Here I sit in front of an illuminated computer screen thinking back to May 20th, 1992 when I first opened my shop to the public. I have yet to do a grand opening. I began a new life that day. One where I answered my heart's call, stopped doing street fairs and came in from the cold and began a working studio/ gallery/ shop. What a momentous and scary decision to have made but one that I have never looked back upon with regret.
I have truly enjoyed nearly every moment in my shop. The first space was in a crumbling ( still crumbling ) downtown building with great merchandise up front in a gift shop that had been established for some time - Great Expectations. I occupied the back left hand corner.There was a window, a curtain across the doorway, my old dining room table, a chair and whatever display pieces I conjured up, my husband built or Gary ( the shop owner from the front of this big space ) gave me. I was so enchanted to be installed as a legitimate business woman.
My wise customers led me into the direction they wanted my shop to go. They suggested what to sell, how they liked to be sold to, what kind of relationships we would form. They were and are the wisdom behind everything. Those first years in my small 12 x 12 space were heady. Inspiring. Busy. Creative.
I learned so much from Gary & Jack, the owners of the business at the front of the building. They took a chance on renting me the back room. I think they were a little shocked when they figured out what I was selling. I explained to them I would be selling " stuff that I made. " I had such fun working with them and Jerry, their employee. We became fast friends. My mentors were fun. Interesting and that Gary? A great teller of jokes and prankster.
I had a window that let in afternoon sun and seeing the tiny, glittery motes float in the sunbeams, made me feel that magic lived in that space and lived in me. Faith in the world became my companion.
Michael, just ten years old then, would come to me after school and color on the white paper bags I would give out to customers. He grew up and I learned to let go, a teeny bit then and let him walk to the shop from school and even to go to the office supply downtown where he would carefully try out and buy his pencils and colored pens.
I met my husband Phil there and fell in love. I planned my life there and my wedding and my romance within those four brick walls. To this very day, twenty five years later, I sigh and smile back at the memories and still can not believe I made that leap of faith in myself and my work.
Here's to another twenty five years. May I be blessed and lucky to still be in love with my work, my family and my customers. It has been a hell of a sweet ride!