Craft Carousel volunteer shares wide spectrum of skills and a caring spirit

The Craft Carousel Gift Shop at the Community Recreation Center, 6842 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, CO 80003, received a special gift when Kathy Mitchell first showed up in 2009. She started out as a consignor, later became a volunteer in the shop, currently serves as co-chair on the Craft Carousel board of directors, and created the shop’s new website,

Luckily for the Craft Carousel, Kathy has always believed that her energy and talent are for sharing. Taking on volunteer and leadership roles are second nature to her, as is her love of learning and applying new and existing skills to rapidly changing life situations. “That’s how I was designed,” she says.

Kathy clearly possesses abundant energy and willingness to jump into life with both feet. She spent many years teaching art at Arvada’s Maranatha Christian Center, and now is a part-time affiliate instructor at Colorado Christian University, with a master’s degree in instructional design. She also works as a floral designer for Statice Floral. She’s also preparing for a trip to Uganda with the Reach One Touch One Ministries program with CRC supervisor Nancy Wellnitz.

When discussing these many endeavors, her focus is on two things: how she can best put her skills to good use in any given situation, and what she can do for others. She is an advocate of lifelong learning, personal growth and being open to new things: “Always put yourself in places where you are worked on.”

It was Kathy’s creative and designing self that got her in the door at the Community Recreation Center five years ago. As an artist and crafter for most of her life, she knew community was important—and the Craft Carousel proved to be the right spot for friendship, creative feedback and a place to display and sell her crafts.

Kathy focuses on fabric arts, and her favorite source for supplies are thrift stores. She enjoys finding and repurposing fabrics, yarns, floral wreaths and all sorts of other items at thrift stores. “It’s a game to see what I can find to make something nice,” she says. Kathy’s Craft Carousel creations cover a wide range, but her cozy felted wool mittens are top sellers.

In the Craft Carousel, each item is a unique handmade creation, yet there’s a constant need for variety, seasonal offerings, and gifts for many occasions. That makes pricing and inventory a delicate balance of many factors.

This is one reason why support and feedback is important to Kathy, the shop’s many other consignors, and the Craft Carousel itself. By offering mutual guidance, they create a community that serves each other as well as the Community Recreation Center. When it succeeds, the community benefits; 20% of sales are donated to the shop, which in turn donates funds to the Center for various special projects.

Sales have been on an upswing lately, Kathy says, with record sales in 2013 and numbers in 2014 slightly ahead of last year. The consignors, board and volunteers are all gearing up for the holiday season ahead, and particularly the annual Craft Fair on Friday, November 7 from 6-8:30 pm and Saturday, November 8 from 9 am to 3 pm.

The shop is located at 6842 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada. The Community Recreation Center hosts adult activities and fitness programs for Apex Park and Recreation District.

To get a flavor of what the Craft Carousel Gift Shop has to offer, visit Better yet, stop by the shop during their regular business hours: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm weekdays. If you’re interested in consigning or volunteering, call 303.467.7198. This community of local, talented and civic-minded artists is well worth your interest and support!