By Rachel Werner | Photographed by Marla Bergh

Creativity flags fly high at The Crafty Project. Each wall is covered floor-to-ceiling with handcrafted projects completed by previous customers and Crafty Project staff and owner Jenny Gatzke.

“When I started The Crafty Project I was just making reclaimed wood signs and giving them away. But as someone who loves a good party, it dawned on me that sign making would be much more fun if it were happening as a party with friends,” Gatzke recalls. “I posted the idea on my Crafty Project Facebook page, which at the time had about 100 likes (that were mostly friends). After posting pictures online from the first real event, the idea snowballed and I haven’t looked back.”

Gatzke expanded this initial concept into a small business by opening a craft boutique on Madison’s near East Side in July 2015. The open studio space with community worktables managed by Rachel Morey (shown right) is a welcoming setting for customers who craft customized projects using stencils and paint during crafty happy hours, monthly kid events and private parties.

“What really drives our business I believe is the idea of personalization paired with being creative without the stress. Our customers join us for a class and make something fabulous—taking the stress of the process out,” she says. “The look of reclaimed and rustic is trending now as customers love the idea of repurposing and reusing wood from pallets and barns. The pieces become special and filled with character.” | 312 N. 3rd Street, Madison

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