Art Beat: Elizabeth Hickman is bringing a colorful new retail experience to downtown Easton
By Manning Lee // Photos by Maire Mcardle and Stephen Walker
Elizabeth Hickman is a creative entrepreneur. She has filled her new gallery-style shop in downtown Easton with an eclectic mix of new and vintage clothing, jewelry, home decor and original fine art.
A stone’s throw from the Courthouse in Easton is A Happy Place. Perhaps you haven’t even discovered it yet. It is well worth discovering. Happening upon the store from the street, you find a surprising and delightful storefront window where you can begin to preview what’s inside. Is it an art gallery or boutique? The store’s eclecticism beckons you from within.
Once inside of A Happy Place, you discover a menagerie of broaches, buttons, oil paintings, sculptures, pottery, fashion, jewelry, shadow boxes, soaps, silver, and mosaics created by 20 local artists and craftsmen. You can also discover resale fashion, furniture, jewelry and pottery. In every nook and crevice, you see something new.
Elizabeth “Happy” Hickman, the store’s owner, passionately describes her artists.
“The sterling silver artist, Lisa Pierson, takes silver, melts it down and with her hands, bends, pries, and twists the silver into beautiful original pieces,” she says. “The bead craftsman, Nora Drayton is meticulous. She creates shadow boxes and decoupage oyster shells. Souly Joyce wraps her jewelry in vibrant colors into necklaces, earrings and other fine pieces. Sharon Stockley, a blacksmith artist finds, repurposes, and recycles materials such as wire, metals, and glass, and then hammers, melts, and forms them into both jewelry and sculptures.”
“Many of the paintings in the gallery are painted by fine artists in Easton,” she continues. “Artists like Diane DuBois Mullaly, Maggii Sarfaty and Katie Cassidy are popular classic, local artists. Customers come looking for their work expect to see Eastern Shore Settings.”
Happy continued, “One of my artists is Patrick Henry from Berlin started off his career as an illustrator, but then studied impressionism. He somehow combined the illustration and impressionism developing his own style! How anyone could combine impressionism and illustration and make it look so perfect amazes me.”
Shoppers will be welcomed by Elizabeth Hickman’s keen eye for merchandising. Everything in the store is artfully displayed.
“John Sharp, a retired educator (my former vice principal), waterman, and painter’s work is the kind of vibrant work that I love so much. Sharp paints local settings on Eastern Shore from Queenstown, to Kentmoor with the same vibrant flair of Patrick Henry. That’s why I told him that I needed his work in my gallery so much because it ties all of my walls together with a perfect mix of vibrancy and mixed with local settings,” she added.
In the middle of the store one finds the whimsical yet industrial sculptures of Eddie Ford and the creative basket weaving masterpieces of Heidi Wetzel, but also worth a close look is the resale pottery wall. While the pottery is for resale, it’s sold at a such reasonable prices that it is almost too good to pass by. It’s worth picking up a piece or two every time you stop in.
The back of the store is a resale boutique dedicated to clothing. The walls are lined with clothes that are on hung chairs. If you find something to try on, the fitting room isn’t merely a fitting room, but a place to hide away. Once an office space, it is painted as a wistful waterfront getaway.
Another aspect of A Happy Place is Happy’s heart towards our community through special events. The first Friday evening of every month, she invites one of her 20 artists to come and meet the shoppers. The artist shares pieces that the public may not have even seen before like newly finished pieces or rare pieces that will excite the crowds. It’s a great time to connect with the real-life artists and talk about what motivates and inspires their work.
While the inventory of A Happy Place is undoubtedly fabulous, Elizabeth “Happy” Hickman gives the store its signature happy. Without her passion and her wildly creative flair, it would just be a store in Easton rather than an experience. There is something for everyone to explore at A Happy Place.