By Viper Allan
In a throwaway culture of products geared towards mass appeal, it’s always nice to find shops that choose to instead showcase more niche products that are made with care and attention to detail and quality. That market has been growing more and more in downtown Raleigh, and these past few months have brought three brand-new shops showcasing local handmade goods that may end up having more mass appeal than was in mind during their creation. All are great sources of holiday gifts and are within walking distance of campus.
The closest to Peace is Anvil Gallery, a tiny shop and studio situated in the small shopping strip on Person Street. The space is split into two portions: a shop and showcase up front, and a studio workshop behind the register.
The focus of Anvil gallery is metalwork: soldered goods, blacksmithing, forged goods, crude and hearty hammered metals, delicately detailed metals, metal bent into shapes and sold in the form of accessories, wrapped metal, and sawn metal.
Inspired in part by the metal design program at ECU, Anvil uses the space in the back to provide its artists with a working metal studio, complete with saws, soldering irons, a hydraulic press, and its namesake hammers and anvils.
Anvil also serves as a meeting place for the Triangle Metalsmiths Guild and offers metalworking classes, meetings, and rolling submissions for new artists and crafters. Currently showcased artists include Tiffany Coley, who has gained local notoriety for her fortune cookie-shaped accessories that come with engraved metal fortunes, Susan “Boo” Reynolds, whose jewelry line Bijou Savvy combines industrial metal with whimsical detailing, and Kathy Johnson, who creates stamped and etched wearable metal pieces under the name The Bronze Flower.
The shop also features a small collection of local soaps and artisan prints. Further information about Anvil can be found at their website, http://www.anvilstudiogallery.
Deco Raleigh is less “niche” but instead aims for various niches. Not only open a week, it is already being compared to established curiosity shops Accipter in Cameron Village and Ackland Museum Store in Chapel Hill.
The shop opened up directly on the corner of Hargett and Salisbury streets and is packed with a variety of products from bags to candles to children’s books to flasks. Doug Kowalcyzk’s Garden to Go, Jill Schwartz’s pictureframes, and Jared Carpenter’s artwork are used in the shop’s own decorating, and while everything featured in the store is not from a local artists, all the companies are independent and produce high-quality products.
Additionally, and luckily for college students, a core value of Deco Raleigh is afforability, and the owners claim one of the advantages of the store is a “wide range of prices [that] will allow everyone to afford original pieces and unique finds,” according to the website. “People are ready for more retail downtown!” says store owner Pam Blondin. “We’re the state capital, we need a cool shopping district.”
While they are still currently setting up shop, Deco Raleigh plans to offer classes in art and mixed media, and are even considering a gift-delivery concierge service. More information about the store and its plans can be found at http://www.decoraleigh.com/.
Finally, Kindred Boutique is meeting Blake Street’s Epona and Oak to fill the void left by the closing of shops like Get Dressed and Knockabout, by offering a variety of goods similar to the content of Deco Raleigh, but sourcing them all from the Triangle area.
Their store focuses on small business and quality, and will offer groundbreaking classes on running an independent business, beginning in December.
In fact, a huge piece of their flag is mentorship and entrepreneurship, aiming to “incubate emerging North Carolina artisans” through their services and boutique and offering a startoff point for beginning artists, crafters, and designers.
Kindred features such local suppliers as Elemental Chocolate, crafts and linens by Posy, and paper goods by Wit & Whistle.
Kindred’s website has not yet been launched, but hours and information can be found at their Facebook fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/