Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Mellow Maker Studio spreads smiles, makes art accessible

Owner+Nik+Rosas+poses+with+a+decorated+ball+he+calls+%E2%80%9CMr.+Mellow%E2%80%9D+in+the+studio.+He+said+he%E2%80%99s+been+drawing+the+figure+since+middle+school.+%0A
Kara Peeler / Daily Senior Staffer
Owner Nik Rosas poses with a decorated ball he calls “Mr. Mellow” in the studio. He said he’s been drawing the figure since middle school.

At Mellow Maker Studio on Sherman Ave., its namesake Mr. Mellow peeks out from every surface: fridge magnets, mosaics and even a tufted rug.

The wrinkly yellow smiley face encapsulates the laid-back vibe of this art studio and its founder, Nik Rosas. It’s a place where people with any level of creative experience can sign up to make a stained glass piece in a single class.

“Art can be very intimidating,” said Rosas. “I don’t think people take enough time to just do something for themselves or learn something new. I want people to know that it’s just very very low pressure—there’s almost never experience necessary to do something here.” 

Mellow Maker first opened for stained glass classes in May and will soon offer more classes, like tufted rug making and foam armor, Rosas said.  

The stained glass is “make it and take it:” participants spend four hours completing a piece from start to finish, and leave ready to hang it up at home. Attendees make a template, score and break the glass and then wrap the pieces with copper foil. Next comes soldering, which bonds the pieces.

Rosas solders the pieces for a wine bottle stained glass piece, which were available for purchase during the Evanston Wine Walk.

Rosas has always been artistic, he said — drawing nonstop, doing his own tattoos and even hand-painting the bright yellow and pink wavy-patterned studio walls — but said he dislikes how art is so standardized and so critiqued in the fine art world. He grew up in Geneva, Illinois  but decided to go into trade rather than attend art school. 

Now, he’s running an art studio with his own values in mind. 

So, Rosas’ advice for the best piece possible? Just have fun. 

“What kills art is trying to make everything perfect,” Rosas said. 

Evanston resident Courtney Guc said, though she’s a perfectionist she enjoyed making an orange slice out of stained glass and learning how to improve her art skills. Now, she plans to return for another class in the winter — and bring her book club with her. 

Mellow Maker, Rosas said, is a space to undo restrictions and make art feel more accessible for all. He said the studio is a judgment-free zone for all ages, where people can feel comfortable doing things they didn’t even know they were capable of.

“I’ve seen (Rosas) teach everyone from experienced artists to lawyers that say they haven’t done anything creative their entire lives, and they all end up leaving the class with something they’re happy with,” said Sloane Pasco, Rosas’ girlfriend. 

Pasco said they have enjoyed watching the art studio develop since May. Though they’re an artist themself, even they felt initially intimidated by stained glass. But after a class with Rosas and friends, they realized that Mellow Maker is “a great space to be creative” ––  even for novices. 

Mellow Maker Studio showcases all sorts of art, including stained glass, mosaics, handmade masks—and two of the 250 Mr. Mellow balls that Rosas bought in bulk.

Mellow Maker is only just getting started. So, to connect with the community, Rosas sold stained glass pieces made to look like wine glasses at the Main-Dempster Mile’s annual Evanston Wine Walk on Sept. 14. Those who purchased a ticket could sample wine and walk around meeting the business fronts.

Rosas is also gearing up for “Spooky Sundays” in October. Mellow Maker offers haunted gingerbread house and pumpkin carving events for adults and kids. And, he’ll end the month on a high note with a 21-and-above party on Oct. 29. 

Rosas, who said he loves crafting around the holidays (think: making a Mandalorian costume entirely from foam armor), plans to keep up the fun, festive events in the future. 

“Just let go of your expectations and just give it a shot,” Rosas said. “You won’t regret it.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @karapeeler

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