Made Here at home on Circuit Avenue

Wampum jewelry by Gwen Nichols. — Photo courtesy of Made Here on the Vineyard

Philip Tucker of Made Here On the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs had decisions to make two Saturdays ago when Hurricane Irene was breathing down his back. But he’s good at making decisions, and changed the date of Alena Grady’s show to this past Sunday. He’s especially pleased about his decision to move his craft shop and art gallery from Nevin Square in Edgartown to Circuit Avenue.

“Much better this year,” he says. “Of course, it’s our start-up year and all, but business has been better than in Edgartown. And I’m more comfortable here.”

He explains, “There’s a sense of community among retailers on Circuit Avenue that I was missing. The merchants here are very open, they’ll give you tips and advice that is good for your business. It’s also easier to be discovered here than it was at our Edgartown location.”

Mr. Tucker continues, “I planned the space as a store and it morphed into a gallery.”

Made Here has three distinct retail rooms. The entrance is stocked with everything from Carol Orr jellies to handmade vests and jewelry from multiple artisans, including his own work.

With an increase of about 50 percent in retail space, he displays the work of 59 artists, whose original, signed artwork is shown on consignment.

The featured artists include folk artists, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, painters, and multimedia artists. Their names include Stephanie Flor, Brian Fitzpatrick, Ed Schulman, Michael Wooley, Thomas Hurst, Skip Yetter, Heather Harris, Nancy Purnell, Heather Gude, Ross Swiriduk, Christy Kingsbury, and Rocco Vitelle.

Next to the main entrance space, a street-facing room is devoted to the work of several different artists and the partitioned space behind it is devoted to the work of a single artist on a two-week rotation.

“The artists have come to me. We have some holdovers from the Edgartown location. Basically, we just see what works,” he says. “I have learned not to use my own taste as a barometer. What may not move me is sometimes perfect for a customer. I’ve also learned that what sells in Edgartown doesn’t sell in Oak Bluffs and vice-versa.”

He’s still reworking the store’s display and presentation formats. “There is a lot here. It’s a very exciting store but it can be difficult to shop, to see everything,” he said.

Mr. Tucker will have all winter to fine-tune the space. Made Here is open seven days a week until 
Columbus Day, then five days a week through Christmas and three days through the winter. “We may be closed for two weeks in February for vacation,” he said.

But until then, it will be business as usual, giving local artists the opportunity to display their work for sale, and providing people with a chance to see what’s being made here on the Vineyard.

Made Here On the Vineyard, 55 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs. 508-360-4375.