FAIRFIELD – The Clay Station will reopen soon with a new name, The Little Art Shop, familiar faces and new artists.
Fabric aritsts Jeri Serota and Kathy Matsumura didn’t want the place to close when manager Joni Anderson moved. The duo take on the Mankas Corner store, with the help of the other co-op members who inhabit the Clay Station.
Longtime friends started selling their artwork at the Clay Station a few years ago. They work under the name of Green Valley Fabric Artisans.
After touring craft fairs, Serota and Matsumura were looking for a permanent home for their work when they approached Anderson.
Anderson was aware of their work, Serota said. She let them sell seasonally at first.
“It was a great transition for them,” Matsumura said, adding that the Clay Station had not sold fabric art in the past.
Both became members of the cooperative.
Serota and Matsumura say they’ve been quilting for at least 20 years. Both do a variety of art on fabric.
“I had to diversify,” Serota said. “No one needed my quilts anymore.”
Matsumura works with recycled sweaters to create his art. It emphasizes cashmere and lambswool.
“I have to think outside the box,” she said.
The Clay Station closed on December 24 and all artists moved their works so that new shelves could be installed and the walls could receive a fresh coat of paint in new colors.
Serota and Matsumura have been working since Boxing Day to prepare the store for its grand reopening on January 16.
Visitors will also be greeted by a spectacular front door. It will be green and purple.
“It’s a different look,” Serota said.
Anderson wanted to keep the name Clay Station so that the co-op members came to a consensus on The Little Art Shop to reflect the variety of art that will fill the shelves, from jewelry to ironwork.
Matsumura and Serota have lived in the area since 1982 and 1991, respectively.
Both loved the Mankas Corner area and its history. Their building once served as a gas station.
Members of the cooperative run the store. Mastsumura and Serota said they like to converse with those who stop.
And it’s really funny when people who come to tell them that they bought an item there in the past.
“It’s a place where locals can visit and support local art,” Serota said.
The Little Art Shop is located at 2529 Mankas Corner Road. The opening will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 16.
Hours of operation will be noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.
The phone number is 422-4942.
Contact Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.