Made in Warren is a boutique that carries the work of local artists, which is also run by the artists themselves. At any given time, they have works from 35-45 artists. We talked to Diana Cole, a stained glass artist and member of MIW, about the store’s unique mission and how to incorporate more local art into your life.
How did so many artists band together to start Made in Warren?
We evolved out of a pop-up store, Mudstone Artist Annex, which opened for the month of December in 2014 and by 2015 offered unique artworks for gifts. When the opportunity opened up to rent the beautiful space we now are in, the full-time store was renamed Made in Warren, Artist Cooperative. We offer unique artwork by over 40 artists from Southeastern New England. As a handmade-in-RI shop, all purchases are tax-free, and because it is an
artist-run non-profit, all profits of sold work go directly to the artists in the cooperative. This is our third year, and we recently won Providence Journal Readers’ Choice for Best Gift Shop in Rhode Island.
How often does the collection change?
Right now, we have wood-turned pens, felted hats, wire sculpture, ceramics, handcrafted wood items like boxes and clocks, jewelry, stained glass, glass vases and bowls, paintings, prints and photographs, fine models of ships… the list is extensive. Each month the artists change some of their inventory. As artists come and go we have new items. We recently accepted artists working in basketry, prints, photographs, and jewelry.
People often assume that art is expensive. How do you keep things affordable?
There is quite a range of items in the shop: cards at $5 up to a master model of a ship over $1000. There is plenty to choose from in the $5-$100 range and the $100-$300 range. So, a customer can find a more casual gift for a housewarming or a unique gift for a very special occasion such as a wedding, graduation or anniversary. Considering these are handmade gifts by accomplished artists, the prices are very reasonable. How can you afford not to buy?
What special things do you do on Bristol Warren Art Night?
We hold our events on the last Thursday of the month from June to September to coincide with Bristol Warren Art Night (this month, July 26). We have refreshments and demonstrations by one or more of our featured artists. At times we have our own music and sometimes a special promotion.
Art Night is so important to create community in Warren and Bristol and promote the wealth of art that takes place. There is a renaissance happening on Main Street in Warren. In the past couple of months, three new stores have opened. In April we had a Main Street Stroll featuring 12 stores within three blocks that offer artsy gifts or eclectic music. The street was filled with strollers from the community.
Here’s the hard question: how do you pick out art for someone else as a gift?
Personally, I think that gift giving is an opportunity to have an exchange between two people. As the giver I should love the gift I am giving. And I should have some imagination about what might be unexpected and unique in the eyes of the person I am giving to. When something is handmade, it can be treasured for years.
476 Main Street, Warren