If you've been reading my blog for a while then you probably know that my husband is a full time glass blower. For the past 10 years he has been working out of what was formally our garden shed. The space was very small, maybe 8'x 10 feet before you added the benches, storage and kiln. You couldn't fit more than 2 people in it comfortably and even that was a little cramped.
Last month, as i was coming home from Floyd i noticed a 'for rent' sign on the window of a little building across from the Willis Mini-mart gas station. Willis is a tiny community in Floyd county, and the downtown pretty much consists of the Mini-mart/gas-station, several churches, a Hispanic store and a car wash. It's located about half way between Hillsville and the town of Floyd.
After seeing the shop was for rent, i mentioned to Kenan that he should call on it. He kind of blew off the idea, but i was pretty persistent. It just felt like maybe it was time for him to get out of the garden shed. :) i eventually persuaded him to just inquire about the property.
So he called.
The man who owns the building is the father of one of the midwife assistants that was present at my sons birth. He knew of us, through his daughter and was really excited at the prospect of turning the building into an artist studio/gallery. He was very willing to work with Kenan on the rent price to create something that was workable for us.
This is now the new Tiemeyer Glass Studio.
The building is 1400 sq ft, it's huge! It is actually bigger than our entire house. :)
Kenan officially got the keys to the new shop on July 1st. The work getting the new shop set up was a bit more work than anticipated. He had to drill some holes through the blockwork to get his tanks set up, and ventilation in. He is still trying to re-work the ventilation to improve it. Good ventilation is extremely important. This in the very beginning stages, so it doesn't look like much yet. This will be his new work space.
This area will be an office, and serve as a storage area for some of his glass supplies. He's planning to put some shelves in and a small desk.
This will be a second workspace, available for students, visiting lamp workers...or me once the kids start school. :)
There is a large open area that we hope to turn into other 2 other artist spaces, that can eventually be rented out. The building has two large picture windows in the very front of the building and will make a very nice retail shop eventually, if we choose to go that route. It really opens up a lot of opportunities that we didn't have with Kenan here at home. He doesn't have the distraction of kids knocking on the door constantly, and now has a defined separation of work time and home time. Where before, because he worked at home he never really stopped working.
It's been quite an adjustment for the kids, not having him here. Sage has been having the hardest time, wanting to pack him a lunch and visit everyday. The new shop is only about 8 miles from our house, so we will be able to stop by now and again.
This really opens up a lot of new opportunities for us, and helps us to feel more connected with the community. i would love to see the building turned into an artist studio, with 3-4 rented spaces and a small retail store in the front. i also can see a small farm market stand out front, where i can sell fresh organic produce and flowers.
The shop isn't far from the Blue Ridge parkway, and we hope to help bring some traffic from the parkway, through Willis as people travel on to Floyd which is a tourist hot spot. On Friday Nights, Floyd hosts the Friday Night Jamboree, folks traveling up 221 can stop in the glass shop on their way into Floyd to watch live glass blowing demonstrations. We are also hoping to participate in the Floyd Artisan Trail next year.
We are pretty excited about this new venture, although things are going to be extremely tight over the next few months. The kids start school in less than a month however, and i will be putting my focus on dolls and jewelry again. So i hope to finally get my dolls up for sale and lots of new ones made!
It feels like things are coming together, and although i'm not always open to change...i'm excited to see where this all goes.