Check it: Artisan Design Network Gallery, in Traverse City

Worth an exploration, the Artisan Design Network.

Our travel editor, Lisa Doublestein, will be writing her September 2010 travel department about Art-based weekend getaways Up North, and she’ll be including a suggestion to stop in to the Artisan Design Network, in Traverse City, as part of the one of the trips.

The thought of that inspired me to stop in to the Artisan Design Network last night while roaming Front Street. Was reminded all over again why I’m so impressed by what’s going on here. First rate stuff stem to stern.

Will be fascinating to watch how things evolve for the group of about 50 artisans who banded together to form a co-op and launch one of the north’s most distinctive galleries. One thing I liked about the gallery is the range of work. A handmade wood rowboat with finely crafted oars sits in the middle of the floor, evocative twilight landscape oils by David Grath on the walls, super-finely crafted furniture, like a flawless coffee table by Joe Stearns and a lovely chest of drawers by Joe Buteyn, mask-inspired works by Rufus Snoddy.

Artwork by Rufus Snoddy (foreground), David Grath (oil painting) and others at the Artisan Design Network.

The members take turns working the gallery, and last night furniture maker Paul Paradis was on watch. It was after 8 o’clock, so foot traffic was slow, and we had time to chat for a good while about the gallery, the mission, how things are going and whatnot.

A couple of ideas to keep an eye out for. The gallery hopes to open a room where interior designers can meet with clients onsite to select fine art and furniture. The group is also considering offering the space for gatherings, like for afterglow parties (coasters for drinks, of course). Not sure when we’ll see these things, but they’ll be good for artists and the whole community if they come together.

Get over and check it out if you haven’t been. 118 E. Front St. Front Street, Traverse City.—Jeff Smith is editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine

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