So who would think a drafty old unheated honest-to-God barn from a long-time farm would be a hot spot for unique art and decorative items?
The Outlet Barn Garden and Art Center has been in business in this very same old barn for the past 20 years, with a list of loyal customers and new people stopping every day. They close on Christmas Eve and reopen on April 1, weather permitting. I’ve had a display of greeting cards and art there since 2011 when the Agway closed, but at that time I was the only artist. This year they’ve set up an area for many artists to display in this open and rustic setting, so I have a nice space with an antique entryway piece and and wall space to hang things.
Because the barn is just that—an old wooden and unheated barn—I have chosen things that can be easily dusted or cleaned, or are in packaging. That makes it perfect for my handmade keepsake boxes and wall art, trivets and garden flags as well as a selection of framed and packaged prints of feline, flowers and nature photos. I’m excited to be expanding my selection of floral and landscape gift items in addition to my feline gift items. I will have a small selection of note cards and greeting cards, but because the place is open I often have difficulty with the envelopes sealing shut, even in packaging.
I began visiting there because the place looked like the sort of place I’d like to check out, not carefully coiffed or neatly arranged, but artfully arranged and colorful outside, and inside just crowded enough in the semi-darkness of the old barn that I could take my time to peruse without feeling overwhelmed.
I ended up moving things into there because the former manager of the Agway I had been selling at was friends with Kathy, The Outlet Barn’s owner, and simply went to her and said I’d be over with my things, she’d like them and me. Life should be filled with such friends. Kathy herself is the one who artfully arranges things in a way that makes people passing on the road find it hard to resist, and is also a master with ribbon and grapevines and such and creates all the wreaths and swags sold throughout the year, often custom-making them for long-time customers. She also makes beaded jewelry for sale in the shop.
She also holds events with local musicians playing jazz and folk and alternative in among the gargoyles and gazing globes, or out back in one of the sample gazebos or on the deck.
And I can’t forget the enthusiastic rescued chocolate lab named Irish Malarkey, named so because his eyes were green when he was a puppy, who rides in with his human every day. He carefully checked each of my boxes for treats, in between trotting around the place with that huge destructive lab tail without overturning as much as a small terra cotta flowerpot.
Supporting a local small business is important from both standpoints, from buying and selling, so in addition to placing my things there on consignment, I also promote the places where my things are consigned. I’ll share notices of events, which will be of greatest interest to local friends, and also of things I find there that you might enjoy—feline-themed of course But there plenty of animal-themed things about the place, plus really cool gargoyles.
I have a love-hate relationship with retail. I love to create my artwork and even to create the derivative items from it like cards and notepads and prints, and the best way to get my artwork known is to create and sell these things, but it takes time to drive around and visit shops, introduce myself, deliver the goods and maintain a display; if I seem to have disappeared now and then, this is why—calling and driving around, following up suggestions from friends to visit and introducing myself and showing a few representative pieces of what I have for sale. The actual sales from this might break even for expenses and time, but the real benefit is in finding new customers and making new friends, and just sharing my inspirations. Finding a shop where I also have other reasons to visit just makes it better.
And there’s another constant—animals and animal rescue. One door closes and another one opens as our friends share us with their friends. It is not a loss and a gain, but simply a change.
Where to find The Outlet Barn
4577 Campbells Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15205
email@example.com – Phone: 412-494-5190
If you see merchandise pictured here, whether it’s mine or not, that you are interested in, please follow the link to The Outlet Barn website or let me know. The website is not an online store for things in the shop because there’s just too much, but Kathy will be glad to give you a few details and ship something to you if purchase it with the possible exception of a concrete gargoyle.
Below is a gallery of things in the barn, and another slideshow of other artisans’ items.
Here are a few of the artisans’ displays.
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.