With just a few shelves, Lacey Wilson transformed the back hall in her mother’s downtown Longview business into a gallery for 5-by-7 inch works of art.
The shelves feature one-of-a-kind greeting cards made by local artists. They are intended to draw customers back to what once was a rarely visited spot in McThread’s Art Works, a fine art gallery and wearable art boutique.
“We should make use of all the space we have,” said Wilson, who runs McThread’s Art Works with her mother, Linda McCord. “We had other things hanging in here, but it seemed kind of cluttered and people were afraid to come back here.”
Although the gallery just opened last weekend, it seems to be serving its purpose.
“Already this morning we’ve sold quite a few cards,” McCord said on Saturday. At least five customers stopped into peruse the selection of more than 100 cards in the gallery between 1 and 2 p.m.
While McThread’s has sold artisan greeting cards since it opened on 1233 Commerce Ave. in December 2017, the shop wasn’t “capitalizing” on that market, Wilson said. There was less variety, and less opportunity for card artists to show off their work.
“We’d been talking about having more cards, but the spin racks took up a lot of space,” Wilson said. “Along with needing to figure out what to do with that space back there, we put two and two together.”
Each card is handmade, and no two are exactly alike — just like the body jewelry, wearable art and other merchandise in McThread’s, Wilson said.
“Everything has to be crafted from your own ideas,” she said. “It has to be handmade and original.”
That’s the rule for any item sold in McThread’s. The merchandise is curated by Wilson and McCord to make sure it fits with the style of the shop, Wilson said.
Usually the duo decides together what to include in the shop, but Wilson has full oversight of the card gallery. She has approved four card artists so far, including herself, and said she is open to accepting others.
Wilson has been making artisan greeting cards for at least five years. She said it takes her almost two hours to make a card. It starts with a piece of cardstock as a background, and then she adds words and details to create the final product.
“I just like people to enjoy them. It doesn’t really matter to me how long it takes to make one,” she said.
With four artists currently on display in the gallery, there’s a variety of styles to choose from. The cards range from Wilson’s traditional greeting card style, to McCord’s silk infusion and digital photography, to floral Hawaiian pieces.
Once purchased, the cards can be sent like a regular greeting card, or framed to hang as miniature artwork, McCord said. Prices range from $4 to $8, Wilson said.
“We will also be doing a pick-and-choose where you can pick out so many cards for a certain price, and you can build your own box of cards,” Wilson said.