In the spotlight | “Do what I love”: an Ebensburg native turns his passion for art into business, workshops | Local News

EBENSBURG, Pa. — As a stay-at-home mom, artist, and teacher, Shawna Bothell craved interaction with her friends, but found herself falling behind in teaching because she would be socializing.

The Paint and Sip events host said it gave her the idea for the projects she offers at her company, The Porch Peddler’s Workshop.

The business, which opened last March, will reopen Monday noon in a new location at the Ebensburg Towne Center near the subway.

Bothell said that in the first eight months the business grew in popularity and outgrew its current location on South Center Street.

“I was always making my signs and selling my art on the side and selling it to friends and family, and from there it was in really high demand,” Bothell said.

“Being a mother of two, I couldn’t keep up, so I kind of had the idea of ​​’Why isn’t she hosting some events?’ – and I started doing it in people’s homes or in community halls.

She said the concept behind the business came from attending popular paint parties.

“I didn’t go out much, so it was my social time with my friends. And I’ve talked too much. And I always fell behind in what I was doing,” she said. “And I was like, ‘I wish I could go out and do what I love and be artistic, but I want to hang out with my friends. I want to talk. I want to catch up. It’s my time.’

“So it was like, ‘Why don’t I open a place where people can come and I don’t really teach?’ ”

Bothell said she started the instruction with woodcut so that a drawing could be followed.

“It’s all there for them already, so all they have to do is pick their colors,” she said. “So it’s very, very easy.

“I don’t teach there. They don’t have to come pay attention to me or listen to me. The atmosphere I wanted was to come and paint. Be creative. Come with your friends. Hang out. I will help you with the colors. I’ll help them with the mix, if they want to. But otherwise, they can just sit back and enjoy. It’s just a place to go and hang out, especially in this community, and they’re just free to do whatever they want and be creative.

The boutique’s first walk-in workshop, which began last fall, focused on ceramics – offered from 6 to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

Bothell said daily walk-in workshops will be added as the size of the new location expands.

“Instead of a specific project that we are working on, I will have an open workshop,” she said. “I’ll put them up on the wall with extra pieces behind them if you don’t have anything to do that day, you can come in and pick up a ceramic or pick up a piece of wood and just paint whatever you want.

“It’s great for friends, great for families.”

Another offer that the shop will be able to develop in the new space is children’s parties – which were previously limited in size – as well as workshops for children.

Bothell said the progress she’s made in a year has “blown my mind.”

More information about the Porch Peddler’s Workshop and upcoming workshops can be found at

“It’s something I’ve been doing since I was very young, (but) I never thought it would ever become a business,” she said. “It was kind of a hobby and something fun that I had always done, and now I have my own shop and I can share it with other people, and it’s so awesome to bring to Ebensburg.

“I wish we had something like this when I was growing up. I would have been there all the time.

Katie Smolen is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KSmolen1230.