by Taylor McCleneghan –
Our Edgewater and Andersonville neighborhoods are brimming with independent businesses and community spaces. In this story, I want to spotlight several in particular that have really caught my eye.
Martha Mae: Art Supplies and Beautiful Things opened this past October at 5407 N. Clark, just north of Balmoral. Owner Jean Marie Cate has curated her shop following the advice of famed artist William Morris:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
In addition to high quality art supplies, Cate sells highly-functional and attractive pieces for desks at home and work, as well as prints, paintings, and drawings by Cate herself, and ceramics pieces by local artist Andrew Jessup. One thing’s for sure, Cate’s ability to curate and display impeccably-designed products is not to be missed.
She also teaches drawing, ceramics and bookbinding one-on-one but plans to rearrange things a bit to facilitate small classes.
Why the name, Martha Mae? Turns out that’s the name of her Cavalier King James Spaniel who shares the shop space.
To get a feel for the shop, visit www.marthamae.info
Edgewater Workbench is a multi-purpose creative space located at 1130 W. Thorndale, just west of the Thorndale Red Line stop. The small storefront looks a bit chaotic and at first I wasn’t sure what the space was used for. But with a little research I learned that the shop is equipped with tools and materials needed for assembling, fixing, cutting and gluing.
Among these items are several 3D printing machines and precision laser cutters. Interestingly, I found that the marketing department of my own company had gone to Edgewater Workbench for laser cuts of our company logo!
Co-owner Ally Brisbin has been involved in many community programs and is currently serving as Economic Development & Communications Director for the 48th Ward under Harry Osterman. Consistent with that community involvement, Edgewater Workbench also provides space for After School Matters, a city-wide nonprofit offering after school and summer programs for high school teens.
By the way, Edgewater Workbench has a pet, too, though of less royal lineage – a white and gray “shop cat.” To read more, and to inquire about your own custom projects, visit www.edgewaterworkbench.com
Community Glue Workshop, another of Ally Brisbin’s initiatives, offers hands-on help in fixing broken household and personal items. Workshops are held the 3rd Sunday of each month at – you guessed it – Edgewater Workbench on Thorndale.
These workshops encourage a mindset that values maintaining, reusing, and recycling the items we use day-in, day-out. Helpers are experienced volunteer handypersons from the community.
Matter of fact, my husband and I visited just recently with an expensive iron in need of a new cord and a suitcase in need of a new handle. Not a problem thanks to Ken, who once worked in a repair shop but now works in real estate. We loved meeting other Edgewater residents as we crossed things off our to-do list.
Wondering what to bring? A few other items I noticed: a wire shopping basket, wood side table, a bike light, a piece of metal wall art, holey socks, a vacuum, and toaster oven.
To volunteer your own services, and to donate to this nonprofit organization, visit www.http://communityglueworkshop.org/
Taylor is a member of the Newsletter Committee.