The O Gallery’s owner Kristen Olsen—an accomplished artist in her own right, who’s shown work as far away as Rome—has made her business into a showcase for more than a dozen of Cleveland’s most talented artists. Come evening, the chic space transforms into a classroom for adults interested in making something beautiful while sipping something delicious during Artful Expeditions: Uncorked classes.
When Seymour and Esther Fischgrund founded Fish Furniture in 1925, the couple personally stained, painted, and housebroke each piece before sending it home with a customer. Today, Fish Furniture operates a bit more efficiently, but with the same attention to detail and quality. In the eight-plus decades since opening, the business has grown from 2 employees to 70. It features a pair of 40,000-square-foot show rooms, inside of which sit upholstery, bedroom sets, and office trimmings bearing solid-wood construction and the names of well-known manufacturers. Outside the show rooms, Fish's staff travels to homes to provide interior-design advice, and its courtesy touchups mend scuffs and scrapes in a more fashionable manner than haphazardly placed band-aids.
Marshall Carpet One has kept local foundations covered for more than 45 years. Today, their 17,000-square-foot showroom stocks carpets for all traffic levels, as well as durable laminates and hardwoods, tile from domestic and international suppliers, and more than 1,000 designer and imported area rugs. Showroom staff members help customers navigate the SelectAFloor system, which organizes flooring options by style, color, and ticklishness. Carpet One backs their materials with extra protection, including a Beautiful Guarantee that grants free replacement and tiered warranties that cover stains, fading, and minor water damage.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.
What started out as a search for a fun alternative form of artistic expression led to the founding of an institution for preserving and sharing a millennia-old craft. That enthusiasm proved to be contagious, as more than 700 students from all ages and walks of life attended J & C Glass Studio's workshops in the first year alone.
Today, J & C Glass Studio continues to teach the art of glass blowing with instructional workshops that cater to beginner and advanced students. Passionate instructors share techniques performed almost the same way as artisans did thousands of years ago. During sessions, a mixture of sand, limestone, and silica is heated to 2,000 degrees until it reaches a honey-like consistency. From there, students shape it with tools, the power of suggestion, and their own breath, creating custom works of art that can decorate a mantel or desk for a lifetime.
Melissa Lopez faced a daunting task: a group of five friends all wanted to do their boudoir shoots back to back in one evening. She could see the potential wreckage—the ladies racing to make their shoot on time, makeup sessions running long, costume pieces getting lost—but she agreed to the plan anyway. As it turned out, her fears were warranted, but Melissa had never been one to let a challenge wear her down. So when her subjects reached the height of pandemonium, she decreed, "I don't care if we're going past midnight. Let's get these shots done." The ladies' stress receded, and the evening turned into a party complete with strawberries and champagne.
Shoots like these show why Melissa and her husband, Dustin, chose the name One Red Door Photography: it symbolizes their shared passion for capturing images full of life. In addition to boudoir shoots, the duo's services range from portrait sessions to video solutions for small businesses—an area of particular importance for Dustin, who comes from a lineage of restaurateurs going back to his great grandfather in Spain. Dustin's passion for photography, video, and helping small businesses also led to his Google Trusted Photographer certification, a distinction for photographers who capture panoramic shots of local businesses for Google Maps with Street View.