Interviews

Yellow Cupboard – At Home in Ashland

The Yellow Cupboard is a new art supply store located at 629 “A” street, between 5th and 6th street in Ashland’s historic railroad district. The store was founded by brothers Aaron and Isaac Park, with the help of their mother, Annette, in March of 2010. The Yellow Cupboard specializes in art supplies geared towards the Waldorf arts curriculum, and also carries
professional art supplies for painting, drawing, and printmaking, as well as a wide variety of crafting materials and tools.

Please Tell us about the Yellow Cupboard? You are a store but also a craft center?

Isaac: The Yellow Cupboard is more than just a store, we like to call it an interactive store. We believe that people should be able to test the products we sell before they buy them, and we offer that service. We always have materials out on our work table that people can come in and play with. Many parents like to set their kids up with a little project while they shop.

Aaron: We also offer a variety of workshops from kite making and candle decorating to watercolor painting and needle felting.

How did you choose Ashland as the location to open the Yellow Cupboard?{{{0}}}

Aaron: I had been living in Ashland for three years and Isaac joined me in the spring of 2009. After struggling to find work and to support ourselves for months, we went back to Wisconsin to visit our parents over the holidays. While we were cooped up in the old Wisconsin farm house we began to hatch the plan for The Yellow Cupboard. Our mother, Anette Park, started Paper Scissors Stone, a mail-order Waldorf supply business in Wisconsin 15 ears ago. She had often talked about the possibility of opening a retail store that specialized in the same materials, and we saw Ashland as a good place to give it a shot.

Isaac: Ashland is at the center of a thriving Waldorf and Waldorf-inspired community, as well as the home to many artists from all walks of life, so it seemed like the perfect place.

Can you share a little bit about your childhoods and how it is tied into what you are doing now?

Aaron: We went to Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua, Wisconsin from kindergarten through 8th grade, then we went to Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua which is a Waldorf initiative high school. Between growing up Waldorf and having a mother who was always testing new art supplies and trying out new craft projects, we grew up to love that stuff and we got to know the different materials pretty well.

Isaac: Every summer we would go on a family vacation to the North Woods or Lake Superior and crafting and art were always a part of our daily activities. What we are doing now definitely reflects where we come from, and our hope is that we can offer the same opportunities for fun and expression that we had while growing up to our community here in Ashland.

Talk a little bit about the waldorf education/philosophy? How you work to implement some of philosophy within your day to day?

Isaac: The waldorf philosophy, as we see it, has a lot to do with balance. Balance between work and play is important and running this store really gives us the opportunity to play while we are at work. The Waldorf curriculum values artistic expression, incorporating art into all subjects, and we think that anyone’s life, not just that of a student, can be improved by tipping the scales just a bit towards art.

Aaron: In our society today, art seems to be a low priority and we want to do our part to turn that around in our own community. We want to encourage people of all ages to try a new craft project, or a new medium, play, experiment, and just have fun being creative.

What classes are you currently offering for children and adults?

Aaron: All of our workshops are for adults and children. We like to say that the workshops are for “kids of all ages”, which is to say that they are open to anyone who wants
to learn something new and fun.

Isaac: Some of them have age limits on the lower end, 10 and up for example, but all are open to adults as well as children. In March we had classes on watercolor painting, needle felting, wet felting, and Ukrainian egg dying, among others. In April we will be offering workshops in tie dye, silk painting, knitting for beginners, wet felting, needle felting, kite making, crochet for beginners, veil painting, candle dipping, and more. The full workshop schedule is available on our website, yellowcupboard.com, and in the future we hope to offer an ever-expanding variety of workshops and we are open to suggestions for classes that people would like to take or teach.

Favorite crafting books?

Aaron: One of my favorite crafting books right now is called ‘Crafting through the Year’. I like it because it has a variety of craft projects that incorporate the changing seasons and materials that can be found in nature.

Isaac: Yeah, what he said.

Best ways to share nature with children?

Aaron: We really think that art is one of the best ways to share nature with children. Whether learning about the structure of plants by drawing them, or using natural materials to create art, the natural world provides both inspiration and materials.

Isaac: Taking your children out into nature, whether to the park or on a camping trip is of course the best place to start, but it doesn’t have to end there. Creative activities that both relate to and involve nature, like flower pressing, wreath making, nature drawing – the possibilities are endless, help both children and adults to internalize, process, and truly appreciate the bounty, beauty, and constant change found in nature.

Aaron:Yeah, what he said

What projects are you working on now?

Isaac: My latest obsession is crocheting hats. Its fun, challenging, the materials are cheap, and I get to make beautiful, functional, unique pieces of art. I’ve also been experimenting with new candle dipping techniques in my free time. Next up: copper foil embossing!

Aaron: I’ve been working on needle felting a hat from scrap wool roving we had around the shop. It is taking forever but it’s going to be a pretty sweet hat.

The Yellow Cupboard is located at 629 A street, on the east end of Ashland’s Arts District.
Hours are 10am to 6pm, Wednesday thru Sunday.

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Hi, I am Shields. I am the creator or LocalsGuide. The mission or my company is to provide a positive media platform for my community which in turn makes it stronger and more resilient. I hope you will enjoy and feel inspired to start your own LocalsGuide in your town or community.
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Shields Bialasik

Hi, I am Shields. I am the creator or LocalsGuide. The mission or my company is to provide a positive media platform for my community which in turn makes it stronger and more resilient. I hope you will enjoy and feel inspired to start your own LocalsGuide in your town or community.

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