Last March, Amanda Coburn, Anne Reigstad and Roxanne Munksgaard opened with Donna Tumosa a shop highlighting Maine jewelry and artisans, on a stretch of Main Road in Hampden.
A lot can happen in a year, though. As the months went by it became clear to Coburn and company that Bangor had developed a hip, happening downtown — and that a shop such as hers would be a natural fit for the burgeoning arts scene downtown.
Maine Jewelry & Art, which opened last week at 96 Harlow St. in downtown Bangor, features jewelry both elegant and funky, and fine housewares and accessories, from a wide variety of artists and artisans from all over eastern and central Maine. Coburn, Reigstad and Munksgaard moved into the space over the holidays and say it already feels like home to them.
“I feel like the arts community in Bangor has grown by leaps and bounds just in the past year and a half,” said Stillwater resident Coburn, who makes beautiful silver and copper creations under her Riverside Jewelry Designs line. “It’s a really tight-knit, supportive community, so why wouldn’t you want to be located right in the heart of it?”
The shop features a variety of items at all price levels. There are handmade designer bags from The Dreaded Bag Lady, aka Vicki Anderson of Bangor, who creates hip, one-of-a-kind handbags from repurposed materials. There’s the oxidized silver gemstone jewelry of Bangor’s David Savage, who produces earrings and bracelets under the Dorkorama label. There are intricate, fascinating, steampunk-inspired necklaces and earrings from Deb Rollins of Brewer, and beautifully carved wood sculpture from Abram Barrett of Bangor.
“We all agreed that we wanted to make sure we had as wide a variety of selections in the store as possible,” said Coburn. “We also wanted to make sure it was all from Maine, and as much from this part of Maine as we could.”
Coburn, Reigstad and Munksgaard knew a number of local artisans themselves, having been involved in the local art scene for a number of years — Coburn for Riverside Jewelry, Reigstad for her dichroic glass jewelry, and Munksgaard for her “Peace Pieces,” funky necklaces with peace signs woven inTO them. But some they found online, such as the weird and wonderful clay jugs created by Steve Weslow of East Orland, who sculpts gargoylelike faces into them.
“I still get surprised by how many creative people there are in this area,” said Coburn. “You just stumble across some of them, and you think, ‘Where did you come from?’”
A grand opening celebration for Maine Jewelry & Art is set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, with an artists reception 4-8 p.m. featuring door prizes. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Saturdays, and 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Fridays. For more information on all the artists featured in the shop, visit www.mainejewelryart.com