Monday, September 15, 2014

Ornamentea loves...the Carter Building

Long ago, when Ornamentea first began, we had a jewelry design-and-manufacturing business in the Carter Building. It's down Glenwood Avenue, almost at Hillsboro Street. This weird, cut-up-and-out-back-together building was exactly the right place for us to start our bead store. We had a wonderful, generous and forgiving landlord, Barry Carter, and a whole building full of the kind of people you usually only meet in sit-coms. Barry never batted an eye when we asked to knock down a wall. Or add a door. Or paint solid pine paneling a pale, pearly pink. He even let us put a whole bunch of fol-de-rol wire and lights on the 'good' window on the front of his building. Our store had one door that opened on the street, another that opened onto a shared hallway. That hall door was usually closed, but I always loved the random, tossed together look of the whole space. I still miss that pine panelling.

In the basement, under our store, the band Corrosion of Conformity had their practice space. Wow, that floor really vibrated when they were playing. Across the hall, through that door, we had a neighbor who restored 18th century portraits for ancient ladies. One I remember would swan in, trailed by a butler carrying her esteemed family member's crumbling portrait wrapped in an old Christmas table cloth. She might incline her coiffed head in my direction, but she'd always wait for the overburdened butler to open the door for her.

That in my picture window might be dressed for the holidays..or it might just be dressed for Tuesday. I can't remember. There is a picture in the window that was taken by Shonna Greenwell (she owns Rebus works, now) and I think the doll was concocted by artist Ashley Carter, but that window was a long time, and a lot of glitter ago...and honestly, we often pulled out all the stops in decorating. Even for a Tuesday.

The Carter Building is still a warren of artist studios and offices. There are amazing painters in the basement, writers on the third floor and a few jewelry designers I love tucked in, here and there. The mix of personalities and styles and work is a unique and potent blend. I'm pretty sure it was the perfect place for Ornamentea to start out, fifteen years ago.

read more about The Carter Building