The Craft of the Perfect Gift

A wood and soda fired ceramic by Justin Rothshank from his upcoming show “Atmospheric Energy” at Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile. Showing December 1 through December 31.

By Graham Pilotte

Photo by Emily Berry

When searching for a holiday gift with an artistic touch, you may want to consider looking through the work of a talented local artist. CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile, conveniently located in downtown Louisville, is the perfect place to commence your search.

“CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile is a contemporary and traditional art gallery,” explains co-owner David McGuire. “We feature artists who make crafts locally as well as nationally, and we have a bit of vintage flair.” He and co-owner Karen Welch feature both emerging and established artists across a variety of genres, from painting to ceramics to folk art and mixed media.

Karen Welch, artist Ashley Brossart and David McGuire

“Karen and I had both been in the business for several years, and decided it was time to make our own way,” explains McGuire. “When we opened, the city was doing a push for retailers along South Fourth Street. We came in with about five other retailers at the time in 2013.” Their long-term relationships with regional artists and communities helped them to quickly launch a successful business and give customers access to incredible art and craft of all types.

“We’ve doubled in space,” McGuire says of their location on Fourth and Chestnut. While the duo initially started with a small space near the corner, they noticed that the corner location next door was unoccupied. “We said, ‘Hey, can we cut a hole in the wall and make this bigger?’” McGuire says with a laugh. It worked; now, one side of CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile is a small display gallery, while the other is filled with beautiful pieces in a more shop-like atmosphere. 

“Karen and I write probably 100 checks a month to local artists, and that money is staying in our community,” McGuire explains. “That’s really good – rather than sending it to a company that’s manufacturing overseas, you’re supporting local artists and the local economy. We love our neighborhood and our location.”

As the holiday season approaches, CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile features a perfect assortment of gifts with a local, artistic flair. “We have amazing spiritiles from an artist called Houston Llew – they’re glass and copper, and they can sit on a shelf or hang on a wall. They have wonderful images and quotes from famous writers, musicians and poets,” McGuire says. “We also have Bourbon Blocks by Ron Meece, which have 12 bourbons featured on little birchwood boxes. People love them.” Other gifts include candles, tiny sculptures and carvings and beautiful local photography. For December, CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile will host the work of Justin Rothshank. “He creates really nice pottery, both wood and soda-fired,” McGuire says.

McGuire and Welch are excited to spend another holiday season in Louisville. “Historic South Fourth Street has a long, rich retail history, going back to the 1920s, because of the location along the Ohio River,” McGuire says. “We love having people come here to do their shopping.” So this holiday season, stop by CRAFT(s) Gallery and Mercantile for the artistic gifts on your list. VT

CRAFT(s) Gallery & Mercantile
572 South 4th Street