This is huge! After nearly 14 years, I am moving my fiber arts business out of my home and into an actual, dedicated studio space. I’m so excited!! I’ll be located in the lower level of the original one-room Schoolhouse in Sperryville, VA, in beautiful Rappahannock County. I’ve partnered up with my friend Dabney, who is a fantastic felting artist, in a joint working studio and gallery / shop / classroom space.
When I started my business, my children were quite small (2 and 4). I made a conscious decision to work out of my house so I could be here with them. Fast forward almost 14 years, and we now have 16 and 18 year old teenagers. Our son, Jackson, graduated from high school this Spring and is planning to join the Marines early next year, as a musician. Our daughter, Caragh, will be a Junior in High School, was accepted into the Mountain Vista Governor’s School and also joined a travel soccer team. They’re busier than I am!
So, yeah. They don’t really need Mom to be here at home all the time anymore. And don’t even need me as a chauffeur all that often, either.
I’ve been thinking more seriously about this potential move for at least the last 6 months, right around the time it sunk in that Jackson was graduating from high school and in the not-too-distant future we’d be empty nesters.
But, we live in a very rural area, and commercial space is not too abundant. Complicating matters, I really, really wanted my studio to be in Sperryville. It’s an awesome, vibrant (I might even call it hip!) town, and each season seems to bring some new and exciting endeavor to town (scroll down to the bottom for a listing of all the fun in Sperryville).
Around the same time I was thinking my thoughts, my friend Dabney, who is a fabulous felt artist, told me she would probably be looking for a new studio space, as our local River District Arts Center was potentially closing (very sadly, this has come to pass). So we started talking about possibilities. And nothing really jelled until yesterday, when we talked about a vacant former cafe space in the lower level of the original one-room Sperryville schoolhouse, built in the 1920’s or 1930’s (I’m going to have to pay our local Historical Society a visit to get more info on our new home). I had never considered this location before, because it was way more space than I needed on my own.
We popped over, and the layout is perfect for us. This building has so much personality and character. I’ve always loved old buildings, and the architectural details of this building make it quite a gem. It was still available, and although some other local artists and galleries were considering it, none had made a decision.
We quickly determined that it was a fantastic spot for us, and signed the deal this morning!
My room is a nice size, with great light and enough space for all my various activities. I’ll have more storage space, which means I can do more wholesale and other business activities and opportunities that, up until now, I didn’t have the room to even consider. Yay!
Fun stuff in Sperryville, and nearby:
Before & After: wonderful locally-owned coffee shop and soon-to-open wine bar.
Central Coffee Roasters: fantastic locally-roasted coffees
Copper Fox Antiques: fun antique store
Copper Fox Distillery: local whisky, gin & rye distillery. They know how to make great spirits!
Cottage Curator: our upstairs neighbor, an absolutely gorgeous gallery of photographer and gallery-owner Jackie Bailey Labovitz’s amazing flower photographs, which she prints on canvas (they look almost like paintings when you first see them), as well as paintings, ceramics and other featured artists.
Creekside Bakery and Deli: absolutely fantastic donuts, pies, and breads, great sandwiches
Flourish Root: beautiful flowers and gifts by my talented friend Jen
Glassworks Gallery: a really cool gift shop and gallery for handmade art & handblown glass by local artists
Haley Fine Art: fabulous art gallery featuring local and nationally-recognized artists
Headmaster’s Pub: relaxed pub atmosphere, lunch and dinner, live music on weekends
Heritage Hollow Farm Store: locally and ethically grown meats and other goodies
Hopkins Ordinary: beautiful B&B, micro-brewery
Knit Wit Yarn Shop & Cottage Shops: knitting supplies and fair-trade goods & gifts
Pen Druid: very cool micro-brewery using wild yeast fermentation
Rudy’s Pizza: the best pizza in Sperryville 🙂
Schoolhouse Antiques: beautiful antiques, rugs, and gifts
Schoolhouse Nine: 9 hole golf course
Sperryville Corner Store: country store which also has a great selection of wines, micro-beers, meats and gourmet foods
Sperryville Pottery: a lovely pottery studio and gift shop
Stonewall Abbey Yoga & Qigong: my friend Susan’s awesome yoga and qigong studio
Thornton River Grille: great dining inside and on their outdoor roof deck
Wild Roots Apothecary: amazing syrups (for some awesome craft cocktails 😀 ), teas, balms and other herbal goodies
Not to mention all the other wonderful spots around the rest of the County: vineyards, restaurants, more shops, The Inn at Little Washington (which has a farmer’s market starting on Sunday, July 2!), and the Rappahannock Artisan Trail.
Writing all this down has made me even more amazed at everything we have out here in our lovely County. It’s such a fun area, and I’m so excited that I’ll soon be a studio destination, too!
Next up for Dabney and I is painting and doing some other fix-up work, and then moving in and getting settled. This is going to be a big change for me (what?! I can’t dye in my pajamas anymore?!) (and … I’m only partially kidding about that).
Dabney has plans to hold a plethora of classes in felting and fiber arts. I am also considering adding dye workshops to my schedule, now that I’ll have a great place with plenty of room to hold them.
We hope to be fully settled in over the next month or two, open by chance or appointment for the foreseeable future. We’re planning a grand opening celebration and open house in early September. Stay tuned for more details!