We are very excited to welcome the artists from Union Studio to the first CWE Flea of the season tomorrow. I met proprietors Mary Beth Bussen and Maggie Wheelock just after they opened their charming studio/shop space at 1605 Tower Grove Ave. in Botanical Heights (near La Patisserie Chouquette and Oilo/Elaia).
Mary Beth, above, with daughter Beatrice age 8, (Josephine, 5, was camera shy) designs and sews children's clothing and home goods. She sold her wares at the Tower Grove Market and on Etsy, but dreamed of opening a brick and mortar store where she could visit with her customers and neighbors from the Tower Grove community. Her partner, Maggie Wheelock, also has two young children and wanted a space away from home to paint and sell her art. The pair also invites friends who are artists to drop in and use the space and/or to teach classes for children and adults. A charming nook at the back of the shop can be rented for small events - baby showers, luncheons, or as Mary Beth suggested, "Wouldn't a book signing be fabulous?"
The cozy light-filled shop is decorated with bits of this and that, whatever catches Mary Beth's eye. Her father built all the furniture and light fixtures for the space, and also makes charming old-fashioned wooden toys which you will see in the following photographs and find at the CWE Flea Saturday!
Mary Beth's sewing machine is set up in a window of Union Studio. It's there that she makes clothing for sizes 1 through 10. She said it's hardly worth the time it takes to make something for babies, they grow so fast!
Maggie's dramatic ink, charcoal and acrylic bird painting above is 50" x 62" and priced at $350. The artist was at Chicago's Field Museum the day I stopped by where she had been given access to the museum's bird archives for her paintings.
Another of Maggie's drawings is shown above.
Children's art classes start in June. Once a month there will be a donation-based "bring your project night" for adults from 7:30 to 9:30. If you don't have a project you can purchase one for $30. The kit will change monthly, for instance it might be everything needed to decorate the shop's windows. Proceeds will go to the art program at one of the 5 local schools based in the Tower Grove area.
Maggie Wheelock, Mary Beth Bussen, and Mary Beth's dad will all be at the CWE Flea Saturday with handmade clothing and toys, home goods, paintings, and many other delights.