Paisley Louise Hardie and Alison Jenkins have just made buying art a little more personal at the Coop, on Butler Road in Butler.
Although Ms. Hardie and Ms. Jenkins manage the space, the gallery is actually an artists' cooperative. "We're going with the novel idea that the artist should make the most money," Ms. Hardie says. "We're taking a small commission from the artists and they work 3 1/2 hours a month."
Ms. Hardie, who makes woven rugs, and Ms. Jenkins, who paints porcelain, got the idea last spring when a For Rent sign went up on an old house in Butler in mid-August and they grabbed it. Two weeks later they were open for business.
"When we sold through decorators or through stores we never knew who bought our work," Ms. Hardie says. "After you've spent a couple of weeks on a piece, it's nice to know where it is. It makes it easier to part with."
Ms. Hardie and Ms. Jenkins have studios at the gallery so they can work in between greeting customers. Other participating artists also bring their works-in-progress to the shop.
If customers are interested in a particular artist's work, they can come back at the time the artist is scheduled to work and get to know him or her. "People love that, they love to get in on the process of it," Ms. Hardie adds.
Currently in the gallery are large and small woven rugs by Ms. Hardie, porcelains by Ms. Jenkins, paintings by Tom Fehsenfeld, painted furniture by Beth Secor, quilts by Jean Hoblitzell, Nantucket lightship baskets by Susan Iglehart, birdhouses by Julie and Lance Huber, ceramic flower jewelry by Judy Spencer, painted folk art figures and houses by John Irons and painted silk by Monica Benziger.
There are also wreaths by Anna Beren, watercolors by Eva Gillet, painted windows by Lisa Hughes, painted frames by Achsah O'Donovan, papier-mache animals by Charlene Rene Clark, animal valences by Jamie Kozumbo, handmade paper quilts by Betty O'Regan, fleece mittens and hats by Peter Dillon and Patty Jenkins, cast stone cherubs by Meg Brooks and Jenny Sayre Ramberg, herb wreaths by Cathy Jewitt, plus books by Dee Hardie, Paisley Hardy's mother.
Most of the artists will do custom work. And after Christmas workshops on such things as basketmaking will be offered.
The Coop is located at 2305 Butler Road near the intersection of Falls Road. The hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The telephone number is 472-2679.