Many of our members create wonderful works for just such an occasion and you can find them at shows, open studios, and galleries – galleries like the one owned by one of our charter members, P. J. Heyman – Village Artisans Gallery.
Since 1995, Village Artisans Gallery has offered the very best in American-artisan-made, and much of it Pennsylvania-made, fine works of craft and art. P.J.’s strong background in fine craft has enabled her to create an award-winning gallery, having been recognized with multiple Niche Awards, “Best of” awards, the respect and gratitude of the artisans whom she represents, and the loyalty of a large and devoted group of customers
We asked P.J how she came to the business of owning Village Artisans Gallery. It seems that she surprised herself! Here’s what she told us:
As a stained glass artist I had been looking to get out of my basement “dungeon”. Even though it was a great place to work, the light situation was not ideal. When the opportunity to purchase the building which houses Village Artisans Gallery presented itself my husband urged me to take it.
Originally I saw it as a place to have studio spaces and a small sales floor for the studio artists and a few consignees. We opened with three studio spaces and about 50 consignees. Now, almost twenty years later, Gay Foltz’ folk art carving studio, one of the originals is still active – and a great draw – for the Gallery.
I quickly discovered that making stained glass panels etc. and also selling other artist’s work does not work if you want to do a decent job of both, so I opted to concentrate on the gallery end of the business.
Village Artisans has a remarkable variety of high-caliber work – the direct result of the discerning eye of the owner. P.J. tells us that she chooses to represent artisans whose work is American handmade, preferably PA made, of the highest quality, and resonant with the artists’ unique voices. She also explains the importance of the symbiotic relationship between the artisans and the gallery.
I am here to support their efforts and they need to help support me in that.
We can tell you, P.J. makes that very easy to do.
When we asked her what’s the most fun about owning Village Artisans Gallery, P.J’s responses perfectly illustrated why she’s so successful. As you’ll see, she values customers first, artisans, second, and herself, last.
When a new customer comes in and exclaims things like “Wow, this is the kind of place I like!”, or regular customers come back and say “ I know I can find just the right thing for …..(fill in the blank with person or occasion) or they come in with a friend because “I knew you’d like this place!” or they just come in to browse because it’s so relaxing and enjoyable.
When I can send a really nice size check to an artist at the end of the month.
Having people take the time to vote for Village Artisans Gallery in the various “Best of….” “Best in ….” etc. contests.
When we asked her what gives her heartburn, she was, as always, on point and professional. As with many artists, P.J. is not fond of paperwork and housekeeping. She also does not relish having to decline to represent interested artists whose work is not the right fit for Village Artisans Gallery.
P.J says that good artisans will check with the gallery regularly to see whether new work is needed; deliver their work ready to display; and (especially for artisans shipping work to the gallery) pack work well enough to assure that work arrives in fine shape, but does not “require a blowtorch or machete to open boxes!”
P.J. credits the success of Village Artisans Gallery to the artisans she represents; the charm (and fine work) of Gay Foltz, the resident wood carver; and exemplary customer service. We think all those things are the result of the dedication, talent, and character of the owner!
Village Artisans Gallery offers the works of thirty-three Yellow Breeches Chapter members, along with the works of other highly skilled and diverse artisans. Please make it a point to visit this jewel of a gallery. There’s plenty of free parking, gift wrapping available, and an answer to every gift need on your list!