Find Unique Art and gifts at the newly-opened Gallery Azul
By Miranda Steadman | Contributing Writer
Just a stroll down the street from Black Magic Café on the west side of Erie Avenue, Gallery Azul offers hip, unique art pieces perfect for adorning beach houses and gardens. With a merry mermaid on the side of the gallery, Gallery Azul is Folly’s newest hidden secret spot for one-of-a-kind gifts.
Coined, “my Folly femme fatale” by gallery owner and local artist Tanya Craig, the mermaid and her sea creature companions were painted by talented muralist and Whole Foods cake decorator Courtney Ott. Step inside the gallery to a whimsical space full of eye-catching jewelry, eclectic paintings, and skillfully-crafted sculptures.
“These featured artists are a talented group … there is so much talent here in Charleston,” says Craig enthusiastically. The deeply-rooted arts culture and community allured Craig and in-part inspired her move from Beaufort 10 years ago.
Craig, who is skilled in the craft of glass art, enjoys creating functional pieces such as soap dishes, bowls, and cake stands or platters. Her handmade glass looks exquisite sitting atop a bottle of wine as a cork stopper or sitting cleverly on a desk as coaster. Craig’s versatile work is characterized by bright, mesmerizing colors and dichroic splashes, giving it dimension and bringing her art to life.
According to Craig, she opened the gallery as a community place to view unique pieces by local artists. She aspires for Gallery Azul to become a gallery where artists would want to see their work displayed. In the gallery, you will find inspiring original paintings by artists including Brenda Gilliam, Beki Crowell, and Sherry Browne, who is the owner of neighboring Studio Open. There is also beautiful hand-crafted pottery and striking serving pieces by seasoned potters such as Margaret Weinberg and Liv Antonecchia. Craig also proudly carries the art of Angela Lowery, whose work includes intricate wood mosaic sculptures. “There is no artists in here of whose work I don’t adore,” says Craig.
It’s impossible to paruse though Gallery Azul and not stop at Jacqui Anderson’s robot doll sculptures. Recycled, reclaimed, painted and drawn on, these sculptures all have their own personalities.
A childhood friend of Craig’s, Michael McCallum, is a blacksmith in North Carolina who uses railroad ties to make oyster knives. She is thrilled to have the art of jewelry maker Emily Cook, who uses local sand glass from local beaches when creating her stunning jewelry pieces. Craig also carries copper workings from Dolly Paul and rings and necklaces with stone settings by Bruce Babcock, including a necklace of stones representing the seven different chakras. Another featured jewelry designer, copper enamelist Madeline Harrell uses beautiful beads that are handmade by her husband.
In addition to the artwork and jewelry, Craig happily keeps her sister Hollis Church’s essential oil line from Kauai, Hawaii in stock. Indulge with soaps and other pampering products by Charleston Bath Works.
Craig encourages art lovers as well as artists to visit Gallery Azul to find a thought-provoking piece of art, a gift, or just some good ole inspiration. No matter your purpose for visiting the gallery, this funky Folly beach bungalow will bring a smile to your face.
Gallery Azul is located at 113 West Erie Ave. For more information, call (843) 714-0715 or visit www.galleryazul.com.