MAY 17, 2011 -- A new kids craft studio is doing anything but bringing up the rear in creative classes and activities for youngsters.
The Craft Caboose, which opened in April within eyeshot of the Kirkwood Train Station, is the brainchild of Sharon Crnko. A former early childhood special education teacher, Crnko has always enjoyed art.
"I love art, and this is the most fun part of teaching for me," she said. "With art, there's no wrong way to do it; everybody's way is the right way."
Her studio at 105 E. Argonne is loaded with all sorts of craft supplies, from googly eyes to pipe cleaners, paints and wood cut-outs. Families with children ages 18 months through 6 can drop in for open craft time (craft kits are available for purchase), come with a playgroup, sign up for formal classes, or book a birthday party.
Crnko, who helped with the creation of the ZooMagination Station at the Saint Louis Zoo, hopes her studio will become a hub for parents of young children, providing opportunities for parents to meet other parents and form relationships.
A longtime Kirkwood resident, Crnko's own children are helping her build the business. Now adults, they've provided graphic design, manual labor and teaching assistance. Even the family dog, Ted, is in on the action. "I bring my dog to work. He likes to sit in the windows and has a little bed in the back office," Crnko said.
Today, Ted was out of sight, but Emme, 4, and her mother, Ellen Weis, of Brentwood, were busy making crafts together. Emme created sand art and painted a butterfly during her visit while her mom worked out the details of Emme's party to be held at the studio.
"They've just been so easy to work with," Weis said.
The Craft Caboose is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. The studio sometimes closes for parties and other large gatherings, so check the bulletin section of the website for details. Craft Caboose is located at 105 E. Argonne, Kirkwood, Mo., 63122. Call 314-835-9977 for details.
Photos: Top right: Craft Caboose Owner Sharon Crnko Bottom right: Emme Weis paints a butterfly