A new business in Harlem is putting a twist on art.
Grovetown artist Judy Maxwell and her husband, Michael, recently opened Twisted Fence Art Gallery and Jack and Nitro's Fiber and Yarn Shoppe.
"In Harlem, it has been fantastic," said Maxwell, who is a member of the Artists' Guild of Columbia County as a painter and fiber artist. "It was meant to be. It makes a beautiful meeting place for everyone to sit around and knit."
The business, in the former ETC. of Harlem location at 212 N. Louisville St., is split into the art gallery and yarn-spinning store.
The fiber and yarn store features yarn spun from the fiber of Maxwell's sheared alpacas; the couple raise nine on their Twisted Fence Ranch home.
"It is such great fiber," Maxwell said. "It is as soft as cashmere."
The shop also carries yarn spun by local spinners, many members of Tangled Threads Fiber Guild, and cleaned raw fibers, including many types of wools, angora, mohair, silk and alpaca.
No matter what kind of yarn a knitter, crocheter, needle felter or weaver is looking for, Maxwell said she can custom blend, spin or dye it.
"We're allowing the customer to pick the fibers they want," Maxwell said, adding that area spinners are often in the store spinning yarns.
"If you want a 50 (percent) merino wool and a 50 (percent) alpaca (yarn), we'll blend it for you."
Artists are invited to sell their finished products in the store. Patrons are also invited to spin, knit and crochet in the store.
"If someone wants to learn how to spin, we'll let them spin," said Kaylan Fenour of Aiken, who regularly spins yarn in the store.
Plans are to build a coffee bar, featuring Alpaca Bean Coffee and treats from Williams Bakery.
The Maxwells wanted to create a comfortable place for patrons to linger and relax, as opposed to a stiff gallery and store.
Twisted Fence Art Gallery spotlights artists and their works, which are for sale, including those of the "featured artist" of the month.
"We have Twisted Tuesdays," Maxwell said, adding that a wine and cheese reception is held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month to unveil the featured artist.
The gallery includes paintings, charcoal drawings, pottery, jewelry and wood, metal and fiber art works.
The store and gallery are open from noon until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment on Sunday and Monday.
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