The big news….

So, I’ve been hinting all summer and into the fall that I had big news coming up… and technically, the announcement here was supposed to be yesterday, but the last week has been… well, “insane” is probably the perfect word.

So is “busy.” Because it’s been busy.

More than six months ago, I signed up for a class with the incomparable Richard Salley, towards whom I have had an artistic infatuation for several years. That class was this past weekend and to heck with “busy” or “insane” or whatever, because there was NO WAY I was missing the class.

Richard Salley

Richard Salley

And it was worth every minute. As enamored as I have been of Richard and his work, I was completely blindsided by the deep personal and artistic connection I made with his assistant and teaching partner, Jessica Jordan (aka Rosy Revolver). She’s special, and will be part of my life forever – both personally and as an artist.

Jessica Jordan

I promise to write more about the workshop soon, but it isn’t the big news so it will have to wait.

The big news is….

… OK, first some context.

Almost two years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Gail Stouffer of Wired Designs Studios. (Thanks Kate McKinnon!) She became a mentor to me, and has been responsible for significant growth in both my personal and artistic lives, especially after I began to work for her as an instructor at Wired. Being at Wired has been a hugely satisfying thing for me, and her guidance, support and encouragement has been a big deal.

Well, earlier this summer, she and her business partner made the difficult decision to close Wired after 10 years. It wasn’t that things were going poorly – they weren’t – but they owned another business that was taking up a lot of their time and focus, and frankly the effort required to keep up the retail side of things at Wired took time and energy that Gail really wanted to invest in teaching and creating. Shortly after making the decision, she was introduced to an old building that seemed nearly perfect for the kind of studio gallery she wanted to launch – and she approached me about joining her and her friend Lisa Meyer in the endeavor.

I said yes.

Roadhouse Arts

We open officially in mid-January, with our grand opening scheduled for February 7. It’s going to become the primary studio workspace for the three of us, which is exciting from a collaborative and creative energy perspective, and we’ll be offering regional artists the opportunity to have their work in our gallery on a co-op consignment basis. The big thing, though, will be the teaching – we’re broadening the workshops to embrace more than just metal and glass, and we couldn’t be more excited. No retail, no product promotion, just teaching and making.

The last few months have been about finalizing our business and marketing plans, trying to craft a thoughtful workshop schedule for the first half of 2014, and taking care of the all the administrative minutiae that accompanies a venture like this: website, business licenses, space renovations, setting up the books… busy. Insane. Exciting. Hard. All of the above. (And a big thanks to our husbands, who have been doing extraordinary work to get the space ready for us! They all rock!!)

So, the big news: I’m partnering with two good friends and amazing artists to open a working art studio and gallery. Nick and I are all in – we don’t have many resources at this stage in our lives and the last number of years have been hard. But we believe this is what we’re meant to do and so we’re doing it. We’re nearly ready to put the house on the market – shooting for just after the first of the year – and we’re beginning to reorganize our lives to be smaller and more focused on the things that make the best use of…. us. Our own best and highest good use.

I owe a huge apology and thank you to my partners over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog for having been so MIA all summer – they’ve been generous and kind and supportive beyond anything I deserve. In fact, I had a post due this morning, but the new Roadhouse site went down last night just before we were getting ready to send out our announcement by e-mail and I was up until after midnight fixing the stuff I screwed up. Their grace and friendship are humbling and I’m incredibly grateful to be part of the team. A huge thanks also to Daniel Espinoza of Grow Development and Life With a Mission, my friend and church brother, who is endlessly patient with my technical questions about web development and generous with his time and resources when I inevitably press the wrong button and send things out into the ether that I really needed to stay put. His good humor has saved my sanity during the last week.

That’s it. Big changes. Exciting changes. An art studio.

Roadhouse Arts

37 replies
  1. Kay
    Kay says:

    Congrats. I just got the e-mail this a.m. about Wired closing and was disappointed. I didn’t get it that you were opening this kind of business/shop/studio. Hoping to get out there one of these day. Hope everything goes well for you.

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks, Kay – we got that same feedback from several folks. I think Gail is going to send out a follow-up just to make things a little clearer. Bulverde’s not that far and we’d love to have you come see us!

      Reply
  2. Shirley Moore
    Shirley Moore says:

    Oh, my precious friend, I’m so very thrilled and excited for you! What a wonderful, exciting adventure! I am still going to hold you to keeping up with the blog, so we can share in your excitement!
    God is good!

    Reply
  3. Robin Delargy
    Robin Delargy says:

    Congratulations, how thrilling! For probably the first time in my life, I can think of a reason to go to Texas… to check out your new artistic digs!

    May you always have as much – of everything! – as you need. <3

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Oh, I would LOVE it if you came for a visit! The door is always open. And thank you for the good wishes – it is indeed thrilling, and scary, and overwhelming, and exciting. <3

      Reply
  4. Dolores
    Dolores says:

    Wow, what a great adventure (plus fun work) this is going to be for you. I hope you all have great success with this. We get to TX occasionally and hopefully I can stop in and check out your new place. I’m sure it will be awesome.

    Reply
  5. Erin Prais-Hintz
    Erin Prais-Hintz says:

    Oh my word! That is so incredibly exciting! I have a similar dream. Maybe finding partners, friends to join it would be the thing to make it happen. And even though my dream space sold more than a year ago (and has sat vacant all that time, unfortunately) there is a new space that has called my name. I am thrilled to hear this news and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold. And yes, Richard is not only a Master but one of the finest human beings on this planet. I didn’t get the chance to take his class at ArtBliss because I didn’t get in soon enough, but I am wearing one of his class samples every day as a reminder that I want to find a way to be in his presence again! Enjoy the day, Miss Francesca! Erin

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks so much, Erin – yes, Richard was amazing and I will definitely be taking another one of his classes as soon as I can. It was really amazing – and Jessica is very special, too. I’ll be waiting to hear if your new space works out for you – if you go the partner route, make sure they’re people you want to spend a lot of time with! It’s like a marriage of sorts!

      Reply
  6. Michelle Buettner
    Michelle Buettner says:

    Congratulations – on so many levels!! First, on the Richard Salley class and that gorgeous ring you have pictured here – drool worthy – simply stunning!! And next on your new endeavor and creative co-op, this is so exciting!! How cool is this?!! I’m wishing you and co-creative much success!! I wish I was closer,…I’d definitely take a class.

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thank you, sweetie – I am so thrilled you like the ring. That class was life-changing – can’t wait for the next one! And you aren’t THAT far away from me – maybe we can set it up so that a trip to Texas is in your future? 🙂

      Reply
  7. Patsy Wotipka
    Patsy Wotipka says:

    What wonderful, exciting news! I know this will be a great adventure for you and that God will keep blessing you with good things in your life.

    Patsy

    Reply
  8. Juli
    Juli says:

    Francesca, I am so moved at your story of adventure. How fun it has been to watch the adventures you have been on since you quit “working” what probably now seems like a lifetime ago. Grateful for your example to pursue your hearts dream!

    Reply
    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Juli, how sweet. I know you know what a journey this has been – I am eager for all that next year will bring, even the hard work it will all require. It’s stunning really.

      Reply
  9. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    Congratulations! Glad to hear everything is falling into place and how special that the husbands are sharing in this adventure. Wishing you all much joy and success in 2014. Sher

    Reply

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