Emily Graf and Nikki Tupesis have moved from their home studios to creating work in their own gallery and studio space. The pair opened Juneberry, an artist studio and marketplace, on East Johnson Street Sept. 18.
The sunny, open gallery is a showplace for their artwork and the work of more than 30 Madison area artists and crafters.
“It’s great to work from home, but it’s also isolating,” Tupesis said of her years of sewing and fabric design at home. A passionate textile artist who also worked from home, Graf said her son told her, “You need to start working somewhere else because soon you’ll be felting the roof.”
Graf creates hats, scarves and clothing by piecing silk and wool together. She said she’s been working with textiles for years, but fell in love with felting wool a few years ago. Tupesis inherited her grandmother’s sewing machine, taught herself to sew, and now sews bags, pillow covers and fabric bins. She also creates her own fabric designs, many inspired by her husband’s Latvian family roots. The designs are bold, geometric patterns inspired by traditional Latvian folk symbols.
The pair recruited fellow artists, some who had never sold their work before, for Juneberry.
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“It’s a nice, safe place for them to give it a try,” Tupesis said.
Juneberry has a work room in the back where they work on their projects and teach classes. Each month will feature a different artist spotlight or special event. October begins with participation in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art gallery walk.
“We welcome people into our space,” she said. “We see parents telling their kids not to touch, but here we say, ‘Come in, you can touch this, feel the materials.’ Children are really drawn to the studio and we think that’s great … it’s good to start them early with art.”
A recent visit found vibrant pottery by Nstar Studio, felted wool cloche hats, geometric-patterned pillows, artisan jewelry and some refurbished furniture.
Juneberry is located at the corner of East Johnson and Blount streets. Park on Blount Street to avoid Johnson Street construction.