Tanya Ruffin is bringing life and fun back to the Capitol City through her Mid City operation, Create Studios. What began almost seven years ago has blossomed into a way for friends and strangers to come together over wine, beer, and sometimes even Raising Cane’s chicken fingers to find a little escape within the arts.
The born and raised Baton Rouge native attended Louisiana State University, obtaining a bachelor’s in fine arts and completing a master’s in art history. Continuing her time at LSU, Ruffin began to teach graphic design, moving on to the multimedia department, and eventually landing in her current occupation: social media coordinator for the LSU Ag Center. While Ruffin’s work was based in her artistic proclivity, she felt herself getting further away from art, and found herself in a self-described funk.
At the time, paint and sip places were beginning to take root in Baton Rouge, and while she was intrigued, her free-flowing spirit pushed her to want to do something a little different. She gravitated towards crafts and thus Create Studios was born.
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“I wanted a place for artistic people to come, and if you’re not artistic, you’re still welcome…People are often [brought] in by some of their friends to find out that they’re really good at all this,” Ruffin says.
First setting up shop above Burgersmith on Perkins, Create Studios began with etched wine glasses to get people involved and moved on to offer collage and resin crafts. After three-and-a-half years, though, Ruffin realized she wanted to have a space that was homier, not to mention closer to Baton Rouge’s artistic hub, Mid City and White Light Night for herself and her attendees.
It was then she packed up and moved Create Studios into a home that brings a sense of community into each class. She finds its easier on herself as well to come and get lost in the art stating she sometimes even stays up there until 1 a.m. working on projects.
Between the fireplace, tall tables with bar stools, and small, intimate classes, Ruffin built a low-stress, enjoyable workshop where people can step outside the constant flow of their lives and let loose. These kinds of settings also allow for people to feel more comfortable asking questions about their art that they wouldn’t feel in a larger class setting, she says.
“I feel like half of Baton Rouge knows my personal business because we’ll all just get together and chit chat,” Ruffin comments, “Art is very healing and cathartic. It takes you out of your analytical mind [to a point where] you’re just relaxing and enjoying yourself.”
Not only does she have her scheduled classes with set crafts, people can call and request customized workshops based on an idea they have that Ruffin makes a reality. Among her craft classes, she does, in fact, do painting classes, but they are typically personalized pop art like Paint Your Pet or experimental painting, she says.
Additionally, around the holidays, Ruffin will design on-theme classes throughout the months. In the past, for Halloween, she had incorporated a monster theme across the board, but in 2018 she focused her class around a Halloween junk journal and a dead fairy craft. Ruffin’s even discovered a way to re-use all the Mardi Gras beads we’ve gathered throughout the year. She has designed a class around creating sugar skull masks from beads as well as Mardi Gras beads chandeliers.
Ruffin’s vivacious mind is constantly on the look-out for innovative creations to add to Create Studios’ calendar and hopes in the future that it will become more of a “come as you please” workshop among artists in the city.
“My goal is to make sure everyone is happy—happy with what they made and [happy with the experience],” Ruffin says.