint, brushes, canvas and supports, pads, pencils and sheet goods (charcoal papers, etc.)
Jennifer said that paint is the most popular item they sell, and she even helps customers mix paints to get just the right color.
The store feels like a large, open loft, and tables toward the back make a nice spot to work and to hold classes.
Jennifer and her husband are expecting their first baby in the fall.
Details: Located at 812 Port Republic St., open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 843-524-ARTS or visit www.coastalartsupply.com for a full calendar of classes.

Owner Judy Algar, who opened her knitting shop three years ago on the corner of West and Port Republic streets, offers a variety of needles, hooks, notions and accessories for beginner to expert.
She said she found her niche in Beaufort and “the community has been so receptive to me.”
“I learned to knit sitting on the floor under the dining room table at my grandmother’s house when I was 5,”

Judy Algar at Coastal Knitting.

she said. “It’s something distinctly female, knitting and crocheting never go away.”
Judy explained that during the American Revolution, hand knitting and weaving cloth became a source of pride for the colonists because they did not want wear cloth made in England.
She said during all the wars, making socks and getting them to the soldiers was very important, and women formed huge clubs just to knit socks.
Bins of yarn in all colors and textures line the walls and the aisles of the cozy store. There’s a section for baby items — hats, booties, etc. — and examples of scarves and beautiful knit tops can be found throughout.
A former occupational therapist, Judy said knitting can be very healing for people because it gives them something to do with their hands and makes them feel productive.
Judy said her most popular classes are for beginners, and she enjoys teaching people how to knit and crochet.
Children’s classes will start this summer for those 9 years and up. For adults, beginner classes are held on Tuesdays, intermediate on Wednesdays.
Details: 900 Port Republic St. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 843-470-0148 or visit www.coastalknitting.com for a complete listing of classes.

Tabby is the new kid on the block, having just opened in March.
Owner Rhonda Jordan carries a large selection of bold colorful fabrics as well as pattern books and embroidery items.

Rhonda Jordan at Tabby Fabric & Studio.

Her store has a calming effect, with clean lines and filled with light. Up front is an inviting sitting area, and in the back, she has a fully equipped studio, complete with a row of sewing machines, that can be used for classes, parties and drop-in sewing.
Rhonda said, “Although sewing rooms are more often found in big cities, I wanted one in my store, and there’s no other space like it in Beaufort.”
At Tabby this Friday, May 25, there will be a Friday Night Sew-cial where sewers can bring their project, be it a quilt or a dress, and work on it in the company of other like-minded crafters.
Rhonda, a SCAD grad and mother of two, said knowing the other stores were already here did influence her decision to set up shop on Port Republic.
“It seemed like the right fit,” she said.
Details: 910 Port Republic St., open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. 5 p.m. Call 843-379-5700, or visit www.tabbyfabricandstudio.com to find out about sewing classes.
With these great resources in downtown Beaufort — and all within walking distance of each other — now there’s no excuse to keep putting off the handmade project you’ve always dreamed of doing.

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