In the heart of St. Charles, there is a collective of creative people--artisans, makers, collectors, and craftsmen who are, in their words, “passionate about all things designed, handmade, vintage, cool, repurposed and unique.”
Open since November 2018, Arts Meets Vintage, at 501 North Kingshighway-second floor, focuses on supporting local artists and unique artwork, while also caring for the environment through recycling and repurposing. “We love items that are high quality, have character and authenticity…and we can upcycle them into something amazing.
“Our goal is to create and offer carefully curated items, presented and repurposed in creative ways,” explains owner Gregory Dierlam.
He says he became interested in art as a child. “I took private lessons as a kid and went to college for art education. I’m a collector at heart, so I’ve been collecting most of my life…drifting toward mid-century items. This space really puts those two passions together. It’s similar to how I’ve decorated my home in New Town…with collected items and eclectic art. I wanted to open a space where I’m promoting local artists…getting to know them and having their offerings in my gallery…and done in a very approachable way, not ‘stuffy.’ I wanted authenticity and quality.”
There are about 25 local artists and collectors represented at Art Meets Vintage. Gregory says they’re looking forward to getting back to hosting monthly events where artists come together to promote their work to the community…like a gallery opening…with food, wine, and live music by local talent.
“The artists are very supportive of each other and inspiring to each other, so those events were great and we really miss them right now. But they’ll be back.”
But that’s not all this exciting and unique building hosts…while Art Meets Vintage is on the upper-level, Art Glass Array is housed on the first level.
Owner Lisa Becker opened her business in 2008, after leaving the housing industry where she created stained glass entryways for a local builder. She went on to teach herself the art of glass fusion, bought a kiln, and opened the business in the building that originally was her grandfather’s (and then her father’s) auto supply store for more than 20 years.
“At the time I opened Art Glass Array, there was a pottery business in the lower level, and I was in the upper level where Art Meets Vintage is now.”
Lisa says the building is unique, not only because of her family ties to it, but because they have so many artists, and different kinds of artwork there.
Art Glass Array is a working studio, a showroom/retail store with finished glass gifts made there, and an education center for kiln-formed glass.
Glass fusing is the joining together of pieces of glass at high temperature, usually in a kiln at between 1250-2500 degrees. While the precise origins of glass fusing techniques are not known with certainty, there is archeological evidence that the Egyptians were familiar with techniques ca. 2000 BCE. Although this date is generally accepted by researchers, some historians argue that the earliest fusing techniques were first developed by the Romans, who were much more prolific glassworkers. Fusing was the primary method of making small glass objects for approximately 2,000 years, until the development of the glass blowpipe. Glassblowing largely supplanted fusing due to its greater efficiency and utility.
While glass working in general enjoyed a revival during the Renaissance, fusing was largely ignored during this period. Fusing began to regain popularity in the early part of the 20th century, particularly in the U.S. during the 1960s. Modern glass fusing is a widespread hobby but the technique is also gaining popularity in the world of fine art.
Art Glass Array offers a full line of fusing supplies as well as beginner to advanced classes. Lisa says they have plenty of room to space people out. “We host internationally known artists to instruct here and I have the privilege of teaching in host studios across the USA.”
Art Glass Array is open Wednesday – Saturday. They can be reached at 636.724.0288.
Art Meets Vintage is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For information, call 636.448.9575.