Meet Delanie Holton-Fessler | Owner of Craftsman + Apprentice

Hi Delanie!  Can you tell us your story leading up to owning Craftsman and Apprentice?

  • My name is Delanie Holton-Fessler. Before opening Craftsman & Apprentice in 2014, I was an elementary school art teacher and artist. I have two sons who are now 13 and 16. When they became school-aged, I wanted to do something that would enable me to spend more time with them, and I was a bit burned out from teaching in the public school system. My husband, Jon, has been a stone mason since he was 16. As a tradesman, he learned masonry as an apprentice. His experience of learning from a master craftsman and my experience as an art teacher gave us the initial concept for C&A. We wanted to build a space where people could get together and learn to work with their hands.

Are you from Colorado? Which neighborhood did you eventually choose to call home?

  • We moved to Colorado when I was 13, but my family on my mom’s side has roots in Boulder that date back to 1865 when my 4th great-grandfather came from Wisconsin in a covered wagon. I moved to Whittier when I was 20 years old. We’ve lived in the same house we purchased when I was 22. We bought our house because it was affordable back then, and we could be a part of the Denver creative community. I love this neighborhood. My mom lives six houses down, and the shop is just four blocks away.


You host Camps and Parties- Can you tell us info about those? What ages do you cater to?

  • Many people don’t know that a considerable part of our business is our school partnerships. We host enrichment programs at more than a dozen schools and work with many more to provide field trips, professional development, consulting, and curriculum support. 

    Our in-shop programming caters primarily to elementary school-aged kids. We design our camps, classes, and parties to allow kids to access open-ended arts and crafts and learn valuable skills like woodworking, sewing, and problem-solving. We call it Creative Work 

    (Creative work is the work of childhood. Children are built to tinker, to play, to create, and to make meaning of their world with their hands.)

    * What are some of your most popular Projects for folks to participate in? 

    Our most popular of all time is junk robots. We provide all sorts of scrapwood and upcycled materials for kids to design and build a buddy. They get to use drills, hammers, and screwdrivers.

What role does community and inclusivity play in your business?

  • Both are incredibly important to us. We have a generous scholarship fund and a sliding scale for our programming. We want folks to feel like they can be themselves when they are here. We are inclusive of socio-economic background, physical and neurological differences, gender, orientation, race, and language. Everyone gets to be themselves, and our first rule is to be kind. 

    We also consider the shop to be a third space where people can find community and connection. 

What are some challenges you’ve faced along your journey with Craftsman and Apprentice?

  • The pandemic was rough. As a service-based business, we had to get really creative to survive. The restrictions on our business regarding capacity and our ability to work in schools were challenging. I also think that finding the right people is a challenge for any business. We take our role as leaders and teachers very seriously, and we only hire and keep people who truly love and respect children.

What are some highlights of the past couple of years you are proud of? 

  • Personally, publishing my first book, Maker Camp with Roost Books, in 2021 was an incredible honor. As for the shop, I am so proud of what my staff and I have been able to build this past year. We have huge waitlists for our in-shop programs, we are now looking at providing more than 30 afterschool classes each week, and our school partnerships are growing exponentially. We’ve dialed in our mission to provide Creative Work experience to as many kids as possible.

How would you describe the Personality or “Vibe” of Denver? 

  • Denver is changing, and part of me misses the small-city feel that Denver had 15-20 years ago, but that being said, I think there is still an immense sense of community here. People in our corner of Denver look out for one another and cheer on small businesses.

Any other Denver Businesses you’d like to shout out?

  • So many! We would not have had our success without the support of other Denver small businesses. Still, I’d love to shout out all the other woman-owned businesses on 22nd Ave: Unity Community Acupuncture, Sun Market, Sherlock Hound, Scoops, and Hope Tank.

What is the Website and Instagram to Follow for Craftsman and Apprentince?

  You can Follow Us on Instagram at @CraftsmanAndApprentince and our Website at

*Our fall programming starts 9/7! I also write a weekly newsletter with thoughts on all things kids and creativity! 

Request Information