Family Fun Spotlight

Creating Sunshine Collective

Creating Sunshine Collective

Spreading Joy Through Art

Shelly Tweedy has been crafting since 2014 when she saw string art online and instantly realized that she could make it herself. She figured out how to design, hammer and string her own creation, and when friends and family would visit her home, they began asking where her artwork was from. “When I told them I made it myself, they asked if I could make something for them as well,” said Shelly. “That’s before social media was what it is today, so there was no online advertising, it was just word of mouth.” So, Shelly launched Strung Out by Shelly in 2014 and began taking orders, as well as hosting house parties where she would instruct a group and walk them through how to properly hammer the chosen design and wrap the string in the correct way to look its absolute best. “My first ever house party was for Fit4Mom East Contra Costa and it sort of exploded from there. I saw that people were doing paint parties and craft parties, and I thought what I was doing could easily be enjoyed in a group setting similar to that but something different and new. Nobody else was doing it. It was a lot of fun.” Shelly’s idea was a hit and she quickly ended up hosting three to five parties every weekend.

After rapidly filling her schedule with destinations around the Bay Area, Shelly thought maybe a brick and mortar would be more realistic to maximize her time. When she saw that a storefront was leaving the Vic Stewart’s shopping center, she figured it was worth looking into. Once the wheels started turning, Shelly reached out to the property owner and ended up with a beautiful corner space and opened it as The Craft Room. “I figured instead of traveling around and lugging my hammers all over town and beyond, they could come to me,” said Shelly. “It made sense, so I went for it and officially opened in 2019.” Shelly switched the name of her business to keep things more open ended and provide the opportunity to try new things. And that’s exactly what she did. “I could try whatever I wanted to try. We did do the string art, we also did painting and crafting. It was also nice to rent the space out to others to host their own events and workshops like cookie decorating, succulent arrangements, charcuterie board building, you name it.” 

After being open for one year, the pandemic shut down The Craft Room for thirteen months. When Shelly was finally given the green light to reopen, business picked back up rapidly. Businesses and residents were eager to get back to living their lives and seeing each other, which was great for business but overwhelming in the same vein. “When I re-opened, I needed to take everything I could get to make up for that lost year,” said Shelly. “That escalated from manageable to chaotic almost instantly, and what began as something where I could make my own hours and still be at home when I needed to, turned into working seven days a week, 12-hour days.” Shelly knew that the new schedule was not sustainable for her long-term, so in May 2022, she closed The Craft Room. “I knew that I needed to slow down so I could be there for my kids. The amount of time required to run the business had made it too difficult to give my family what I wanted to.”

Despite closing her doors, Shelly knew that she never wanted to fully stop crafting. After taking the summer of 2022 off to decompress and be present for her family, Shelly was able to sit down and decide what the future looked like for her community involvement. “Once my kids went back to school, I launched my most recent endeavor, Creating Sunshine Collective,” said Shelly. “It has allowed me to be back in full control of my time and schedule while still offering my string art that I’m known for.” Creating Sunshine Collective offers DIY string art kits where customers can select a theme, either one of the 30 that Shelly currently has or one that is completely customized, and the size of the board, 3.5”x3.5”, 6”x6” or 8”x8” (or possibly larger per the customer’s request). Then individuals are given the pre-drawn and hammered boards, string and instructions. “The kits are popular for kids’ birthday parties. I do always suggest these kits for kids age six and up. It really depends on how hands-on the help is.”

Creating Sunshine Collective also offers themed craft boxes, full of items to make art projects within the selected theme. “I just did a Taylor Swift themed box with disco balls and guitars. People can select any kind of theme, and I’ll put boxes together for them. You’re having a dinosaur themed party? Perfect! I can do anything you think of.” Everything Shelly offers is still art based and still DIY and customized as much as possible. As for the future of Creating Sunshine Collective and everyone’s favorite string art gal, Shelly says to be on the lookout for summer craft boxes, perfect for kids while they’re out of school and needing something creative to do, as well as possibly attending future Maker’s Boulevard with her arts and crafts. “I know that I always want to be crafting. I love our community so much that I always want to be part of it and involved somehow.”

IG: creatingsunshinecollective


by Michelle Lassle
photos by Sara Jean Photography 



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