Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Milwaukee artist opens gallery to create inspiration and community

NOW: Natalie’s Everyday Heroes: Milwaukee artist opens gallery to create inspiration and community

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The life of an artist can be a lonely one. Many work by themselves all day long.

That's what inspired Janelle Gramling to start Tooth and Nail Studio and Gallery last fall.

It's a space for teaching and creating together. Her goal is to bring artists together to share their talents with the community.

"Little bit of water, sticking it to the wheel," Shelby Page said, slowly applying a wet sponge to the wheel.

Making pottery looks relaxing. The rhythmic spinning of the wheel.

"Approach really slow," she instructed.

The clay flying off in perfect symmetry.

"Ooh, oh boy," Page exclaimed, tapping a pot back to the center. 

Learning how to do it, though, is something else.

"There you go! Ope," she laughed.

It takes practice.

Something Page has a lot of.

"Nobody is perfect at it the first time. We're all in the same boat. We're all going to struggle. We're all going to get there," she said.

A professional potter, Page focuses on making functional pieces.

"Like the best compliment I can get is, I'm always so sad when your mug is in the dishwasher and I have to use a different one," she said.

Teaching is another way to make connections through her art.

"I am very hands-on, and I want to make sure people get the best experience they can with the class," she said.

"Her style as a teacher is a lot like her style as a potter. She's paying close attention to detail," said Janelle Gramling, of Page.

That's how Gramling knew Page would be perfect for her latest artistic endeavor.

"I think the community is thirsty for places where artists can come together and collaborate or learn from each other," Gramling said.

Gramling founded Tooth and Nail Studio and Gallery last October in Milwaukee's Lincoln Warehouse.

"There's definitely a lot of really talented makers and entrepreneurs in Milwaukee," she said of the city. 

Gramling is a sculptor working in mixed media.

"I've known it since I was a kid, and I mean all kids are artists. And I just never grew out of it," she laughed.

Here, artists can teach classes and also display their work.

"And when she offered, I was like, that is, if I could teach in the same space Janelle is in. Whew! That's cool," Page said excitedly, of the opportunity to teach here.

Page has experience teaching, but she also thinks about the encouragement she got from her own teachers.

"I had really great, dedicated teachers that really, really cared about ceramics," she said.

Tooth and Nail is offering all kinds of classes and workshops. Gramling's goal is to keep growing and collaborating.

"Art has a place in everybody's everyday life. Even people who say I'm not creative. There's a way of existing in your everyday life where you are creative. Whether that's cooking a meal or writing a letter," she said.

Finding inspiration in each other.

"That looks great," Page said, leaning over a student's work. 

And sharing their passion with everyone.

"Having a class full of people to be like, we're all here for the same reason, because we want to learn how to do this. Let's talk about it. Let's talk through it," Page said.

Tooth and Nail Studio and Gallery is offering a variety of classes and workshops. 

You can find Janelle Gramling's work at Tooth + Nail Studio Milwaukee and on Instagram at @Tooth_and_Nail_Milwaukee.

You can find Shelby Page's work at Shelby Page Ceramics and on Instagram at @ShelbyPageCeramics.

If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].

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