PLANT CITY Every class has one.
“He’s teacher’s pet,” said Deborah Graves, waving toward David Alvarez, sitting across from her at the table. Heads bobbed in agreement.
“I’ve taken plenty of art classes,” Alvarez said, not bothering to deny the friendly accusation.
The two were part of a recent Tuesday evening class creating hand-made Valentine’s Day cards at the Bruton Memorial Library, led by instructor Z Marie of RSVP by Z Marie.
“She did one program in December on holiday card making and it was really well received,” said Adult Services Librarian Lisa Kreutter. “The crafting programs have been the most popular (events).”
“She’s very good,” said participant Julie Woofter, who attended the December class and liked it so much she returned to make the valentine. “It’s like a puzzle; you just jazz it up. But at home, you can do anything.”
Z Marie’s creations are mixed-media affairs, using paper, feathers, recycled fabric and rhinestones. “I love bling. Rhinestones are like in the top five things I have to have,” said Z Marie.
Z Marie, aka Zeheria Marie Brown, is a Plant City native who graduated from Plant City High School, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tampa and her Executive MBA from the University of Miami. When not at work in the corporate world, the wife and mother of two lets her card-creativity run wild.
That outlet bloomed seven years ago when her mother-in-law planned a baby shower for Z Marie’s first child. The selection of invitations proved uninspiring, so she made her own. “It was a way to be a part of the event,” she said. “The evolution continued with friends and family.”
In September she began posting DYI videos on YouTube to share how her creations are constructed. “I have all these ideas. I’m constantly thinking of new things,” said Z Marie. “It’s not a boring thing. It can be fun, it can be exciting.”
In preparation for the class, Z Marie created an online tutorial, so participants, or anyone, could reference the instructions.
The tools are simple: a template, card stock or paper, scissors, glue and whatever else fires the imagination.
“I take them from time zero, and build from there. We go step by step by step.”
Z Marie walked the 17 participants through cutting templates, selecting feathers and building layer upon layer for the three-dimensional effect. “Would you let her go out of the house with a skirt like that? She’s fluffy, she’s ready for her ballerina debut. Who needs glue?”
The 1 1/2-hour class was just long enough to create the Valentine’s Day masterpieces, each one slightly unique.
Teacher’s pet Alvaraz said his valentine would go to his wife, Jeanean. “I better.” His wife one-upped his declaration. “I’m giving (mine) to his mother.”
Participants don’t just leave with a handmade card, said Z Marie. “It’s to get their creative juices flowing and have a different way to look at paper crafting.”
To see RSVP by Z Marie on YouTube, go to :http://www.youtube.com/user/rsvpbyzmarie
The Bruton Memorial Library is at 302 W. McClelndon St. in Plant City, and can be reached by telephone at (813) 757-9215. For more information on adult programs, contact Adult Services Librarian Lisa Kreutter at extension 23.