Meet the Makers Seaside at Ventura Harbor Village

Some of the incredibly inspiring local creatives who share their work with the community.

Living in Ventura, residents appreciate that a large part of what makes Ventura so unique are the incredibly inspiring local creatives who share their work with the community. Ventura Harbor Village has launched a DIY Meet the Makers Tour – taking you on a journey to meet soap makers, fine artisans, ceramists, and chocolatiers while also being surrounded on the way with kelp and Channel Island artistic inlays in the ground, tile murals, and wind sculptures.  Makers and artisans at the Ventura Harbor Village make up cooperative spaces, boutiques, galleries, and stores where even the customer becomes the maker.

Such is the vision of Shana Elson, owner and head chocolatier of Top This Chocolate, the first customizable on-the-spot chocolate store where customers can design their own chocolate bars from a selection of 40 toppings.  Each creation is made with 100% cocoa butter,  Fair Trade Certified, is non-GMO and gluten free!  This chocolate shop pulls out all the stops to provide the ultimate chocolate experience and can be ready in less than 10 minutes.

Harbor Village Gallery & Gifts nearby, features a collaboration of resident artists from the Buenaventura Art Association, a 66-year-old foundational non-profit connecting artists to the community and each other.  This gallery and store highlights fine art and crafts ranging from photography, painting in all mediums, jewelry, textiles, glass, prints, greeting cards, local seascapes, and much more to feature that local vibe in your home.

Ventura Pottery Gallery just around the corner, is home to more than 40 local ceramists. When visiting the gallery you will discover a wide variety of ceramic art, from functional and sculptural, hand built to wheel thrown, and earth tones to vibrant colors.  You may even catch one of the artists in action inside this colorful and vibrant gallery and boutique.

Tina O’Brien, resident artist and owner of the Mermaid Gallery, can be seen painting in the store regularly. Mermaid Gallery, which is a combination art studio, gallery and gift shop, features whimsical watercolors of mermaids, sea creatures, sea turtles, while capturing scenes of the beautiful Ventura Coast in her original art pieces – plus the store offers beach and mermaid décor galore!  Customers can work with O’Brien to have a piece commissioned for their home as well.

Lemon & Lei is a unique boutique soap and bath shop by local maker Katie Adams, featuring her Ventura body collection line that is both fun and whimsical.  Popular bath bombs with a variety of themes, and soap that almost looks good enough to eat, are some of the products that provide a colorful bath experience in the store and at home. Her bath and body products are free from harmful chemicals and ingredients, environmentally safe and cruelty free.  Shoppers can catch a glimpse of the soap process in her store.

Recently joining the Ventura Harbor Village family in early 2021 are the owners and bakers of Sugar Lab Bake Shop, a mother-daughter team Kelly Shirk and Alison Kenis, bringing their scratch-baked goodness to the seaside. Their handmade, small batch process ensures a high-quality product that is baked fresh daily.

To watch the DIY Meet the Makers Tour or to and to learn more about these creatives themselves visit

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