The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Canterbury’s first comprehensive art studio is now open

Canterbury’s first comprehensive art and handcraft workshop has opened its doors.

Despite only being open for less than a week, Stefanie’s Art Studio has already pulled in many interested customers – including one that Director Abby Liu found very touching.

She says: “We had one little girl who was very shy at first. But once she started to make her phone case, she started to become brighter and more confident.

“It really makes me feel I’m doing something right when I see kids become more comfortable with themselves and their artworks.”

The studio is filled to the brim with charm at every corner.

It was this love of creativity that only comes from children that inspired Abby and her partner, COO Stefan Liu, to open the workshop — as they share a very artistic young daughter.

“She loves creative design, especially hand-painting. It was a good opportunity for us to combine our expertise with the things our daughter loves,” says Stefan.

The workshop offers very unique activities that won’t be found anywhere else in Canterbury, or possibly even the majority of the UK.

One very niche art form explored in the sessions involves a little-known substance called cream gel, which Abby describes as a type of coloured glue which can be used to paint surfaces and stick on small accessories.

“It’s very stable and can be used to stick on anything, like a pencil case, phone case or even bottles,” she says.

Commenting on what sets the workshop apart from others, Abby explained how she noticed that most workshops specialise in a specific art form, such as painting or clay sculpting. Stefanie’s Art Studio aims to be more diverse, offering a combination of all types of art.

Tons of adorable figurines are on offer for those looking to decorate their piece with quirky characters.

As well as happy customers, the staff were also beaming with delight.

“I got my dream job and I’m so lucky,” says graphic designer Amanda Liu.

“I feel so happy being able to draw literally every day, it’s been great,” adds fellow graphic designer Amy Brooks.

“What I really like here is that we can draw whatever we feel — we’re allowed to go crazy and there are no limits on what we can design,” fashion designer Frangos Skenter says.

There is an entire spectrum of colour when it comes to the hundreds of decorative pieces available.

As for what the studio has in store in the future, Abby said she plans to introduce more session types, including more advanced classes such as a candle-making workshop. She also wants to provide certificates for people who progress through the more professional classes.

“People with very basic skills can start at a beginner level, but later on, if they find something more complex which they really want to do, we can help them do more and dig deeper,” she says.

The company are also responsible for the Flying Fat Sheep, an apparel and accessory brand with adorable animal characters that also serve as the studio’s mascots. There are animated stories for children over on the official YouTube channel, featuring very cute and colourful tales.

You can book a session at Stefanie’s Art Studio now at the company’s official website, which offers classes for individuals as well as parties and private hires. You can find it at the Canterbury Innovation Centre on University Road.