Nobody said that living the artist’s life would be easy – but for the owners of three local galleries, remembering the struggles of” creating” their own incomes in a tourist-driven economy has almost faded into the realm of the insignificant. All seem to agree that chasing after their passion comes with rewards that far outweigh the frustrations.
Edgewood Orchard Galleries is giving thanks for 35 years in business. Owners Anne and Minnow Emerson and their daughter Nell are finishing work on a year-long project entitled “An Artist’s Food For Thought: A Collection of Recipes, Memories and Art.” The 200- page cookbook, available at Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek, contains favorite recipes from artists represented by the gallery, and those who’ve worked in the gallery over the years. Full-color images of food-related artwork make each page a feast for the eyes, and the generous donation of all printing and binding costs will make it possible to pass the full $20 retail price of each book on to organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry, including the local Feed My People.
Door County was a much different place 28 years ago when David and Jeanne Aurelius took a brave step and relocated from Iowa to open Clay Bay Pottery in Ellison Bay. “We had no idea what it meant to be shopkeepers, we just wanted to be potters,” says David. Almost three decades of keeping shop and throwing pots on the same property that the couple calls home has given them a strong appreciation for how intertwined work and life can become. The couple also raised two daughters (now at college) on their property, and feel grateful for the impact it’s had on their family. “We were able to be here for our daughters when they got off the school bus…what a luxury, and a joy,” says Jeanne. “Of course, we love working in the studio and operating the gallery, but all along we’ve also really tried to leave ourselves plenty of family time, and time for the things that inspire us. We love to find chances for bike riding and swimming during the summer. It may be the busy season, but Door County summers are too short. We love our work, and fortunately, we can still make time to enjoy the beauty and fun of being where we are.”
Judy and Larry ‘Thor’ Thoreson of Gills Rock Stoneware remember the days 25 years ago when a handful of fledgling artists began setting up Studios in Door County. “Our story is pretty much the typical tale of building a business, with all of its ups and downs,” says Judy. “But through it all, we’ve felt so lucky to be doing what we choose to do – what we love to do.” Despite moving their studio/gallery from Gills Rock to Ellison Bay, faithful friends have followed. “We see so many people in the gallery year after year,” Thor muses. “Our customers and employees have been so wonderful…and they’ve become like family to us.”
Edgewood Orchard Galleries is located at 4140 Peninsula Players Road, Fish Creek. (920) 868-3579.
Clay Bay Pottery is located at 11650 Highway 42, Ellison Bay. (920) 854-5027.
Gills Rock Stoneware is located at the corner of Lakeview Road and Highway 42, Ellison Bay. (920) 854-2774.