Brightly colored glass hangs in the windows and a bell chimes as anyone enters Mosaic Madness.
The hands-on art shop is nestled on College Street in Downtown Waxahachie, and its tagline prepares people for the experience they’ll soon enjoy: “You break it - you make it.”
The shop allows patrons to sit down, relax and create a piece of art unique to them.
Owner Claire Conn said the shop is open year round, but summer it the busiest time.
“We get lots of kids and family in during the summertime,” she said. “Anytime we’re open you can come in and create your own mosaic.”
Conn has owned the shop since 2012 but worked there before that. She started as a part-time employee as she went to school to be an elementary teacher at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
“I just fell in love with it,” she said.
Conn received her degree, but she spends her days in the studio teaching people how to do mosaics instead of the classroom.
“I still get to teach, but I get to teach mosaics,” she noted.
Since owning Mosaic Madness, the shop has received quite a bit of recognition. In 2017, the Texas Travel Industry Association recognized the shop as Texas top attraction, tying it with AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
“I guess they really liked us,” Conn said.
The award hangs proudly behind the counter Conn sits at as she answers calls and later fluttered around the room to help people with their masterpieces.
During the summer months, Conn said the shop sees anywhere from 10 to 30 people a day.
“Since we just take walk-ins you never know what each day will bring,” she explained.
Conn noted that more people tend to come in on Saturdays and recently she has seen an influx in out-of-town visitors.
“People come in, we’ll get you started and you just go at your own pace,” Conn added.
To get started, a patron will walk in and find their base piece. These pieces range in size and shapes like crosses, hearts, trees and letters. Each of these has a small price tag attached which accounts for all the materials one would need to create their dream piece, Conn said.
“We have lots of shapes to pick from,” she noted.
After a shape is selected and purchased, customers can head to the front wall lined with buckets brimming with tumbled shards of glass ready to be used. The colors and textures vary from bucket to bucket, but when it comes to a mosaic there are no limitations.
The shop is a great place to relax and be artistic, she noted. It’s open to all ages and group sizes.
“You don’t have to be artistic,” she said. “Anyone can make a mosaic.”
On a Thursday afternoon, the shop is quiet, but the people inside are lost in their own adventures for the day.
Closest to the front door sits, Cheyenne Smith, 18, and Andrew Bynum, 19.
“We have no idea why we came here. I just wanted to go to downtown Waxahachie and he recommended Mosaic Madness,” Smith said.
They methodically work on their joint piece: a “LOVE” sign. Before gluing anything to the board the duo decided what colors to use: blue, purple, white and yellow. Blue is his favorite color, and purple is hers. As for the white and yellow, they just look good with the rest, Smith said.
Bynum drew straight lines across the LOVE to section off where the colors would be placed. White was at the top followed by yellow, purple and blue.
“We’re making it organized and messy at the same time,” Smith said. “It’s way easier than we thought it would be.”
The two had been to the shop when they were younger, but this the first time the couple had been together. They have been dating for almost a year, and this mini date was a nice way to do something new.
“It’s just a fun little date,” Bynum said. “It gives us something we can keep for as long as we want.”
Across the shop from Bynum and Smith was Audrey and Chance Reep.
Audrey watched her son work on his palm tree mosaic as her Pokemon sat unfinished in front of her. She smiled as he cut the dull green shards of glass to make into palm leaves.
The two wanted to do something creative before going to a dentist appointment at 2 p.m. Audrey said she wanted to make the trip to Waxahachie from Ferris worth the 45-minute drive.
Plus, Chance, 8, loves Mosaic Madness.
“He came in last Saturday and he fell in love with it the first time,” Audrey explained. “I’ve heard since Saturday, ‘Mom, can we go back to Mosaic Madness. Can we go back? Can we go back?’”
Chance said he likes “mostly everything” about the store and couldn’t give a specific reason.
“I don’t know, I just like it,” he said. “It’s really creative.”
Glass is now his favorite art medium to work and wants to be an artist when he grows up.