by Elli Metz
February 26, 2001
Rich, the owner's husband, a hulk of a man that looks a whole lot like Santa Claus in a T-shirt, is often behind the counter, and will regale you with stories of being a male stamper, and show you his artwork with very little provocation. Sandi, the other store employee, appears a little gruff at first sight, but is always willing to share techniques and point you in the right direction for the supply or stamp you're looking for.
My only complaint is that it's too far away for frequent trips. From Riverside's downtown, you're looking at around a half-hour depending on traffic, which is a deterrent to some. (Go south on the 215 until you get to the 4th street exit. Go right until the road stops in a T-junction, then left again. At Goetz Road, turn right and follow it all the way into Lake Elsinore. Turn left at Diamond Drive. ALB is sandwiched between Pizza Hut and the car wash in a little strip mall. If you can find the mall, you can't miss it.)
Still, if you have some cash to blow on your art supplies, this is the place for you. It's well-worth the hour commuting time, if you've got good reason to be there. (And yes, "I want to shop" is a good enough reason.)
ALB also holds classes nearly every weekend -- sometimes two or three -- on things like bookmaking, technique, and make-it-take-it projects. In nearly all the classes, you'll bring home a completed work. ALB charges no facilities fees, so the cost is much lower than at some other stores. (Most of them are under $20, including all materials.)
In addition, if you happen to be around for the first Friday of every month, there is a fabulous "Un-Club" that meets after store hours. You sit with other stampers/artists and just play. No rules, no dues -- bring a project of your own or buy something at the store that you want to work on. It's like an artist's guild for paper artists and stampers.
This place is a must-see if you're into this kind of thing.
From journal The Last Oasis: Riverside, CA