Joyce Bottone’s Artful Touch

Several years ago at the Maker Faire, Suzanne Allen met Joyce Bottone. As Joyce described her Riverside Avenue studio, Suzanne was impressed by her gentle manner, enthusiasm and philosophy of teaching art.

Two years later — searching for an art class for her young son — Suzanne remembered Joyce.

“Every week I look forward to my commute from work on I-95 — hard to believe! — because I can pick up my son at her studio,” Suzanne says.

Joyce  Bottone

Joyce Bottone

“It’s a lovely, small, intimate space with peaceful views of the river. Joyce is kind, patient and fun. She keeps my active 4-year-old engaged, even at the end of the day.”

When Joyce picks him up he is covered in paint, glue and foam. He can’t wait to show off his latest “masterpiece.”

“Joyce loves to create,” Suzanne says. “She encourages children to use their own curiosity to explore materials in their own way. There are no cookie-cutter projects.”

She adds, “Moms and babysitters don’t make the art. I’ve seen that in other settings!”

Joyce grew up in Westport, and always loved art. After graduating from Staples in 1982, she went to college to become a teacher. But graphic design became her passion, and she got a job with a tech company.

She stayed home after her kids were born. She began scrapbooking, stamping and planning children’s birthday parties.

Her oldest is now in college. When Joyce heard about vacant space next to Junior’s Hot Dog Stand, her husband encouraged her to snag it as a studio.

Creativity flourishes in Joyce Bottone's classes.

Creativity flourishes in Joyce Bottone’s classes.

She calls it Joy2Crafts. Joyce organizes small classes, sets up stations, and lets youngsters create.

Her role, she says, is “helping people discover their inner flair. Everyone is so driven around here. The gift of art lets you think on your own.” She loves “seeing kids being quiet, doing things by themselves and then sharing them.”

Some children dive in, mixing every color together. Others are meticulous. She lets each child discover his or her own style.

The other day, a boy drew pumpkins. Then he added faces. As he worked, he sang.

More fun at Joy2Crafts.

More fun at Joy2Crafts.

“The kids are so excited,” she says. “It’s humbling for me to see.”

She clearly strikes a chord. One boy’s parents drive him every week from Darien.

But the future is uncertain. Joyce barely makes her rent. There’s no insulation, so her winter heating bills are huge.

She’s an art teacher, not a marketer. She hasn’t gotten the word out about her studio, and not until the end of our conversation does she mention that it’s the perfect place for birthday parties.

But Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holidays are near. And Joyce has some fantastic projects in mind for the kids who come.

10 responses to “Joyce Bottone’s Artful Touch

  1. Wanda Tedesco

    Joyce is special and so is her studio. If you haven’t been there it’s time to go. Let your children enjoy their creative spirit without a cell phone or a keyboard.

  2. I totally agree, her space is a delight to be present in. I am so glad my daughter has had several opportunities to create there!
    If you haven’t been, go.

  3. Megan Acquino Slingo

    I am so excited for Joyce!! The space next to Juniors is a perfect location!! I will definitely be posting this to my Facebook. a similar business in Monroe just opened up..and it is really starting to take off…I hope the same happens for Joy2crafts!!!

  4. I would love something like thisa for us non-children too!

  5. I don’t know where this is located, but it sounds amazing. I’d love to do something similar someday in my own community. Perhaps someone needs to do some pro-bono marketing to help Joyce get off the ground? Does she use Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter? Send out a press release to local media?

  6. Joyce is one of the nicest people in Westport and very talented. She is also very gentle which makes her wonderful with children. i wish my kids were still little and I could send them to Joy2crafts.

  7. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Perhaps get together with the Westport Library Children’s Librarian? (I must assume there is one!). A good way to promote both books and art.

  8. Joyce is a great teacher for adults, as well. Friends and I have enjoyed card-making with her on several occasions. Her amazing talents shine through in everything she does. Visit her at her studio. You will be so happy to have done so!

  9. This reminds me so much of the wonderful art classes my kids had with Holly Maybruck. At a very young age, through art, she introduced them to concepts such as colors, shapes, contrast. I still have the very first “art” my kids made in her program. If Joyce is offering anything similar– I encourage all young children to attend; Art, like music, is awakens imagination and instills a passion for learning.

  10. I think that is such a cute idea, actually I know a lot of grown ups looking for a ceramic class, there use to be a few around at homes in Norwalk and they did 4 nites a week with 8 people to a class and they were signed up for the season, it was steady cash and a lot of fun for Woman looking for the one night a week out!