Creativity fuels Gypsy Arts Studio
WORTHINGTON -- Susan Middagh has a need to create, and she knows she's not alone. So Middagh is channeling her creative energy into a new business, Gypsy Arts, a beading arts studio, at her rural Worthington home.
"The reason I named it Gypsy Arts was I went to the city to see if would be able to go to the parks to sell things, and they told me I needed a transient license," related Middagh. "I said, 'A transient license? That sounds like I'm a gypsy.' So I named it Gypsy Arts."
Instead of taking her wares on the road, however, Middagh decided to locate her new enterprise in the same building where she once ran The Gallery, a fine jewelry studio, with her sister-in-law Renee Middagh.
While jewelry is still a specialty, the focus has changed. The concept of Gypsy Arts is that people can pick out ready-made jewelry or embellished scarves, or select from a variety of bead and jewelry elements to create their own.
"There aren't a lot of places out there to get what you need," explained Middagh. "People who make jewelry can come and get the pieces of what they want to create here."
Middagh is collaborating with friend Cheryl DePover on designing the ready-made pieces that are showcased throughout the store. The pieces are available to purchase, but they also provide ideas for people who want to make their own designs.
"We want to specialize in weddings, proms, so we have a lot of crystal, glass beads, glass pearls," said Middagh. "We've done a lot of fancy designs, but you can pick out your own beads, what you like. It's not just a bead store; we can help you design it."
DePover has been having fun working with all the beads that Middagh has ordered and is teaching Middagh some of her jewelry-making techniques.
"Thank you for letting me come in and play with the beads," DePover said, pointing out a striking crystal piece that adorns a mannequin. "I just started playing around with the beads, putting that together. I held up the bottom half to Susan, and she said, 'I think I'm going to cry.'"
"Everything we make is one-of-a-kind, unless someone wants us to make a bunch of them" for a wedding party or other occasion, stressed Middagh. "And each custom piece has a name."
Additionally, Middagh will also carry a small selection of gemstones, gold, silver and stainless steel pieces such as The Gallery specialized in.
Middagh has made the embellished scarves for a few years and now has 900 scarves in stock along with all the beads and findings that can be used to make them unique
"I started dabbling in this when The Gallery was still open, and they sold pretty well," she said. "I thought it would be fun to do something I could be creative at. I've also had them at the (Nobles County) art center and did some shows in the summer."
The Gypsy Art studio is decorated with colorful fabrics and accessories fitting to its name. There is a separate lounge area where people can sit to create their own pieces, and another space where Middagh plans to offer jewelry classes. Scarves are displayed on curtain rods, and bins and hooks are stocked with bags full of beads, jewelry findings and tools. The walls are also adorned with a wide assortment of Shamballa bracelets and customizable necklaces in a variety of materials.
Another specialty of the store is the Diva Bag, a customizable small tote that can be filled with the client's selection of treats such as chocolates, candies, purse-sized coffee flavorings, teas, coffees soups --and jewelry, of course.
For a set fee, Middagh will also host parties for a group.
"They can come and do a project or just shop, and I will provide some hors d'oeuvres and refreshments," she explained, adding that The Gallery once hosted local club meetings, and she did programs about the various materials they used.
"I know a lot about stones and rocks," said Middagh with a laugh. "I don't just sell them, I know them. I've got rocks in my head."
All the materials used in the Gypsy Arts studio are of high quality --no plastic beads here --and the prices can range from a few cents a bead to the much pricier crystals and stones.
"I try to keep it as reasonable as I can, so I have to order in bulk," she said. "My philosophy is to keep it reasonable so that it's fun for people to come here and make something."
For the avid jewelry maker, Middagh offers bulk discounts based on how much the customer spends.
"We want to encourage people to buy here if they need a lot, in which case we can be like a wholesale bead place," she said.
Gypsy Arts is located at 29543 270th Street, 1½ miles west of Worthington on Nobles County 12 (go straight out on First Avenue Southwest past Prairie Elementary School). Hours are 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, phone 360-9214.