BY ROSIE PIGA PIZZO
If you always wanted to create Pinterest-quality crafts, Qing Zhang, owner of Crafts N Creations, says she can get you started.
The new shop, located inside Fountain Square Mall across from The Game Preserve, opened its doors this past May. Zhang, 41, has filled her store with stocking flowers, many types of paper, and colorful assortments of beads in all kinds of shapes, textures, and colors.
“Customers are attracted to the beads,” Zhang says. “Some people have thought they were candy.”
Zhang orders many of her items from China, such as origami lucky star paper — narrow strips of paper that, when folded properly, make a star shape. Sold in bundles ranging from $2 to $3, Zhang’s stock includes scented and glow-in-the-dark papers as well as baking supplies, including silicon molds for cake and cupcake designs.
Originally from Nanjing, China, Zhang came to the United States in 2004 when her husband accepted a job in Chicago. A year later, they moved to Bloomington when he was hired as a researcher at Indiana University.
Until recently, Zhang was focused on raising their sons, ages 6 and 15, but with both in school, she was ready to open a business. “I need the social time to practice English and to face other people,” says Zhang, who has been creating crafts for three years, using the web to research ideas and instructions. “I thought I would enjoy this type of store — to show people how to make crafts.”
Customers can work on their creations right in the store and receive one-on-one instruction from Zhang. “Many people are interested, but they don’t know where to begin, so this place gives them a chance to try,” she says.
Compared to big-box craft stores, Crafts N Creations allows customers to make more personal selections. “You can purchase exactly what you need rather than having to buy a lot of beads as you would at a larger store,” she says.
Zhang is eager to help customers try all kinds of crafts. “It doesn’t matter if they are good at it — this should be just for fun.”
Crafts N Creations is open 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit facebook.com/craftsinbloomington.