The Full Story
We opened in 1980, after doing arts and craft shows. It was nice to not have to worry about getting sunburn. We wanted to carry the wonderful work of our friends (and our stuff too) and at first thought it would be Ohio only, but the clay bodies in other parts of the US are so different that we said - OK - We will be American Made. Well, North American, since we have a bit of Canada in the mix, too.
We have carried ceramics since the beginning. Our best sellers were from Ohio but I loved adding to the mix - different colors, shapes, styles and personalities. Functionality is important to me, especially when combined with aesthetics. It should be useable - and beautiful. I want everyone to have a favorite mug. Mine is made by Mike Baum and I've been using it for decades. It holds a lot of water.
We didn't carry much glass in the early days, it was expensive and the colors weren't great (the EPA was forcing changes in formulation and business practices). There also weren't that many artists working independently from factories but that changed as the studio glass revolution of the late '60s and early '70s (which did have ties to Toledo) made it across the country from Washington State. Suddenly there was color and form in amazing variety. We were smitten. The ornament collection started small but grew and grew as the years went by. I admit I am partial to the work of female glassblowers (and wish I were one myself). They were told they didn't have the lungs, stamina, whatever, for such a demanding craft and damn if they didn't prove all the doubters wrong. And some, like Loretta Eby, with style, grace, and a dirty joke. Now glass is a big part of our business, mostly ornaments, but also marbles and weights and a fine selection of vases.
Jewelry is another of my favorites as it was my first love. I started to take goldsmithing classes when I was 17, but had been playing with beads for much longer. Heck, I still do! Jewelry is as old as we are as a species. The urge to ornament ourselves is strong and significant, for beauty and for cultural and spiritual reasons. Jewelry can be made of precious materials or upcycled trash.which leaves a lot of room for creativity.