Flow was opened in June 2010 by eight local women, all artists or makers in need of a retail outlet. When a lovely space in downtown Marshall became available, we jumped at the opportunity to pool our resources and opened the shop. Most of us had no prior business experience, but we each took on one or more of the many responsibilities of an ongoing retail business-accounting, scheduling, marketing, floor display, consignor relations, physical maintenance, exhibitions & events.
Members staff the shop, so there are no paid employees. In early 2011, we became an LLC, expanded the showroom floor and added two more members.
Offering the work not only of our own members, but also that of more than 60 local artists, designers and makers, Flow showcases the best handmade works of our own community and region. We also consciously encourage an older way of craft supported by the Slow Craft movement, which seeks to connect the public with the beauty of handmade objects and the people who make them.
Not so much a reaction to modernity as a modest suggestion for its improvement, the Slow Craft movement proposes thoughtful and time-consuming production of objects. Made by hand, as a self-sustaining economic model based on respect for traditional ways of making, artists use intelligent and careful design with an eye for the longevity of objects. They chose locally and sustainable sourced materials, emphasizing the local and regional flavors, which lead to distinctive, as opposed to mass-produced, objects.
Arts in a Small Town Economy
Without doubt, buying from your neighbors is good business. It saves gas, supports the folks who live around you and keeps dollars in the local economy.
But at Flow we believe that buying handmade products has more than just local economic impact. We believe that our handiwork is a living, breathing organism that thrives on the conversation between maker and buyer.
We believe that when you buy something handcrafted by one of our local or regional artists, you're using your dollars as cultural currency, investing in the creativity of the people around you who help to make up what is unique about your community.
When you come in to Flow and have a conversation with an artist whose work you might buy, that interaction has an impact on both the buyer and the artist. The buyer will absorb unique insight into the artist's process or vision and the artist will hear feedback that offers new perspectives on her own work.
Flow occupies a lovely space of old brick and wood on Main Street in downtown Marshall alongside the French Broad River, just a beautiful 18-mile drive downriver from Asheville along Highway 251.
All work is juried, and includes clothing, weaving, pottery, glass, jewelry, body-care products, woodwork, furniture, painting, photography, and sculpture.
Designed by artists, Flow is a delight to the senses. A charming historical façade, the warmth of old wood and brick, the fragrance of natural oils, and everywhere the call of art-- conceived by artists, created and displayed by them. Until you can visit us in person, you can visit us here.