Jewelry designers and artist set up shop in Beacon
By Alison Rooney
Beacon’s latest art gallery is also its latest boutique.
Artifact Beacon, a gallery and storefront at 17 E. Main St., will host its grand opening on Second Saturday, May 12. Its three owners have spent the past few months renovating the light-filled space across from the Roundhouse.
The business is a collaboration between Carolyn Baccaro, a jewelry designer who moved to Beacon two years ago from New York City; Janet Chung of Brooklyn, also a jewelry designer; and Johnny Defeo, a painter who splits his time between Beacon and Denver.
The trio met while employed at a design studio in the city. They envision their startup as a home for their product lines and artwork, as well as homewares, decorative objects and accessories, and a space for exhibits and workshops.
They started talking shop when Baccaro shared her desire to shift her jewelry-making outside of her home. Self-taught, she became intrigued with a process called electroforming, which fuses copper onto another medium via a low voltage charge. It allows artists to create thicker copper structures layered over materials such as glass or wax. Trays loaded up with electroformed rings, made from raw gemstones and crystals nestled in raw copper and sold under the name Rock Dove Jewelry, are central pieces in the store.
Chung’s line, Halmi Co., is focused on leather that she recycles into necklaces, earrings and other accessories, frequently with tassels, some adorned with glitter. Defeo’s colorful paintings, which are the subject of Artifact Beacon’s inaugural exhibit, depict vivid botanical images and looming national park landscapes. He also creates textiles and wallpaper designs.
The partners tested their concept in November at the Made + Given Pop-Up Shop at the A Little Beacon Blog space on Main Street. “It was really fun, and we had a great reception, so that spurred us on,” Baccaro says.
Their two-story storefront was formerly a workspace and showroom for Gwenno James’ textile designs and, more recently, collage artist/painter and printmaker Samantha Beste, who still has a studio in the basement. “Meeting both Gwenno and Sam has been great,” says Baccaro, who grew up in Connecticut and studied writing at The New School and has an MFA in poetry from Western Connecticut State University.
She and Chung will focus on products and Defeo will supervise the gallery. Submissions to both are welcome. A preview they provided of the shop revealed brass bracelets, Kalastyle cabin soaps, Prosperity Candles, wooden objects made by Kingston furniture and living space designer Sam Horowitz, Peruvian handbags and wallets made with natural dyes, and Spazz Happy Line Design minimalist geometric sculptures.
“We’re working with small makers and also with more traditional wholesaler goods,” Baccaro says. “The goal is to keep things affordable, and to always offer a range of pricing, artworks included. We want to have art people can fall in love with and take home that day, without hesitation.”
The biggest challenge, says Baccaro, has been the number-crunching. “There’s math involved!” she says, with a laugh. “Inventory, learning Shopify, lots of new skills being learned. A little terrifying but totally worth it.”
Artifact Beacon will be open late on May 12. Its regular hours haven’t been established but will include Friday through Sunday. See artifactbeacon.com or, for a sneak peek, instagram.com/artifactbeacon.