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Hobby store workshops dabble in arts and crafts

WHO: Globe staff member Janice Page, daughter Zoe, 8, and friend Aerin, 8

WHERE: Dabblers Hobbies + Café, West Concord

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WHAT: Workshops in Zentangle and glass painting

For Christmas, my child got a box of duct tape. She got some other things too, of course, but the duct tape - in a variety of hot colors and patterns that will come in handy if Lady Gaga is ever our electrician - was paramount. If you haven’t noticed, duct tape (a.k.a. duck tape) is bigger than ever, and it’s being transformed into everything from hair bows and handbags to high-top sneakers, just for starters.

At Dabblers, a hobby supply shop in Concord, they’ve noticed, which is why they recently offered a “duct tape creativity’’ workshop. It’s just one of many activities that can pop up on the events calendar at the store; others include knitting, whittling, decoupage, birdhouse building, even mastering remote-controlled helicopter tricks. The day we visited, the two offerings best suited to my 8-year-old daughter and her friend were workshops in Zentangle (structured doodling, really) and painting on glass. Both were conducted in Dabblers’ comfortable workroom, where a large table can seat around a dozen.

Our one-hour Zentangle introduction began with an advisory to “relax.’’ This form of drawing has been called “yoga for the mind.’’ Our instructor showed us how to begin, with four dots that became the parameters of a grid, and how to create patterns (evenly or randomly repeating) and effects using black and white contrasts. The kids took to it immediately, filling up several sheets with inspired shapes and sequences, some 3-D. We were each sent home with copies of patterns to try, a fine-line marker, and heavyweight paper for creating a future masterpiece.

After a bit of lunch - Dabblers has a well-stocked cafe that comes in very handy - we tried our hand at painting on glass. Paints of various thicknesses and sheens are applied via tubes and brushes; you pick your item of choice (vase, plate, wine glass. . .) and practice by decorating a small glass circle, either free form or by employing a handout stencil taped to the underside. I was worried that the medium might present problems for little artists, but even the youngest in our class produced keepsake works without any breakage.

Though pre-registration is required for most workshops, there’s also a table in the store showroom where families can work on crafts purchased for as little as a couple of dollars. We eyed pairs of cute wooden clips shaped like mittens. Next time.

Workshops in Zentangle ($10 for one person, $5 for each additional person) and painting on glass ($15 per person including materials) at Dabblers Hobbies + Café, 119 Commonwealth Ave., West Concord. 978-254-5798,

Janice Page can be reached at
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