If you are a regular visitor to the Asheville Date Night website and social feeds, you know that we are BIG fans of gifting experiences to those who make us happy on this planet. Sure, gifting tangible ‘things’ has a place, but experiences linger longer in the mosaic of our memories. Also, according to some studies, one in seven Americans has a room in their home they cannot use because it is filled with things they rarely use.
Fortunately, we live in an area rich with folks brimming with novel ideas about how to spend time, so we stay pretty busy.
Our latest ‘hands-on experience’ date discovery not only provides an amazing day you will not forget, but you also still get the ‘thing’ to remember it by – which happens to take up very little space, is easily accessible, lasts a lifetime and just might become an heirloom – and, it is 100% customized to you and the lucky partner of your choosing. Also, you can literally wear it on your hand, so we’re not kidding about ‘hands-on.’
Design and Make Your Own Masterpiece
Visions of Creation Gallery in Black Mountain showcases the work of Roberto Vengeochea, a Colombian-born artist who came to the U.S. as a young man and rather unexpectedly found his calling as a jewelry designer. He has been at it for over fifty years since, and he is still at the bench – and you can join him and make a piece of your own. Upon entering this dynamic space in downtown Black Mountain, you’d likely think the gallery houses the work of several jewelers.
The pieces – pendants, rings, earrings, even belt buckles – range from sculpturally ornate to streamlined contemporary, with stones, settings and precious metals to suit a wide variety of tastes and personal aesthetics. But with a few exceptions, they are all Roberto, his Visions of Creation, beautifully curated by his gallerist wife June, who manages and runs the studio and gallery. When we found out we too could ‘make our own rings’ by signing up for a class with Roberto, we didn’t really believe it. Not like these. Not for real.
This all day 8-hour class (or split into 2 half days), is reserved for two people only, perfect for a private creative date experience. Roberto will chat with you about your own vision for a piece. If you are unsure of the direction you want to take, don’t fret, he can provide plenty of suggestions to spark ideas.
He will then work with you to make a sketch of the design concept; then it’s time to pick out your stone. Yes – you get to pick out your own stone! This part is super fun – think ‘kid in a candy store’ – choose from semi-precious stones in various shapes, including amethyst, blue topaz, citrine, garnet and peridot. Have your own stone? Bring it as an option. Our advice when picking a stone is to let it pick you. Both of us thought we knew what stone we wanted, and then totally changed course, with no regrets.
Now it’s time to get to work, and Roberto will demonstrate techniques and guide you every step of the way. You’ll cut the metal, file and smooth the rough design, hammer and solder the ring’s size, shape and bezel, and set the stone. Filing and cleaning the piece followed by the magical process of polishing the piece – we dare you not to be a little giddy during this step – and you’ll have your very own, made-by-you, one-of-a-kind ring.
Because all hard work deserves a reward – in addition to that stunner now on your finger – Roberto and June recognize your achievement with a champagne toast accompanied by a cheese plate and truffles, all locally sourced. It’s a moment to sit back and congratulate yourself, and it feels pretty amazing, let us tell you.
Don’t worry about your friends not believing that you made the ring – June will take loads of videos and photos on your phone while you are creating so that you leave with a tidy photo/video essay documenting your experience – also evidence to share with any future naysayers, and to enjoy when you need reminding that you are awesome.
Who should do it?
There is NO experience necessary for this class, for real. We actually cannot stop coming up with reasons to partake of this private and super unique experience. Obviously, it’s great for couples, super fun to do with a close friend or relative, and creates a mother/daughter outing never to be forgotten.
It’s an amazing way to commemorate an anniversary, graduation, birthday or significant personal achievement or goal met. Or maybe you’re the type who secretly designs stuff in your head, and you need an outlet. Or maybe you just think there is no way YOU could make a ring. In this case – definitely sign up! You will gain a keen appreciation for what exactly goes into making a ring or other piece of metal jewelry.
It’s rare to find a creative date experience that allows you to craft something unique of your own, in the course of one day, that you will have forever, and is made of materials that last. The holiday season is coming, we dare you to find a more unique experience rolled into a gift than this!
Find more details and book your class here:
Visions of Creation Studio and Gallery
100 Cherry Street
Black Mountain, NC
Cost: $350 pp, including all materials, tools and instruction, documentation of your experience, and a tasty champagne toast to celebrate. The all day option also includes lunch.