Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
From the aptly named Shore Soap Company's front door, the syncopated percussion of the coastline can be heard as it ebbs and flows just a block away. But the front door isn't the only part of the company that's connected to the sea?all of the handcrafted soaps are, too. That's because artisan soap makers combine natural ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, and fragrant herbs with sea salt to create a long-lasting, purifying bar. Though bar soap is Shore Soap Company's forte, the storefront also stocks sugar scrubs, body butter, and even solid perfumes that helped it earn a Best of Rhode Island 2013 badge from Rhode Island Monthly. Not only is Shore Soap Company committed to making high-quality handcrafted products, it has pledged 1% of all profits to Save the Bay, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Narragansett Bay.
Past window displays where paintings sidle up next to jewelry and pottery, patrons step into Waves of Creation's artistic haven. Lining the walls and shelves, wood pieces, photographs, and handmade candles represent the efforts of more than 50 Rhode artists and artisans. Artists also gather together under the roof, using Waves of Creation's boutique storefront as a base for artistic tutelage. They guide students toward expressive realization in mediums such as jewelry, teaching the know-how to wire-wrap a bird's nest necklace or a finger-braided bracelet. Paint-your-own pottery sessions vent built-up artistic aspirations as participants decorate serving platters with flowers or transform mugs into trophies for the World's Best Coffee-Drinking Cat, whereas candle-making classes allow pupils to create custom scents and styles.
The furniture and antique experts at Jarred's Homegoods unearth a wealth of gently used bedroom furniture, dining-room digs, and jewelry to fill the store’s expansive showroom floor. Patrons can sift through cherished pieces claimed from estate sales, including furniture crafted from old barn wood or antique brass bed frames, and an array of designer jewelry rewards wrists and décolletage with sunburn-deflecting sparkle. Treasure hunters can peruse the showroom and dig up work crafted by famous designers, carpenters, and brands such as Ethan Allen, Liz Claiborne, and Givenchy.
Artist Deenie Pacik, armed with nearly two decades of crafting fused-glass artwork and teaching at schools such as Franklin Pierce University, imparts her expertise during a variety of classes. Working out of Deenie's fully equipped home studio, small groups of students learn to fuse dichroic glass and powder into everything from shiny pendants to new work boots for Cinderella's cousin. Projects transform into translucent objets d?art in the glass kiln, which, as Deenie tells the Warwick Beacon, heats glass at three times the temperature used to bake a pizza, or eight billion times the heat used to glaze an ice sculpture.
Thanks to lines such as Royal Flemish and Crown Milano, the city of New Bedford rightfully earned the nickname ?Art Glass Headquarters of the Country? by the late 19th century. With 7,000 objects to its name, The New Bedford Museum of Glass not only celebrates the area?s rich heritage, but also spans more than 3,000 years of worldwide glassmaking history. Through its permanent collection and rotating exhibits, the museum highlights everything from Victorian glass syrup bottles to 19th-century glass cigar holders. Our Nation?s Heritage in Glass encompasses 500-plus pieces of American-themed glass, including Bicentennial glass and the glass teeth George Washington wore in battle. Along with its rich displays, the museum?s in-house libraries delves deeper into global glassmaking with more than 8,000 volumes in 10 languages.