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Artistic touch: Quirkz shop inspires creativity, offers safe sales venue
Part art studio, part consignment store, Fall City’s Quirkz of Art is a feast for the senses. Vibrant colors blended with natural textures, modern style sharing space with folk art, and the warm smile and rich laugh of shop co-owner Rose Mastberg are the first things that greet you inside the doors of the 9-month-old shop.
A hand-painted bench, Rose’s creation, all but glows in lime green, orange, red, yellow and blue, while her husband and shop co-owner Mike Saffer’s jewelry creations of metal and stones reflect countless delicate hues when they catch the light.
“We just liked lively, colorful things,” Rose said, so the decor of the shop is entirely intentional.
“When you look at it, you go ‘wow!’” Rose said.
“Or else you say ‘whoah!’” Mike added, laughing.
The warmth that you feel inside is enhanced by the colors, but it really comes from the shop owners, who are pursuing a dream with this venture. Both Mike and Rose came to the creating side of art as adults, although they always had an appreciation for it, and Mike had previously managed art galleries in Key West. They hope, with Quirkz’s shop and workshops to be offered in the back studio space, that they are “inspiring people to be creative,” Rose said.
“I always wanted to get kids more involved,” Mike added, “because growing up I was just a jock, and that’s all I did.” He had an uncle who was “a big rock hound,” he said, so he was familiar with lapidary work, but didn’t pursue it until he acquired two used rock saws in a package deal with a clarinet that Rose wanted to buy.
“It turns out that I have an artistic side that I wish I’d explored earlier,” he said. “I thought, wouldn’t it have been cool if I’d skipped a couple of sports in school, and maybe did something interesting?”
His work at an art gallery helped start Rose on her own artistic pursuit, too. “It was a happy place to go into,” Rose said of the gallery, so when they put out a call for volunteers to help paint huge, hammered sheets of metal for a large art installation, she answered it.
“I would go over there and just paint and play,” she said, and then she started rescuing discarded furniture, or, as she described it, recycling the pieces.
Both of them supported each other’s pursuits, too, to the point that the couple had Rose’s painted creations stored in several borrowed garages, and “We couldn’t even open the refrigerator half the time, without moving furniture,” Rose said.
When the couple moved back to Washington to be closer to family, Rose discovered an artist that she loved, and Mike bought her lessons with the artist. That relationship led to Rose selling her first pieces, and gave the couple a push to start the shop, with a focus on displaying all local artists’ work, not just their own.
They had seen the now empty space where Video Nites had been, and wondered together what they could do there. They knew the community couldn’t support an art gallery alone, and drew on ideas from some of their favorite places, including an Issaquah furniture store.
“The reason we liked it was because they had really good prices on all the stuff, and it was always changing,” Rose said.
They hoped to do the same thing with Quirkz, and maybe just as importantly, help people make the changes that they wanted to. Indicating a leather sofa set in a pale sage, Rose said the couple who owned it were older, and didn’t want to risk selling it on the Internet, which would mean having strangers come to their remote home to see the furniture.
By keeping the furniture in their shop on Redmond-Fall City Road, Rose said, they are helping the couple indulge in their creative side, without risk.
“This is a safe place, and we take credit cards!” she added.
Most of the gently-used consignment furniture gets listed on craigslist.org, which is a free and effective way for the store to sell their products. They also keep several lists for customers, one of things that people want, the other of items that people would like to sell.
Quirkz is located at 33511 S.E. Redmond-Fall City Road, and is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.quirkzofart.com.