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Open studios for artists without the space

Gather Studio provides a workspace for people to

Gather Studio provides a workspace for people to make pottery. (Jan. 14, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

Got the itch to get creative but lack the space and materials at home? Several art venues around Long Island have "open studios" -- places to work on projects at your own pace, sans instruction, alongside fellow hobbyists and professional artists. The vibe is experimental, often social, with ideas incubating and taking flight on the spot.

Haven Art

29 Haven Ave., Port Washington

INFO 516-944-6765,

COST $15 per hour or $200 a month

With 2,500 square-feet of working space and several industrial-style tables, there's plenty of space to spread out. Most patrons work on clay projects -- the room holds eight electric pottery wheels, three kilns and even a slab roller that's used to flatten clay.

"We have a good time here. It's very relaxing," says Kathi Barnett, 64, of Syosset, as she works on an olive dish by cutting the clay into an almond shape and peeling away the excess.

Good to know: Patrons must purchase clay on-site -- it costs $120-$160 for 25 pounds and includes access to dozens of glazes, tools and firing. Monthly studio users get storage space to leave their materials and projects on-site, which, Barnett says, spares "carting materials back and forth."

Gather Studio

83 E. Main St., Suite 5, Patchogue

INFO 631-654-1351,

COST $5 per day or $40 a month

Creativity takes on many forms at Gather Studio, whose customers range from artists to teachers to retirees. It's an airy loft space with brick walls and massive windows.

Gigi Eagan, of Blue Point, says sample projects on display around the studio have encouraged her to try new things. "I'm retired and I have a desire to learn crafty stuff," she says.

Clusters of tables are situated throughout the space for drawing, block printing, painting, sewing and knitting. A tiled area is home to four electric pottery wheels, a kiln and numerous shelves for clay projects. Those interested in pottery must purchase clay from the studio ($1.25 per pound, $5 use of pottery wheel, firing not included).

The Art Studio

221 N. Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre

INFO 516-763-2050,

COST $35 per day or $95 a month, plus one-time $45 fee for materials

Want to dabble in oil painting on canvas? Check. Work with self-drying clay, charcoal or even Sharpies? Check. Check. Check.

You can do all that at this studio and -- even better -- your materials are included. Patrons are welcome to work on projects 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, experimenting in whichever medium they choose.

"If you don't like it, then you don't have to waste your money" buying new supplies, says Annie Lowry, 51, of Rockville Centre, who was doing an acrylic painting of her son's football helmet.

On a recent Wednesday night, 11th-grade students Bridget Greene, 17, and Jennifer Varvaro, 16, both of Lynbrook, were working on their college art portfolios.

"I like the people," Varvaro says, looking up from a drawing. "We all help each other with our artwork."


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