LANSING, Mich. — Nestled near the corner of Linden and Grove streets in downtown East Lansing is a shared building that unites Seams Fabric and Woven Art Yarn Shop, otherwise known as the Textile District.
Jessy Gregg, the owner of Seams Fabric, and Meg Croft, who owns the yarn shop, have been supporting each other for many years and have now extended that support across the entire local art community.
What was once their shared classroom space has been transformed into a gallery of art for sale by local artisans. Gregg says the idea came to them after COVID-19 canceled art shows and festivals and also left their classroom empty.
"So...unless you're an artist, you might not kind of realize the schedule that these craftspeople follow," Gregg explained. "Most of the shows start in like May, April, June, July, August, and then they kind of continue through the Christmas season. But then there's this sort of dead airtime between January and April, and most of our artists spend that time in their studios creating their body of work for the next year.
"This year, obviously, that hit at the beginning of the pandemic, you have artists that have already created a significant quantity of work, and then all of their shows were canceled."
With festivals and shows out of the picture, many artists switched their focus to selling online, but were still left with plenty of inventory.
Gregg and Croft created a pop-up shop for the holiday season to offer artists the opportunity to share the art with their customers in a more personal setting.
But with the classroom remaining empty for the foreseeable future, Croft says they will continue to utilize the space for local artists "as long as the space does not have another use."
"So until that time, that classroom is an open space and we might as well use it for something for good," Croft says.
Below are some of the gallery's featured artists:
Daniel J. Hogan, cartoonist and writer
"(Gregg and Croft) obviously care about their communities and giving back... and the upside to, you know, supporting local artists like me...as an example, if you buy something from me, I try to buy as much of my art supplies locally as I can. So, if you buy something from me, I have to go to like Odd Nodd Art Supply in Old Town to buy more paint, to buy more paper...maybe some other art supplies, which...in turn helps them," Hogan says.
Katie Hobson and Brian Davis, owners of Earthen Craft Pottery
"We've had a lot of opportunity to make new work this year. So that's kind of been exciting for us. Usually we're so busy on the road and just keeping up with business. So this has been a real creative opportunity for us in that regard," Hobson says.
Regina Pericini, owner of FlockHome Textiles
"I saw a lot of kids stuff and I started that when I was pregnant with my son, so that's—He was, like, my inspiration for doing kid stuff, which I find to be the most fun to do," Pericini says.
For local artists interested in showcasing their work in the pop-up gallery, contact Jessy Gregg at email@example.com or Meg Croft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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