By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 12, 2018) Heather Layton, former owner of Bungalow Love and current chairwoman of the Berlin Arts and Entertainment Committee, will be the featured artist at Baked Dessert Café during the July 2nd Friday art stroll this week.
Her work will include several handmade seashell mirrors, as well as driftwood and air plant plaques and, her personal favorite, her “baby doll plaques,” Layton said.
“I totally understand: you love them or hate them. There is really no in between!” Layton said of the pieces. “That’s OK, they are a definite conversation piece.”
The first such plaques were made a few years ago during the annual Arts and Entertainment collaborative show at the Globe.
“It was themed ‘Monstrous’ and was left up to artist interpretation,” Layton said. “‘Toy Story’ was one of my kids’ favorite movies when they were little and the scene where Sid takes his sisters dolls apart and creates weird new creations out of them was my inspiration.
“I’ve toned it down a bit and since that show [and] use beautiful, well-loved antique dolls, vintage inspired wallpaper, driftwood, moss and other tidbits to create the plaques now,” she added.
Layton said the decision to leave Bungalow Love last year was difficult and “something I struggled with for a while.”
“I knew it was the right decision for my family though,” she said. “Funny thing is, my game plan was to sit back and sell the Fair Trade Guatemalan goods that I directly import, online. However, shortly after selling Bungalow Love, Jen David of the Globe approached me about hosting Eat, Drink & DIY workshops and paint nights at the Globe.”
Layton had hosted similar events at Bungalow Love, a shop that started on William Street in 2009 and moved to Main Street six years later.
“Although I’m still selling the Guatemalan imports, the Eat, Drink & DIY workshops have been my primary focus,” she said. “I’m working from home, so I can update the website at midnight if I have to and I’m available to my family.
“The last few years of owning the brick and mortar, there were weeks I worked six or seven days and even when I was off, I wasn’t truly off,” Layton continued. “I am beyond thankful for everyone that made Bungalow Love such a success and some days I really miss it – especially the people. But getting out and hosting these workshops, I still get to meet cool people and interact with the public.”
Layton said Bungalow Love was opened as a space to sell handmade items she and her sister created. She made jewelry, refinished furniture, handcrafted seashell mirrors, hand-stamped jewelry and flatware, “and other little things here and there.”
Her sister, Kiki, sewed “Kiki Burleigh” handbags and clutches, and made dresses and dolls for young girls.
“The shop became so busy, I didn’t have time to create anything. Orders were taking me forever to fulfill and I ended up bringing in local artisans in consignment,” Layton said. “Now, I have some time to create again, which I find therapeutic.”
Layton’s handmade goods are now available online at gypseatide.com and on Facebook and Instagram both as @gypseatide. More information about Eat, Drink & DIY workshops can be found online.
Along with the workshops and other public appearances, including a booth at the Berlin Peach Festival in August, Layton plans to host popup shops during the holidays and will curate a winter exhibition at the Globe.
“I’ve reached out to a handful of local artists, each bringing their own unique, original work to the table,” Layton said. “The gallery will have a boutique feel and will be set up for easy gift shopping. The show will run and be restocked throughout November and December.”
Layton also continues to support other area artists and artisans through her committee work, which includes the outdoor Maker’s Market held in conjunction with 2nd Friday during the warmer months.
“The committee also has some public art murals in the works, including a fabulous, timeless design by Brian Robertson depicting Berlin that we are still looking for a home for it to be painted on,” she said. “The historic district [commission] loved the design, so that’s wonderful and a great start.
“I encourage everyone to ‘like’ the Berlin Arts and Entertainment Facebook to stay up to date on projects, fundraisers and volunteer opportunities,” Layton continued. “We are currently seeking a grant writer. Anyone interested can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Artisans interested in participating in the Maker’s Market can sign up at www.artsinberlin.org.
“Berlin is full of talent,” Layton said. “I hope people continue to support the local arts. I also must give Jen David a ginormous thank you for all of her support and faith in me. She’s allowed me many opportunities to grow and continues to do so, thank you Jen!”