We continue in the March Meet the Maker series today with a quick virtual visit of our studio home.
When we started our business our first studio was the basement, and during the summer i painted silk on my front porch… The soap business began to take over half of the basement, and storage of stock, wrapping, and supplies invaded rooms of our home. We had no division between living and working…. and the house was always a hot mess of clutter and production. We needed to find a space to dedicate to our soap production and silk painting. As we looked the prices were high, the space was inconvenient, or just did not seem right. Then we went to set up for a holiday art market in an old textile mill building on the eastern edge of downtown Cleveland and there was a sign… An artist coop had a small bay in the coop that was open for rent. We looked at it, the space was more than enough to meet our soap making needs, and i had a big surface to paint silk…. So we moved in. That was December of 2015. We moved into our space in January 2016 and thrived in that space. As the business grew we were running really tight on space. We assessed out budget and visited the property manager of our building to inquire on what is available in the building. After looking at a few spaces we settled on #402 located on the west side of the building with a view of Lake Erie, which is very close. We loved the space and could see our business grow into the 1100 square feet, so in April 2019 we moved into this space. And our trusty studio dog Daisy loves her time there, snuggling on the oriental rug, or snoozing on her bed. She loves the chilled water of our water cooler, and the fun visiting other studio dogs, including Ginny, who visits the studio across the hall. The first weekend of December is the huge studio sale throughout the building and we attract a sizable crowd. Its a Cleveland tradition. One final thing that made this space perfect is the views of Lake Erie, and of Burke Lakefront Airport which is home on labor day weekend to the Cleveland National Air show. We have front and center views of the airshow, and the thrills of the fighter jets buzzing over our building as they do their maneuvers. We missed this last year due to covid.
Its really fascinating to imagine how many hundreds or thousands of people once worked in the Cleveland Garment district. ArtCraft Building was built in the early part of the 20th Century and was one of a row of buildings that once produced union made garments, coats, dresses. Sometimes when i am really distracted i begin to wonder how life was at that age, with rows of sewing machines, and production equipment.
ArtCraft is our home for now. Just after the first of the year we were startled by a n article in a cleveland business journal detailing the story that the building has found funding to convert it into loft apartments, which means at some point we will be needing to look elsewhere. We hesitate leaving just yet because even the building acknowledges that plans and approvals, permits and funding take a long time… and may well stretch out another year, or like some of the recent adventures, it may just fade away unfulfiilled. So we call this studio #402 our creative home, production home base, and we are delighted to share the building with a variety of fabulous creatives.