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The Shop: Conway’s crafty stop

Aug 1st, 2014 | Category: Crafts

by Jessamyn Tuttle

On the edge of Conway’s tiny downtown, right by the railroad tracks, sits The Shop, an eclectic arts and crafts gallery that Jay and Michelle Barshaw started a little over a year ago.

The couple have been involved with making art for many years, in addition to working in construction and remodeling. During a dry spell in the construction business, Jay started collecting leftover building materials and making things to sell at craft fairs. He does a lot of woodworking and carving, also working with glass, metal, concrete, and driftwood.

Owners Jay and Michelle Barshaw at The Shop. PHOTO BY JESSAMYN TUTTLE

Owners Jay and Michelle Barshaw at The Shop. PHOTO BY JESSAMYN TUTTLE

“I’ll pretty much make anything,” Jay said.

Michelle, who has been interested in art since high school, works with different media as well, especially painting and jewelry.

“Whatever we could get our hands on,” she said.

The owner of a building in downtown Conway made the suggestion that they should open a shop to sell their work. The space, which is next door to an ironworking studio, took them a year to remodel, but is now a warm, open room full of art (and frequently dogs).

The Shop features, in addition to the Barshaws’ own work, all handmade art and crafts by local artists, from oil paintings and photographs, woven scarves and bags, quilts, firepits made from repurposed propane tanks, hand-carved wood chairs and huge steel windvanes, to small items like lotions, soaps, jellies, cards, chopsticks and wineglasses. All the display shelves and furniture are handmade by the Barshaws out of recycled wood and materials. Live plants are scattered around the space, from bonsai in shallow pots to succulents planted in hollowed out wood. Michelle, an avid gardener, hopes to continue adding more plants to contrast with all the wood and stone work.

Most of the art is made in Skagit County. “We wanted to have it be all locals, and all locally made,” said Michelle, adding that they were aiming for a balance between having it be a gallery and a gift shop. “This is a really good opportunity for people to be in a gallery setting and get some exposure,” she said.

They’re particularly interested in supporting emerging artists. “It’s hard for artists to get into a lot of places,” Jay said.

The Shop features different artists from month to month and the displays constantly move around. They give occasional receptions for featured artists, with music and refreshments. For their next event, a group show on Aug. 23, they’re bringing in a food truck as well.

Having the shop in Conway rather than a busier town keeps the pace manageable. “I love Conway,” Michelle said. “You get a chance to talk to people.” The quieter atmosphere gives them time to interact with customers and work on their own art.

Jay is still working full time in construction while Michelle runs the shop day-to-day. “We’re keeping life exciting!” Jay said.

The Shop is located at 18623 Main Street in Conway. Hours are  Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (360) 391-2691 or visit www.theshopconway.com.


Published in the September 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

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