'Ready for spring': Mitchell decor-making business brings community together with spring planter workshop

Mar. 12—It's been a long winter for South Dakotans, but it isn't stopping a Mitchell business owner from thinking of spring and warmer days ahead.

As people funneled through the doors of Board & Brush on Saturday in downtown Mitchell, Jen Shepherd and her team of instructors greeted them with a workshop that guided them through the art of making spring planters.

"I'm ready for spring. We're always planning ahead for the seasons as well, and this workshop gets you ready to get those spring plants planted when nature cooperates," Shepherd said.

With a full class on Saturday, Shepherd wasn't alone in thinking spring. The workshop was one of many Board & Brush has hosted since opening roughly a year ago.

While the workshops are instructed and led by Shepherd and fellow instructors, she said the setup is designed to give each participant "total freedom" to make their own ideas come to life.

"For every different workshop, we have different designs. They get to pick their project when they go in, and we edit our stencils to fit their personalization and cut them," Shepherd said.

Some of the workshops guide participants how to make wall signs, cornhole tables or functioning decor pieces. The blank canvas for Saturday's spring planter workshop was pre-built wood planters that were transformed into colorful, rustic planters with designs.

"We guide them through every step so nobody is lost. They will learn how to do it all," she said. "We provide all the materials, the stains, brushes and paint. The best part is is you come in and make a mess and we clean it up for you when you're done."

The designs that are painted on the creations during each workshop are stencil cutouts, which avoids having to freehand the designs. Shepherd said the stencil aspect makes it "less intimidating" for people to get their hands dirty and create something they may have thought they weren't capable of before.

Among the mediums used to make the crafts and works of art are meat tenderizers, drills, hammers, paints and other unique tools. And each tool is intended to enhance the overall design and look of the creations.

"They use tools — which we call weapons — like the hammers, meat tenderizers and chicken wire, for example. They will put all the imprints and twists in," she said. "They are destressing the wood with their weapons."

The creative atmosphere is set with music playing in the background. Alcoholic beverages are also available for those who want to take the edge off while crafting works of art.

Since opening, Shepherd said she's hosted workshops for a wide array of groups, ranging from teams of employees, teachers, families and couples. She pointed to the workshops as an avenue for anyone looking to socialize and have fun while getting creative.