Shop celebrates new digs Crafts store moves to renovated stable NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

December 03, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Elisa Bowman said she faced the expansion of her pottery and craft shop with a draft horse mentality, so it seems fitting that the enlarged shop between Taneytown and Keymar occupies a renovated stable.

"You wouldn't believe that this place was home to horses in May," said Ms. Bowman, owner and manager of Honeysuckle Lane. The shop is named for the flowers that grow along the driveway leading to it. "Upstairs was a loft where we stored the hay."

First they moved the previous occupants to a larger, "more luxurious living space" on the 200-acre Bowman farm. Then Ms. Bowman and her crew converted the former barn, more than quadrupling her retail space.

Now it is ready for this week's "Grand Re-opening" and Christmas Open House, which will feature door prizes, visiting artisans and dozens of handcrafted items for holiday gift giving.

"I sell so many things that people can only buy here," said Ms. Bowman, who said she often asks distributors whether other stores in the area carry certain items. "I like to come out with something new and different."

She began her career as a potter and dried-flower arranger in 1988.

She opened the shop that year, moving her wares from the basement of her home to a small building in her back yard. She hired one employee.

"It was just basically my work space to put together arrangements and things," said Ms. Bowman, whose family -- husband, Cliff, daughter Amber, 11, and son Lucas, 8 -- has helped in her endeavors. "It was really to give me a place to work out of the house."

"It is important to bring out items people can afford," she said. "I consider myself a blue-collar potter. I make cups and pitchers, potpourri lamps and things, and I figure people should not have to pay a lot of money for hand-produced things."

Among the items on display in the renovated shop are dried-flower arrangements in handmade baskets, handcrafted pine toys and pottery. A wooden sled holds Christmas trees made from dried grape vines.

"There is stained glass that's just beautiful, it's gorgeous," Ms. Bowman said of the dried-flower and glass arrangements glittering in the center of the shop as light from a window hit them.

While craft seekers might find similar types of pottery, stained glass and other handmade items in other shops, Ms. Bowman said her pieces are unique because she oversees the production of most of the things she sells.

"I like to have total control of the quality of what I sell," said Ms. Bowman, 37. "I know the people I buy the things from, and I know what they do.

"I understand and admire their work, and I sell to others what I know I would buy myself," she said.

"I could get things in bulk from other places like North Carolina and have it shipped or whatever," she said. "But it's more important for me to have people I know doing the work and for me to have firsthand knowledge of what's coming into the store."

Ms. Bowman said it is also important to her to use local work in the shop.

"The artisans, the carpenters, people who help in the shop. I want to keep Carroll money in Carroll County," Ms. Bowman said.

Nick Vincent of Uniontown is one of the many local artists who have contributed to the shop's wares. He makes the cast-iron toys displayed along the back wall of the shop.

Al Dell of Tyrone and Mike Greer of New Windsor built the lighted wood-and-glass display case.

The open house includes refreshments, door prizes daily and artisans on hand to explain their work.

The open house began yesterday and will continue through Sunday. Through Saturday, the hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.

Today the shop will be open until 6 p.m.

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