Pacific Beach offers many ways to jump-start your creativity in the new year

A nature-inspired colored pencil artwork by Judy Jacobs, a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America.
(Photo courtesy of Judy Jacobs)

Along with the new year often comes lots of broken promises — to ourselves.

We may keep up with our new exercise regime or better eating habits, especially if we have friends and family encouraging us. Cleaning and decluttering routines are easier once they become fixed, regular habits.

But when it comes to our mental health, it’s often easier to fall back into the same old negative, unfulfilling mindsets. Trying out a new artistic endeavor is a great way to boost confidence and self-esteem, and you might even discover a newfound skill while you’re at it.


Whether used for jewelry or art projects, beads have a wide range of appeal.

Beads and More, owned by husband and wife Juan and Julia Candillo, has been in business for more than 30 years, with Julia at the helm for 25 of those years in March.

Julia Candillo, owner of Beads and More, has worked on beading projects nearly every day since 1993.
Julia Candillo, owner of Beads and More, has worked on beading projects nearly every day since 1993 and said she never gets tired of it.
(Courtesy Beads and More)

“Beading is a great hobby, and for many, it’s almost like a meditation,” she said. “You can really lose yourself in the world of beading.”

Classes are offered at the Pacific Beach store in basic beading and wire wrapping by appointment.

But customers can also take part in free classes at nearly any time.

“We show people how to make jewelry on the spot; they pick the beads, we measure for them, and put on the clasp at the end, so they are basically making their own one-of-a-kind souvenir,” she said.

The shop offers beads from all over the world, made from a wide variety of materials. “Every bead has a piece of magic in it,” Julia Candillo added.

“Not only is it a fun hobby, but many of our customers now have side jobs selling their own jewelry,” she added.

A selection of stone beads from all over the world are available at Beads and More.
A selection of stone beads from all over the world are available at Beads and More; jewelry making is a great artistic endeavor to learn for the new year.
(Courtesy Beads and More)

Juan makes picture collages from broken beads so nothing is ever wasted. The shop also practices a type of recycling by taking in other’s unwanted bead collections.

All the supplies needed for beaded jewelry and art are available in the store, as well finished jewelry pieces and sea shells.

Beads and More is at 4150 Mission Blvd., Suite 111 in Pacific Beach. For details, visit its Facebook or Instagram sites, or call 858-483-4190.

Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are easy to find, inexpensive to purchase and can be used to dazzling effect.

The depth of color and painting effects able to be achieved with colored pencils has won over any artists who might not have considered them as professional tools.

Darcy Lohmann, Katherine Miller and Al Meloche working on their art during a San Diego Chapter meeting in Pacific Beach.
Darcy Lohmann, Katherine Miller and Al Meloche working on their art during a San Diego Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America meeting in Pacific Beach.
(Photo courtesy of CPSA - San Diego Chapter)

Further, they are lightweight, easy to carry and store, and can be used by artists of all ages.

Guests are welcome, and meeting topics range from remote classes to show and tell and even mini-workshops.

The Colored Pencil Society of America, San Diego Chapter 202, meets the second Saturday of each month at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library, 4275 Cass Street.

For more information, visit or the groups’s Facebook page.

Library Classes

The Pacific Beach/Taylor Library offers numerous free classes throughout the year, for ages ranging from toddler to adult.

Free materials are offered for many of the classes. Space is often limited, check beforehand to determine if pre-registration is required and note that many classes take place outdoors.

For details, visit the library at 4275 Cass Street, online at or call 858-581-9934.

Not sure which class might be right for you? Don’t be afraid to ask friends or school associates if they’re familiar with the instructors or classes. Often reviews can be found online. And sometimes a call to the organization can answer any lingering doubts about a specific skill.


According to Aaron Hughes, co-owner of Needlecraft Cottage in PB, studies have shown that needle crafts are a good way to relax, are excellent for improving hand/eye coordination and are great for creativity. The bonus is that there is often a useful product at the end of every project.

“It’s also a good way to cut back on screen time,” Hughes said.

The Cottage provides a number of classes catering to different skills. Beginning knitting and crochet classes are taught every month, as well as weaving classes on both a small loom and a larger floor loom.

Knit, crochet, living wreath (similar to basket making) and sewing classes are also offered. The Sweater Club teaches participants a new sweater pattern every two months. Needlepoint workshops and classes are offered a couple of times a year.

Counted cross stitch is among needlecraft options.
(tatyana batueva/Nicole’s -

Going into the new year, Hughes said sewing and quilting classes will be expanded, and cross stitch courses will be offered.

“We try to be open and welcoming to anyone who walks through our door, no matter their skill level,” Hughes said. “We want to build a community of like-minded crafters.”

To encourage camaraderie and shared experiences, the Cottage offers “open fibering” classes, allowing participants in any of the crafts to join together to complete projects or start new ones.

Supplies for all these classes and more are also for sale.

Needlecraft Cottage is at 870 Grand Ave. in Pacific Beach. Visit its Facebook or Instagram pages, call 858-272-8185 or email

Painting and Drawing

Think you can’t paint or draw? Well, think again — nearly everyone can improve their artistic skills with regular practice and some guidance from knowledgeable artists.

Art classes are available all over Pacific Beach. A good place to begin looking for artists and what they have to offer is the website of the San Diego Coastal Arts Studios Tour at

Offering once a year in Pacific Beach and adjoining Ocean Beach home studios, the materials used by the artists range from ceramics and class to metal and felt, and include oil, pastel and watercolor painting and drawings of all types.

Once on the website, a page of the previous year’s artists lists each by name, specialty and website, if they have one. Many of the artists named teach classes in their home studios. And supporting local artists in pursuit of your own skills is a definite win-win for the community.


The art of pottery has been around for centuries, and for many, being able to get their hands muddy is both relaxing and a way to get closer to nature.

Cool Creations Pottery and DIY Studio offers pottery wheel throwing, pottery painting, clay hand building and more.

In their dedicated wheel throwing room, lessons are available for beginning and experienced potters.

In the six-week adult classes or five-week youth classes, students are taught the fundamentals of centering, wedging, throwing, lifting, trimming and glazing.

In a fun, adults only “try it” class, a minimum of four persons engage in a 90-minute session learning basic pottery techniques; each person receives their own fired and glazed piece.

Cool Creations is at 1749 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach. Call 858-273-2837 or email

Sand Castle Sculpting

Everyone loves seeing sand castles on the beach, and it’s fun to learn to make your own!

According to San Diego San Castles’ website at, lessons are best suited for ages 9 and above, although younger kids might be interested, depending on the child.

The classes are taught at Crown Point Beach.

Whether fancy or simple, sand castles are something those of all ages can build when at the beach.
(kasto /

Many adults find the classes more fun than they even expected; many men, especially, seem to love cutting and carving the sand.

Since only wet sand is involved — there are no glues, adhesives or support structures — sand castles are considered all natural, environmentally friendly and lots of fun.

For details on sand castle sculpting, visit or call or text 619-200-0565.

Some other creative pursuits to consider include ceramics, sculpture, art journaling, public art, model making, glass blowing, stained glass, mosaics, woodcrafting and many more.

Remember that taking classes, especially in the creative arts, is about learning a new skill, but is also about making new friends and having fun. So enjoy yourself, and your new found creativity in 2023!