Kin at the core

The gallery and shop has a distinct feel, and a deep family connection.


What makes the Edgartown-based gallery and boutique Kin different from other businesses around town? Lisa Brown, who owns and operates the shop along with her niece Gareth Brown, says what makes Kin unique is that it is solely dedicated to showcasing handcrafted work by its family of artists and artisans. “Gareth and I are individuals,” she says. “This is not a buy-to-sell space. That’s what makes us special. There’s a sweetness to this store.”

The shop itself is a lovely, well-lit space with carefully curated items that all lend themselves to the attractive atmosphere. The second floor features studio space, where Gareth designs and sews, and a gallery of larger works by Marston Clough and Lisa Brown. The two-story shop and gallery, located on North Water Street, will open for the season this weekend, unveiling new work by all of the artists — plus a few new faces.

Lisa Brown’s photographs set the tone for the space. Lisa who, as an artist, goes by the name LA Brown, calls her most recent work “evocative and playful.”

“Some are poetic and serious,” she says, “some are whimsical and lighthearted.”

Lisa’s images capture scenes from the Vineyard and Europe in atmospheric light, giving them a sort of magical-mystical quality.

Gareth’s contributions to the inventory are a selection of her own designs in clothing and hair accessories from a collection she calls Rooey Knots. The headbands, headwraps, and hair ties are made from repurposed vintage men’s ties, combining two or more different complementary patterns, and are each one of a kind. Gareth’s line of small-batch boutique clothing includes dresses, jumpsuits, palazzo pants, jackets, and more, in interesting fabrics, some imported from China, where the designer previously studied.

Along with photos by Brown, the gallery and shop feature work by local artists, including ceramics by Frank Creney, paintings by Marston Clough, (surprisingly affordable) gemstone fine jewelry by Sissy Yates, bags and pillows by Sylvie Carrington, nautical-inspired baskets by MC Lamarre, and paper art by Ingrid Goff Maidoff, along with a selection of jewelry and clothing by a couple of Brooklyn-based designers — friends of Gareth’s from her days designing and selling in NYC.

Also on offer are copies of books by Brown’s cousin, Christine Breen Williams, and her husband Niall Williams. Titles include Niall’s latest novel “This Is Happiness,” dedicated to the memory of Lisa’s brother P.J., who died in 2018, and “In Kiltumper: A Year in an Irish Garden,” co-written by the couple. Kin’s only other salesperson besides Lisa and Gareth is the elder Brown’s sister-in-law, Maryanne Jerome.

“The shop has kin at its core,” says the photographer, noting the family connection, including Kin’s extended family of artists, who frequently stop by for visits. “With the Kin family there’s a rhythm and a connection that goes with it.”

Kin originally opened its doors in a small space by the Edgartown dock before moving to its current location on North Water Street, where it is nestled behind a white picket fence and tiny yard.

In June, Lisa and Gareth will host their second annual art and fashion show, which will be spread out through the shop’s backyard and the village green behind the building. Models will showcase new Rooey Knots creations, while Lisa and others will display art. Last year’s theme of “Black and White” will be followed this time around by “Chroma,” featuring lots of color.

Quoting JFK, Lisa refers to the local support she and Gareth have received, saying, “‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ That’s what you hope for in a small community.”

Kin, located at 12 North Water St. in Edgartown, will be open Thursdays through Mondays, 11 am to 6 pm, expanding to seven days a week later in May.