Specialty Shops Offer the Exotic and Unexpected, July 30, 2015
The Wiscasset Art Walk on July 30, 5-8pm, is an excellent time to treat yourself to a retail adventure. The art in Wiscasset’s artist-owned galleries is splendid. The variety of delicious eating venues in the Village center is awesome. But have you shopped the shops? Wiscasset Village is home to a collection of unique, beautiful, and sometimes quirky storefronts, each expressing the interests and tastes of the owner.
Not to be missed are the upper Middle St. shops: Michael Dunn Antiques, Elliott Healey Books & Antiques, and Butterstamp Workshop. They are a world tour in 200 feet!
Owner Michael Dunn is the proprietor of the only shop in Wiscasset, Michael Dunn Antiques at 49 Middle St., focusing exclusively on Asian art. He especially enjoys collecting and selling household items, “things people handled,” like wooden candlesticks, chests, and book cabinets – most from the 19th century – rather than Imperial pieces made for and used by the ruling class. He’s been shopping in Asia for 20 years and, like a true collector, must respond tothe pieces himself: “I look at it and I like it. Then comes the why.” He and his wife Wurui, who he met in China, use personal contacts to help them locate the exceptional pieces found in this shop. While Michael Dunn Antiques may seem like a curated museum, all items are for sale andMichael and Wurui will tell you their stories. Enter and gawk!
Elliott Healey, Books and Antiques at 53 Middle St. is an armchair traveller’s paradise, a collector’s treasure chest. Elliott travels extensively to Southeast Asia and Central and South America – for more than half of each year – and always brings back new collections of assorted wares. He, too, will only buy and sell things he likes and his shop expresses his grand worldview. Although Elliott’s been an antiquarian book and map seller for 42 years, he also enjoys “the hunt” of finding domestic items on his travels that are strongly ethnic and traditionally made. His shop includes ethnic textiles, jewelry, baskets, and pottery along with domestic antique lamps and bookends. Spend a few minutes, or a few days, perusing – and don’t miss the gardens in the back yard.
For a completely different shopping experience, visit Butterstamp Workshop at 55 Middle St. where country primitive folk art is the specialty. Owners Lois and David Kwantz, who hand make 50% of the items they sell, keep 18th and19th century traditions alive with their charming collection of reproduction folk art. David makes beeswax ornaments, colored with cranberry and scented with cinnamon oil, using antique chocolate molds. Lois creates other decorative items for the home using antique butterstamp molds from the Kwantz’ personal collection of over 500 molds. (Yes, they are still looking for more antique molds.) Step in the door and be transported to an earlier time and place.
So much to see and enjoy during the July 30 Wiscasset Art Walk! In addition to the Village’s retail gems, look for the Breakers Jazz Band on the pier, strolling musicians, wine tasting at Treats, and art, art, art! The Art Walks are held on the last Thursday of the summer months: July 30, August 27, and September 24, from 5pm – 8pm. Participant sites are marked with shiny streamers, and touring maps are available throughout the village. Major Sponsors are Big Barn Coffee, Carleton Realty, Carriage House Gardens, The First, and Ames True Value.Additional sponsors are the Carl M.P. Larrabee Agency, Fogg Art Painting Restoration & Custom Framing, and The Shady Lady.