May 7 2014 12:00 AM

Tipsy by Design

Old Town gained a new art gallery last week, bringing the number of art-related businesses within a threeblock radius to roughly 800. But Tipsy by Design has a few things going on to differentiate it from the others. Notably, the retail side of the business is focused on a particular type of work: Hand-painted wine glasses.

“I found my calling,” said owner/operator Linda Savage. “I like to drink wine and I like to paint.”

Savage opened Tipsy in the Lansing City Market in Christmas 2012. She said business was good enough to warrant the move to Old Town, taking over the former digs of By the Riverside, 1209 Turner St., which closed earlier this year. Her friendship with an architect/ artist in Michigan State University’s master of fine arts degree program gave her the idea to go the brickand-mortar route.

“I thought it would be a great place for him to make his art, for me to sell my art and to do some teaching as well,” she said. “There’s a lot of possibility here.”

Savage said she started painting when she was a little girl with her father, Terry Savage. She said her father did a lot of commercial work in the Lansing area in the 1970s, including the sign on the side of Jim’s Tiffany Place downtown. His creative output inspired her career.

“He was an Old Town artist before there was an Old Town,” Savage said. “I thought opening the store in this neighborhood was a beautiful way to honor him.”

Tipsy specializes in stemware, mugs and tabletop items. Savage said she sells some pre-painted glasses and gift baskets — especially during the holidays — but mostly does custom requests. She started with wine glasses and bottles and branched out to include items such as beer mugs and a hookah painted to look like the “I Dream of Jeanie” bottle.

“I painted winking eyes on glasses to match it,” Savage said. “The client was very happy.”

She specializes in human figures, but said she can do just about anything a client wants.

“They’re really popular for birthday and bachelorette parties,” she said.

Art classes are another facet Savage plans to focus on. Summer classes start next week, with half-off specials for people who sign up for 20 classes ($150).

“We’re also planning to hold after-hour events, painting in the park and street art,” she said. “We’ll have older artists mentoring young adults, who teach young artists. Kind of a payit-forward thing.”

The gallery will also be home to Savage’s nonprofit group, Greater Lansing Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

“We teach young artists in music and visual arts how to do the marketing side of that craft,” Savage said. “If they want to go professional, marketing is the most challenging aspect. You have to have time to do that and still do art.”

She said there are six people in the program now, ranging in age from 16 to 25. That side of her workday is designed to handle a lot of growth.

“If it expands, we’ll just have to find a bigger location, she said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

Tipsy By Design 1209 Turner St., Lansing 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday (or by appointment) (517) 927-6576