While gazing over the sights of Binghamton’s industrial skyline, one can see smokestacks, factories and perhaps a few trucks. Through the piles of plywood and mounds of dust, the search for art (exhibits) can often be difficult. This year, however, that might change. Art studio Club Bling opened its doors for business Monday, exposing Binghamton to a more artistic world.
Approximately 13 years ago, Susan Jablon began teaching people the art of mosaics in Binghamton, encouraging her students to use their creativity. What started out as a small business quickly grew, with classes filling up quickly and demand for lessons heightening. Soon, Jablon had to expand her business to new art mediums, such as glass mosaic tiles. With her popularity rising, the need for a studio became apparent. What was once an abandoned warehouse on 10 Alice St. is now the new site of Club Bling, a mosaic art studio offering lessons to anyone willing to start decorating.
Walking into the studio, visitors are hit by a rainbow of colors. Upon closer inspection, each color is a jar filled with tiles. Some are glass and marble, others patterned and textured. Above these rows of jars are numerous hanging picture frames, mirrors, wood cutouts and birdcages. These are among the options that customers can choose for their mosaic base. The next room features a sleek white design, with high tables to craft upon. Sunshine fills the studio, creating a bright environment for aspiring artists.
While it may seem like just an art studio, Club Bling is already making quite an impression on the city. Mayor Matthew T. Ryan stopped by for the ribbon cutting on Sept. 30, calling Club Bling a business with “unlimited potential.” He spoke with enthusiasm about Binghamton’s move toward the arts and seemed confident about the studio’s future. “It’s a good sign when you see an industrial area start to be repurposed. We’ve already seen other parts of Binghamton be renovated into lofts spaces and restaurants, and this is another part [seeing such a change],” Ryan said.
Even though the studio just opened, art from Club Bling can already be seen Downtown. You might have noticed the mosaic pieces alongside the beginning of the Court Street bridge and at Simply Sweet, a frozen yogurt shop that’s opening on Washington Street.
“The purpose of our business is to bring joy and happiness and beauty back to the city of Binghamton,” founder Jablon said. It’s clear that she is extremely passionate about her work. “I’ve been doing this for the past 13 years, and I plan on doing it for the rest of my life.”
For those worried about their artistic ability (or lack thereof), Club Bling welcomes all experience levels. They offer classes for beginners, those who want to work with more difficult mediums like stained glass, those who want to make holiday gifts and those who want to roam free with their art.
“We have the space to put the bling back in Bing,” Jablon said.