Some people just don’t have green thumbs. Others in harsher climates face long winter months where nothing grows. Still others look for garden brighteners they won’t have to water—ever. How to help? If you’re a savvy retailer, you’ll consider stocking up on works like these from eight American design studios:
When communities celebrate, businesses prosper, and Christmas is an ideal time for craft shops and galleries to join wholeheartedly in citywide holiday festivities. With opportunities ranging from storefront decorating and window display contests to street caroling and sponsored floats in Yuletide parades, small business retailers have readymade opportunities to join the fun, show their community spirit and entice post-events revelers into their stores.
In Norse folklore, there are creatures called Nisse, elusive elf-like beings who dwell in the woodlands and lend unseen but helpful hands to people who live there. At Christmas time, Norwegians offer small gifts of affection and recognition to the elves to ensure their continued kindness. That’s the kind of folk story the Solli sisters, Marie and Anne, grew up hearing from their Norwegian father.
Sometimes it’s the customers who let you know what business you’re in. Paul and Paula Coben of Gallery Five in Tequesta, Fla., discovered they were in the wedding business when their extensive art-to-wear collection became a must-stop for women whose daughters were getting married.
Gallery owners who usually have “Jingle Bells” stuck in their minds at this time of year are getting used to a different refrain from Bob Dylan: “The times, they are a-changin’.”
The world of retail—older customers aging into retirement, younger customers difficult to pin down, fewer print-ad options, an ever-present Internet and general uneasiness with the economy—is in flux. Yet some shops are thriving. How? By changing merchandise and price points, adjusting store hours to better accommodate clientele, adding websites and web shopping, and listening to or hiring younger talent.
Maybe it’s because of modern society’s tendency to take comfort in the past while marching straightforward into green living, but more and more artists are adapting “folk” expressions in their work. They’re drawing on historical roots—visionary, primitive and tribal art—and using everyday objects in a variety of nontraditional ways.
Metalsmith Andrea Williams says her work as an artist has been “a bit of a journey.” She was a teenager when she fell in love with metalworking. “I love how I can take this solid thing and make it move,” she explains.
Metalworker, stoneworker, environmental technician, glassworker, diver, collector of crystals and fossils—artist Jeremy Sinkus has followed many paths, but he has never strayed far from the sea.