Lanesville, the historic home to quarry workers and lots of Finns, is seeing an echo of its past in two new shops that opened up just last weekend. Both shops have a Scandinavian feel, in the sense of a minimal aesthetic with an emphasis on texture — and both take their inspiration from the natural world. And both shops are as far as it is possible to be from the world of the mall with its chain stores. Handmade, individually chosen pieces are the rule here. Which sounds just about right for Lanesville.
Wulla is located just a few doors up from the Plum Cove Grind and the Post Office, right in the heart of Lanesville. It was opened by two designers, friends who met through their love of textiles. They make all the pieces you see in the shop, including the clothes, with the exception of a few felt pieces (like the boots), with a sophistication that undermines any ideas you might have about what a homemade knitted shawl looks like. The whole place has such a soothing aesthetic that I didn’t know whether to buy a handmade felt bag or lay down and take a nap in the dressing room, and I mean that as a compliment. I hope my husband reads this post, as I did see one thing in particular that I covet, among many covetable items: a cable knit cowl, designed to be buttoned around the neck for a upscale, yet earthy departure from the scarf. The best part about this piece is that the buttons were crafted from a tree in one of the owner’s backyards. Lean in close to smell the button (yes, I asked for permission) and the faint scent of cedar remains. You have to experience the beauty and serenity for yourself: stop by Wulla, open Wednesday through Sunday, and meet the women behind these beautiful items.
Then hop across the street (look both ways before you leap of course, and maybe you want to take a coffee break at the Grind between stops) to check out Jemil Beauchamp. Be sure to ask Jenny, the owner and store’s namesake, to point out her handiwork: handmade leather bags and beautifully dyed textiles using the Japanese shibori technique. Jenny’s husband is the artist Kurt Ankeny (whose incredible new work is at Alchemy through August 5th) so you have the added pleasure of seeing his landscapes on the walls of the shop. Besides the beautiful textiles, Jemil Beauchamp carries a carefully edited selection of vintage pieces, and while everything is available for purchase, it is all displayed in such a lovely, austere manner that each piece becomes a sort of visual tribute to a time gone by. Which is kind of how Lanesville itself feels, a tiny piece of the past, whose time has come to be revitalized in a way that best suits the neighborhood, by creative people who live and work there, members of the community if every sense. For hours and more information, visit www.jemilbeauchamp.com.