Two Tinkers fine art/jewelry shop opens in Charleston
Three floors up and several days ago, an emporium of unique fine art, jewelry and other creations made its debut in downtown Charleston in the midst of the recent FestivALL festivities.
The Two Tinkers is open for browsing and business at 717 Lee St., E., Charleston, on the third floor of the Odd Fellows Building, across from Davis Park.
Items available include an eclectic selection of fine art, which includes portraits, landscapes, wildlife paintings and holiday cards. Also in stock is an array of original, out-of-the-ordinary, one-of-a-kind, handmade jewelry, such as minkbone necklaces and other bone items and beetles-in-resin and cicada wings-in-resin earrings, pendants and similar accessories.
The Two Tinkers, in the flesh, are Mary Ellen Baughman and Rebecca Hemsworth. A St. Albans resident, Baughman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts-Graphic Design degree from West Virginia State University. Hemsworth, who lives in Charleston, graduated from Marshall University and is a graphic designer and fine artist who specializes in watercolor, pastels, found art and three-dimensional pieces.
Baughman and Hemsworth have a long-running professional history that evolved into friendship and eventual collaboration, having worked at several employers together since the early 1990s, most recently at Charleston Newspapers.
“We were in the same field of study, so we kept working in the same places,” Hemsworth explained. “Then we both we ended up at the newspaper. I worked there from 2000 to 2017.”
“And I worked there from 2000 to 2011,” Baughman said.
Four years ago, the Two Tinkers began working together in earnest, their works tucked into a trunk to carry to craft shows, conventions and other venues throughout the region. “She came up with the concept of making wind chimes out of spoons and forks. We collaborated on that, and we started selling a few of those. We decided that we could make this a business, because we complemented each other so well on things,” Baughman said.
“I would have these crazy ideas,” Hemsworth said, “and she would have the know-how of how to put it together.”
“We started with the trunk. Our first show was Charcon in 2013,” Baughman said.
“We were doing one show per season. Then, last year, we were doing one or two shows per month,” Hemsworth said.
“We decided we couldn’t just keep carrying this stuff around,” Baughman said. “The more we went, the more we created, and it went from a trunk to about six tubs.”
“And then an entire van full, all the way to the top,” Hemsworth said.
“Sometimes it wouldn’t fit in the van and we had to take two cars,” Baughman said.
“Sometimes, we’ve had to rent U-Hauls,” Hemsworth added.
“We were starting to get stuff damaged, between the weather and banging on stuff,” Baughman said.
The pair also synergize with each other artistically with their respective outputs.
“Our styles are different,” Hemsworth said. “I have more of an Impressionistic-type style with bright colors and simple shapes, and she’s more of a realist. She can paint from a reference, get the shading right, do figures.”
“I have helped her become more meticulous in her work,” Baughman said, “and she’s helped me become freer in my work. Before, I was taking months on a painting ...”
“And I do a painting a night,” Hemsworth appended.
“And now I’m down to a week or so,” Baughman said, laughing.
“We try to do unique things, maybe things we’ll see in a bigger city and then bring it here,” said Hemsworth. “A new product I’ve come up with are the Bohemian silent chimes.”
Baughman and Hemsworth accept commissions for family, child, pet and customized portraits.
Photo editing services are also available, as is layaway for merchandise.
The Two Tinkers offer consignment opportunities in their new space, as well. Contact them for further details.
Along with their showroom, the artists have a private studio space at their new, downtown location. “That was one of the boons of this place,” Baughman said. “We have a place to create now, so we’re not creating out of our houses and our husbands are saying, ‘Why is this stuff all over the place?’”
Hemsworth and Baughman will still be on the road again on occasion to display their wares. Upcoming local destinations include the Wild and Wonderful Arts and Crafts Fair June 30 through July 5 at Cedar Lakes near Ripley and Shocka-Con in Charleston Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. Other events will be announced on the Two Tinkers Facebook page.
As well as Facebook, their works can be viewed on Etsy, Pinterest and Instagram online.
The Two Tinkers is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays.
For more information, contact the Two Tinkers at 681-215-8399 or email@example.com