For Tessa Adams, opening her own arts and crafts store in Liverpool, was the “shore thing” to do.
Adams has always been artistic and creative. Even while she was a Grade 1 and 2 classroom teacher in the Halifax region, she still found time to be involved with several different arts and crafts businesses.
It seems there is little that Adams cannot do or make. Her favourite art endeavour is working with driftwood, although she says she used to make miniature houses and villages, wreathes, and shelves, and has created pebble art pieces and earrings as well. She is also a photographer and loves to use her photographs for cards, but, also makes fence flowers and large dragonflies with bright colours, too, she says.
Previously, Adams says she and her other artist friends had their works for sale in another local shop, but when that closed, she knew she had to do something.
“I knew that it was time to step up and put something different together that gave us all a place to sell what we create but also offered more than shopping for gifts,” says Adams.
Earlier this year in April, Adams says she took the leap to open a place featuring artists' work on commission, artist supplies, art classes, lots of fun, and a whole lot more, which she duly called “Shore Thing Studio and Emporium.”
Adams says not to be fooled by their small frontage on Liverpool’s Main Street, noting they have almost 2,000 square feet of shop including another 600 square feet of classroom behind!
Shore Thing Studio, says Adams, sells work by 34 different artisans who create jewellery, paintings, cards, sculptures, massage candles, soaps, wind chimes, knitted hats and scarves, signs, designer clothing, prints, pebble art, miniature houses, felted pieces, handmade candy and fudge, tartan scarves, quilts, gift tags and baby clothes, decorative pieces made from driftwood, fence flowers, rope mats, and sea glass lanterns. They also sell antiques, collectibles, a line of furniture paint, stencils, clay, artist paints and supplies, beads, essential oils and diffusers, stones, pickles, tea, honey, and books so far.
“We have a beautiful front window and regularly spotlight one or two of the artists in the window,” she says. “We are always growing and open to new ideas.”
Besides selling artisan pieces, the Shore Thing Studio also sells artist supplies and offers classes, both being important parts of the business plan from the beginning.
“Our intention was to create a hub for the community centered on the arts,” she says, “but we are not limiting ourselves to the arts. If someone would like to rent our classroom space for meetings, that’s ok too.”
In terms of classes, Shore Thing Studio has already offered classes in felting, paint pouring, furniture refinishing, stencilling pillow covers, and wire wrapping sea glass. Coming up are classes in furniture refinishing, knitting, mixed media, Christmas gift creating, and quilting.
The studio is beginning a weekly fibre art drop-in group in the classroom in October for anyone who is working on cross-stitching, crocheting, knitting, rug hooking, or felting that would like to bring their project along and hang out for a couple of hours.
Adams says it wasn’t much of a leap going from being a classroom teacher to opening the shop. To create the business, she says she took what worked well from each place she worked previously, applied lessons learned along the way. For example, if she saw something that was a problem, she brainstormed with some of the other artists on how they could handle it differently.
As a teacher, she enjoyed the times she worked on projects with other people.
“I love working with people, not telling people what to do. I love how each person has such unique life experiences and ideas and how that all comes together when we collaborate and support each other. We all work together to make it all happen,” she says.
Since opening in April, Adams says she has been overwhelmed by the support of the community.
“We feel very welcomed by our community, and we hear all the time that it is filling a need our community had,” she says.
For Adams, who grew up in the community but left to go to university and have a family, it is wonderful to be back home again.
“I have the opportunity to see family, old friends, and make new ones, which is the best part of having the shop.”
The Shore Things Studio and Emporium is located at 275 Main Street, Liverpool, and is open Tuesday to Sunday. More information about upcoming classes can be found on the Facebook page. Some upcoming classes include:
- Fibre arts drop In group – Oct. 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m. and then every Wednesday.
- Quilt art by Bev Crouse – Oct. 8, 1-4 p.m. – $35
- Felting a mouse by Belinda Fisher – Oct. 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. – $40
- Paint pouring by Pam Samson – Oct. 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. – $45