ART AND opportunities are found in everyday places, and on rare occasions, the two combine to create a unique career. Jessica Allen wasn’t looking for new work when she and her mother-in-law took a class on a beach vacation that resulted in a one-of-a-kind charcuterie board decorated with resin.
“I just fell in love with working with resin, and when I left, my mind kept spinning with all the possibilities that could come from opening a business like that in Fayetteville,” Allen said.
The lingering joy from the class consumed her, leaving her to believe God was stirring a dream in her heart. Her background in marketing led her to research studios in our area. Finding only four similar, but nowhere near Fayetteville, Allen said she took the leap of faith and decided to open By Your Hand Art Studio.
While training at the studio where she first fell in love with resin art, she also gained experience in crushed glass art. She brought those skills back from the beach vacation and sandy shores to Fayetteville and now offers crushed glass art classes at her studio on West Washington Street. Students and artists create their own designs from broken glass, seashells, resin flowers, beads, and other supplies, which Allen preserves in resin. The art requires no prior experience, and anyone can do it.
Many of the studio’s resin art pieces capture the ocean’s beauty and freeze the movement of the waves in the resin covering. Art depicting angel wings, a class favorite, reflects peaceful, ethereal energy. Anything a student can imagine finds its way into the designs, with recent favorites including Christmas trees, chickens, turtles, and hearts.
Allen said of the charcuterie boards and the broken glass art, “You don’t have to be an artist to do this. It’s easy and fun.”
In the broken glass classes, students arrange the glass into their chosen design on a canvas or board until they’re happy with it. After that, Allen completes their project by sealing it in resin for them.
The charcuterie board art is a play in color and resin. Students are introduced to different ways of manipulating the resin and decide on their designs and methods. Like many broken glass pieces, waves of color resemble beach sunsets, retreating waves, and rolling dunes. Coordinating coasters complete the set.
“You pick your board and up to four different pigment colors, and we provide you with resin. Then, we walk you through the preliminary steps of mixing resin and pigment and prepping and pouring your board. We go over how to manipulate the resins to where they flow and move together to create the design they imagine,” said Allen.
Classes are available for individuals or groups, and parties of six or more can reserve the studio for private classes. All created art must dry for 24 hours and be picked up the next day, or shipping can be arranged.
Everything about the studio work has been a blessing. Besides the joy of seeing students overcome their intimidation of working with resin and the pleasure of seeing their creativity come to life, the studio allows the flexibility to include her family in her work. She and her husband, BJ, are parents to Macie, Ella, Aisley, and Axton.
“Now that I’ve opened, I’m able to help my mom, who’s had a kidney transplant, as she enters back into a normal routine in life. I have a place where my children can stay after school, and I get to keep my two-year-old at the studio with me,” she said. “All the things that have lined up and allowed me to open this business have been a true blessing from God, and I have to give Him all the honor and glory for that. If someone had told me as a marketing account manager for higher education colleges that I would have an art studio, I wouldn’t have believed it. Everything we do here is more about the love of it. Once you get a feel for the technique, you take off with it. I have people that have already become repeat customers. It’s really amazing.”
The art options are ever-changing and never-ending. They’re as wide open as our imagination.
Allen said, “I’ve expanded a bit into preserving funeral and wedding flowers in resin for people. There are so many ways you can help people with this; a lot of it is therapeutic. They come in and are so focused on making their design that they are able to heal and grow.”
No matter how short, an escape through creative play is an opportunity to relax and reset. Drop by or check out the studio online to create your own unique treasure. GN