Discovered on one of my recent scouting trips around Cape Ann: three new shops, which any visually-oriented, person of the old and handmade things persuasion needs to know about.
A Matching Pair of Haeger Urns to Go, Please!
The first shop, located in one of the best neighborhoods in America, is appropriately named Scout Vintage Finds. The shop is small in size but generous in spirit, with enough interesting vintage pottery, sewing notions, small furniture, lighting and more to make you wreck your car as you drive past, craning your neck trying to see all the stuff inside before you find a parking space. The shop is located at 186 East Gloucester, just across and up the street from the North Shore Arts Association as you head toward the turn to Rocky Neck. The owner of this new venture is Karen King, seamstress, milliner and expert in all things vintage. She sews beautiful lavender sachets out of vintage linens for the shop, and when you stop by the shop to see the goods she has in stock, be sure to ask about her collection of hats — no, not hats she finds at estate sales — these are hats she makes. Scout Vintage Finds is an unusual and unusually perfect addition to vintage resources on Cape Ann.
A Little Bit of Scandinavia in Massachusetts
The next two shops are located in Lanesville, the historic home to quarry workers and, in the 19th century, lots of Finns. Lanesville is seeing an echo of its past in two new shops that recently opened, with both shops offering a Scandinavian feel in the sense of a minimal aesthetic with an emphasis on texture — and both take their inspiration from the natural world. Each shop is as far away in spirit as it is possible to be from the world of the mall with its chain stores. Handmade, individually chosen pieces are the rule here.
Wulla is located just a few doors up from the Plum Cove Grind and the Post Office, right in the heart of Lanesville. It was opened by two designers, friends who met through their love of textiles. They make all the pieces you see in the shop, including the clothes, with the exception of a few felt pieces (like the boots), with a sophistication that undermines any ideas you might have about what a homemade knitted shawl looks like. The whole place has such a soothing aesthetic that I didn’t know whether to buy a handmade felt bag or lay down and take a nap in the dressing room, and I mean that as a compliment. One thing in particular that I coveted, among the many covetable items, was a cable knit cowl, designed to be buttoned around the neck for a upscale, yet earthy departure from the scarf. The best part about this piece is that the buttons were crafted from a tree in one of the owner’s backyards. Lean in close to smell the button (yes, you look a little weird doing this) and the faint scent of cedar remains.
Just across the street from Wulla is the shop Jemil Beauchamp. When you go to Jemil Beauchamp be sure to ask Jenny, the owner and store’s namesake, to point out her handiwork: handmade leather bags and beautifully dyed textiles using the Japanese shibori technique. Jenny’s husband is the artist Kurt Ankeny (currently showing his stunning new contemporary work in Gloucester) so you have the added pleasure of seeing his landscapes on the walls of the shop. Besides the beautiful textiles, Jemil Beauchamp carries a carefully edited selection of vintage pieces, and while everything is available for purchase, it is all displayed in such a lovely, austere manner that each piece becomes a sort of visual tribute to a time gone by. Which is kind of how Lanesville itself feels, a tiny piece of the past, whose time has come to be revitalized in a way that best suits the neighborhood, by creative people who live and work there, members of the community in every sense.
Scout Vintage Finds on facebook and twitter (@scoutfinds).
Jemil Beauchamp: www.jemilbeauchamp.com and on twitter (@jemilbeauchamp)
Wulla is not online…yet. I’ll update with their contact information (the store is so fresh you have to go there in 3-D to contact the owners). The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday.