Guest blogger Jennifer Stringer writes about fascinating people and fun places in Central Indiana. Last week, she tried one of the classes offered through Nickel Plate Arts which just recently celebrated the completion of their new arts campus in Noblesville.

Mama's got a brand new bag thanks to Nickel Plate Arts classes. Last week, I took the Batik Canvas Bag class and two hours later I had a cute, custom-designed canvas tote.

Confession: I am generally not very good at art. I think my mom has one item saved from my school days. My only evidence of "success" in other art classes are a small basket from a basket weaving class and some leftover yarn that never quite turned into my first knitted scarf.

Thankfully, the batik class yielded much better results. Local artist Deanna Leonard led the class. She reminded me of my favorite art teachers - the ones who show you how to do it, but let you make all the creative choices. Like me, most of the participants were looking for a relaxing, stress-free night out. In fact, there were two young women there who work at a daycare who said the art class was their first time to sit down all day!

We started with a plain canvas bag. Then Deanna advised us we could either use a stencil for our design or draw our design freehand. One of the cutest designs was created by one of the daycare providers. She created a bag with a large turtle on one side with 13 little turtles on the opposite side, representing the 13 kids in her daycare class. The designs were painted on the bag with hot candle wax, and then we added dye to color the bag. We sealed in the design by ironing the bag and removing the wax. As you can see from the pictures in the post, some people created a beautiful mix of colors to go with their design.

In a few hours, we each had created a nice bag to take home-and use! We also had time to relax, create and laugh a little. If relaxing, creating and laughing sound good to you, there's still time to register for the last three classes for this season - "Yes, It's Plaster," "Hearth Cooking," and "Acrylic Painting with Friends New and Old."

For the next several months, Nickel Plate Arts will be focusing on introducing art to the community through fun programs and activities at First Friday events in Noblesville. Look for activities for all ages October-December.

What classes would you like to see offered in future Nickel Plate Art sessions?