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At new Square shop, a place for artisans to shine

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One man’s dream to support local artists has come to fruition in the form of one of the Woodstock Square’s newest shops.

Material Things Artisan Market, 103 E. Van Buren St., opened its doors July 20. Woodstock resident Ken West is the owner of the new shop, which features works from more than 40 artists, including six from the area.

“My goal is to support artisans and give them a place to show off their work,” said West, who also said he will showcase some of his own glass work and set up a studio in the back of the shop.Material Things Artisan Market owner Ken West makes sure every second counts at his new shop, which features works of more than 40 artists. | Independent photo by Ken Farver

Puppets, children’s toys, wall art, dishes, jewelry, journals, bags, glassware, purses, scarves and whimsical and repurposed pieces are available for purchase at the new shop.

“We will offer a range of work,” West said. “We also [tie in art] to the way things are displayed, using structures such as doors and springs.”

From 1979 to 1995, West owned and operated a glass store called Artful Glazier. After it closed, he worked in the car business for many years, and said he figured he’d pursue his dream of once again owning an art shop during his retirement.

However, after becoming disenchanted with the car business, West said he didn’t want to put his dream on hold any longer.

“I had that fear that if I waited too long, I would never do it,” he said. “I wanted to have a shop in my own town like I did years ago.”

West said he believes now more than ever that there are many entities in the community trying to become more coalesced, sharing a common goal of working together for the health of the Square. This is one reason he said he felt it was a great time to try his new venture.

With his wife, Patti, as an assistant, West began to research artists he and his wife both enjoyed. They sought out new artists at shows and on websites and reached out to see if they would be interested in selling products at Material Things.

Items in the shop will range in price from $5 to $400. 

West said he wants Material Things Artisan Market to be a place where people can find gifts for anyone, from their grandmothers, nieces and nephews to significant others.

Additionally, he said he plans to offer art classes in the lower level of the building beginning in the fall, in the form of a “make it and take it” program, where people will be able to make their crafts in class and take the finished product home the same day. West will teach most of the classes, though he said he is open to having other art teachers come in and teach classes, too.

“I’m having more fun than I’ve had in a long time,” West said. “I’m not trying [to make set plans] for the future, but I hope that the community embraces it.  … I hope it will be a popular, good store on the Square for a long time to come.”

Material Things Artisan Market is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.