Shops Offer Help In Quest For The Perfect Pieces


December 02, 1990

This month in Home Style we visit some new shops that have ? just opened, the Duke of Gloucester Gallery, Findings, 7 Traditions, and one old friend, the gift shop at Spoutwood Herb Farm.

... As an artist, Carol Hale has an unusual way of getting inspired. She looks around her new gallery, the Duke of Gloucester Gallery in Annapolis, and creates something to fill an empty space. One day it might be a painting that's needed. Another time she might take an old cupboard and give it a painted finish.

Even the black-and-white squares of the painted floors and the spongework on the walls of the tiny three-roomed gallery show off her work.

"I'm trying to make the gallery look like a room setting, so if I think the floor needs something I'll do a floor cloth," she says.

At the Duke of Gloucester Gallery, Mrs. Hale has not only her own paintings, painted furniture, pottery, floor cloths and dried flower arrangements, but also the work of her family. There are examples of art furniture, sculpture and clocks made by her son Daniel Hale and his wife, Chris. Her daughter Lisa Hale creates collages and framed linoleum prints using her own handmade paper.

Work by local artists includes jewelry by Susan Stockman, raku pots by Julie Giardini, paintings by Ken Giardini and marbleized scarves, accessories and notepapers by Martha Maras.

Mrs. Hale had a folk art gallery in that space several years ago called the Appleseed Storehouse, then her son Daniel took it over as a gallery and studio.

When he and his wife moved to Baltimore, the shop was vacant for a time. When no one came forward to rent it, Mrs. Hale says, "I thought, maybe this is an omen."

She decided to open a gallery again, but this time she wanted to focus not so much on primitives but instead on a more contemporary look in art and folk art.

The hours of the gallery are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment.

Duke of Gloucester Gallery is located at 214 Duke of Gloucester St. next to the Maryland Inn. The telephone number is 263-3695.

Findings rare and beautiful

Rita St. Clair has a way of finding things. On travels around the world on business and in search of rare and beautiful things for her clients, she was always coming across antique French fabrics, Italian marble accessories, old Chinese tapestries and such. And finally the urge to bring it all back home became too much.

She decided to open a shop -- appropriately named Findings -- next door to Rita St. Clair Associates, the interior design firm she founded 25 years ago. Unlike her design firm, which sells just to clients, Findings is open to the public. But as shop manager Marilyn Esham says, "We realize it's not a place for everyone, but there are some very nice things here."

Findings is a place for treasures and most items have a treasure price tag to go with them. Everything in the shop has been personally selected by Ms. St. Clair during trips overseas or around the United States.

Many items are antiques -- an 11-foot-long Chinese silk tapestry from 1850, French-matted botanical prints from 1777, antique Japanese flower baskets, an 1820 Biedermeier desk. "Most periods are covered," Ms. Esham says.

But there are also new things, such as a group of executive gifts like letter openers and paperweights as well as a hand-crafted cherry and ebony cabinet from Italy for $12,500.

There is a Japanese stacked triple chest plus an Italian painted dresser and an art deco desk. "It's really not a furniture place but we do have some pieces that are outstanding," Ms. Esham says.

There are also mirrors, Japanese obis (often used as table runners), frames, bookends, pottery jars, and a large selection of lamps, some of which were made here from vases bought by Ms. St. Clair. There are piles of pillows made here from antique tapestries, silks and other fabrics Ms. St. Clair buys in France.

Ms. Esham will do personal shopping for people who don't have time to shop for gifts. Then the selected item will be wrapped and sent to the recipient.

The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Findings is located at 1011 N. Charles St. The telephone number is 783-9393.

Out with the new, in with the old

It was by synchronicity -- or maybe you could just call it luck -- that Ted Orphan ended up on Maryland Avenue.

A few months ago, as a friend was dissolving his antiques business to move out of state, he tried to talk Mr. Orphan into taking over the lease. But Mr. Orphan, who had a perfectly fine job selling furniture at the Fallon and Hellen store on Mulberry Street, wasn't very interested.

Then a week later his boss came to him and announced that Fallon and Hellen was closing and suddenly the idea of going into business for himself looked very, very good.

Within a week, Mr. Orphan had his license and paperwork all together, had taken over the space (and the shop name) that his friend just left, and invested his life savings in antiques.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.