Linda Mullen, Grace & Diggs
Welcome to Grace & Diggs! This is a shop on Artists’ Row in Salem, MA. Part gallery, part workshop, part event space, we feature art and handcrafted items made locally.
We thrive on being part of Salem’s Artist Row and recognize the critical role of art in building and maintaining great communities. We participate in ours in the following ways:
e offer workshops and invite our customers to come make art with us
We offer social evenings that use art-making as a way to bring people together
Whenever we can, we opt for up cycled materials, turning discarded paper, plastic, and fabric into wearable art and installation pieces
We collaborate with other artists & business owners to increase artistic visibility and to integrate art and business in new ways
We support and participate in the endeavors of other artists & organizations
It is our goal to inspire our visitors to make some art, slow down, experiment with the small things. They are all small things, after all.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU DO?
My tag line at Grace & Diggs is: “Experiments in the Design of Small Things.” I experiment with my art and invite other “experimenters” to showcase theirs. We experiment in making wearable and up-cycled art. We experiment with soap-making, crochet, sewing, and dye-ing, you name it! The goal is to find new directions for timeless techniques and new uses for traditional trash. Our results are for sale in an engaging gift-shop (come try on a paper bag hat or place-mat fascinator)! We also feature regular events where the public can come make things as well – see website for details.
WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB WOULD YOU CONSIDER CREATIVE, AND WHY DO YOU ENJOY THAT PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
While all the inventory we produce in the shop is born of creativity, I am also enjoying building a business based on these same creative processes: gather materials and resources, brainstorm how to use them, execute the best ideas, shine some light on the results, assess, evolve. Do it all over again. It has been eye-opening to find that whether I am making a hat out of a paper bag or building a brand, this all works the same way.
HOW DOES YOUR CREATIVE WORK CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH AND STABILITY OF THE CREATIVE ECONOMY?
I love how much we dress up in Salem; whether it’s a full-blown costume for a special event or a set of fairy wings just because it’s, you know, Wednesday. Dressing up here is common. You also find it in great shops like Emporium 32 or Modern Millie where every-day wear is creative and inspired. I hope that I can contribute to this vibe: sell outrageous hats to those bold enough to wear them or give more reserved customers a great photo-op and a reason to laugh. I hope that my work helps to brand Salem as THE place to come and express yourself. Life is too short for boring hats.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF RUNNING/MANAGING A LOCAL BUSINESS?
The process of showing other people’s work is especially satisfying. I love building a story around a piece of art, trying to showcase it in a creative manner. In this way, I see my entire shop as an artistic process. I invite others to showcase their work and it becomes part of the palette I work with. Others have done this for me (Salem Arts Association displaying my hats, for example) and it is a moving experience to see your work through someone else’s lens.
WHAT’S THE ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU OUR YOUR BUSINESS?
My name isn’t “Grace” and my husband’s name isn’t “Diggs.” I originally set out to make throw cushions and invented the name as a reference to interior design (graceful homes, groovy digs – that sort of thing). Along the way the hats took over. I’m evolving. The sign needs an update. One thing has proven unchanging: that it is all an experiment in small things. They are all small things after all.