After spending years designing kitchens and handcrafting cabinets, John Barlowe opened Frame Shop Art Gallery & Gifts to celebrate and showcase great household art. A member of the Professional Picture Framers Association, he's won awards for his custom-frame designs, which pair his meticulous woodworking skills with elements such as football skin to accent displayed pieces. As a premier partner of Larson-Juhl, he has access to thousands of ornate American hardwood borders and gilded moldings crafted with more than 100 years of company expertise. Each artwork or photograph squeezes between Tru Vue glass and Bainbridge mats and backboard, a sandwich framers can often complete in as little as 24 hours.
In addition to displaying art, John and his team specialize in various photo services, from printing images to transforming ordinary snapshots into caricatures or watercolors with artistic photo treatments. They also prevent boxes of family photos from falling victim to age, disasters, and swamp monsters’ thumbprints by digitizing large collections.
Paula Atwell wasn't born an artist. She didn't pursue any art form in college, instead achieving a degree in English and a minor in accounting. After logging years in standard 9–5 jobs, she had an epiphany—it was time to do something for herself. Taking this newfound motivation to action, Paula enrolled in a beading class and followed it with forays into metalsmithing, crafting, and soldering.
These experiments in creativity led her to join the Lake Erie Artists co-op in 2003, where she began to show her eclectic jewelry at their booth during local festivals. When the co-op became incorporated in 2005, Paula's business world experience made her an obvious choice to lead the diverse group of artists in forming their own gallery. Today, the co-op-turned-gallery now carries hundreds of art pieces that span a range of media.
Producing blown-glass sculptures and handcrafted metal jewelry and pottery, the artists each specialize in a few select media as decided during the gallery's annual game of spin-the-paintbrush. The staff at Lake Erie Artists Gallery is also a strong proponent of local business, encouraging their patrons to browse Shake Square after looking at their wares. In project-oriented classes taught by working artists, students explore jewelry and painting and leave with their handcrafted pieces.
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.
Earning a nod as Best Art Gallery in the Akron-Canton area from Fox 8’s Hot List in 2009 and a nomination for the Wooster 2010 Small Business Award, the custom framers at Gallery in the Vault apply an artist’s eye and an aesthetician’s touch to every project, spiffing up everything from reality-TV-star posters to their specialty, illuminated manuscripts. Employing local artists and visiting talent from around the world, Gallery in the Vault has earned a reputation for framing illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, dating as far back as 1200 AD. Their artisans developed a unique technique to make both sides of the hand-calligraphied pages visible and capable of lively conversation. Print-owners with other framing needs can choose from an array of techniques, materials, and artist accents. Prices vary based on print sizes and customer preferences. For example, the Vault’s technicians can enhance an 11"x14" print of a ferret in a floppy hat with a 17"x20" gold frame ($150), gold fillet molding ($45), and a green cotton mat ($25). Along with the glass front ($22), fitting ($20), and other mounting materials ($10), the project would run about $272.
Exo's talented staffers beautify clients from head to toe with a full menu of grooming services. During the shellac manicure (a $35 value), nail technicians buff finger shingles to a dazzling sparkle before brushing on CND shellac color. The high-tech lacquer lasts up to two weeks with a glistening mirror finish, which dries instantly under the onslaught of British knock-knock jokes. This option also grants wrist mitts a thorough mollycoddling with a moisturizing paraffin dip treatment, which also includes exfoliation to force has-been skin cells into retirement.