My new place is just up the street at 1601 Main Street. Residents in our little town know the place as the former Moonstone Redwood Gallery. Before that, it had previous lives as an auto parts store and laundromat.
I've known that my move from the schoolhouse was imminent as there has been serious talk about changes for the past year. The land that it sits on is owned by the Lions Club of Cambria and other structures on the lot are slated for removal as the organization plans for its future. The schoolhouse will be preserved and may be moved to another location. Change is in the wind.
As soon as I got word to start looking for a new place, I began to fret. Replacing my wonderful schoolhouse studio would not be easy, might even be impossible. What would become of me?
But I should not have worried. As soon as I started my search, it was over. Things just fell into place. It was amazing considering my criteria: Main Street exposure large enough for a studio and gallery, plus appropriate space for pottery wheels and kilns. I found all that, and so much more, at 1601 Main Street. Because of the building's previous incarnation as a laundromat, it has the perfect "bones" for a studio space and gallery. There is a separate gallery space, large open layout for the studio and a separate section with concrete flooring for the kilns.
Many thanks to building owners Louie and Janet Gutierrez, who have been great to work with as we've prepared the building for my arrival. And special appreciation for Fire Chief William Hollingsworth who met me onsite, checked out the kiln area and patiently answered my questions to make sure we'd be set for opening day.
Though I'm trying to do as much prep as possible myself, it's taken a team of pros to get things ready. I'm getting wonderful assistance from:
- Electrician Howard McCain who has prepped the kiln room and updated other lighting (and fixed my wheel plug that I damaged in the move). Because the appropriate electrical service is essential to my studio operation, he was my first call and was so helpful in determining if the site would work for my needs.
- Justin Smith and the Potter Plumbing team who put in a new industrial sink and removed old pipes.
- Phil Kispersky from SLOCO Heating and Cooling who will be putting in venting for the kiln room next week.
- Brian Muller who will be installing signage (and also helped me move gallery furniture one afternoon when I must have looked especially pitiful).
- Mercado Gardening and Hauling who saved the last vestiges of my worn-out knee by helping me move a HUGE counter and all the studio equipment – kilns, wheels, pug mill and so much, much more.
- Jerry Greer who has been refacing counters, putting in new shelving and doing all things handy – and letting me borrow his tools when I have the (often mistaken) belief that I can take care of something myself.
- Greg Bates, Mike Walsh and other members of the Lions Club who have been so supportive and helpful during the move.
- Mike Griffin who has been tending to all things at home, preparing meals, doing laundry, running errands, walking dogs, buying groceries, making runs to the hardware store, rubbing feet and listening (endlessly, patiently and lovingly) to my plans and schemes.
I will be posting some photos soon, showing our progress on the new place and preparations for opening.