In Greek mythology, the Nine Muses ruled over and offered inspiration for various arts and sciences. Perhaps inspired a bit by Dionysus (or just the bottle of wine) while brainstorming for a name for their soon-to-open gallery, and her then business partner (and current close friend) Joyce Baldinucci, decided the artisan crafts deserved a Muse, too, and The Tenth Muse Gallery was born.
Ever since, this Baker Street staple has served to spotlight and support artists creating functional pieces. Now run solely by Mary Ann, has nurtured and encouraged many local artists, showcasing their work and encouraging their artistic visions. Opening a place in Maplewood also realized one of Spencer’s personal ambitions:
“I was raised in Long Island, land of the strip malls,” says Spencer. “When I was an actress doing summer stock I feel in love with the small towns I discovered along the way. Maplewood Village really has that sort of rare charm I craved, and it’s such a feeling of personal success to have brought this gallery together – which celebrates individual creativity - to such a super town.”
The Tenth Muse Gallery offers an awe-inspiring assortment of inspired, functional creations by local and American artisans. You’ll find jewelry, home décor, and an assortment of stunning glass, ceramic and metal works here – all hand-picked by Spencer and all sharing a unifying trait; singular style. “Unique is such an overused word these days, but it’s so rarely found,” says Mary Ann. “Artisan crafts present such a wonderful way to connect with another individual’s creativity in a very personalized, unique way.”
Whether you’re looking for a perfect gift or the perfect reason to splurge on yourself, you’ll find it at this gallery. You’ll also find the trends of tomorrow on display on the shelves. “Artisans are really on the cutting edge of the styles, shapes and colors that mainstream marketers will knock off and mass merchandise – handcrafted art where the real ideas and expressions are coming from – that’s why it’s so important to support the source - artisan crafts.”
The quality of artisan crafts is something that Spencer says the big box folks will never replicate, though. “What I carry are the heirlooms of tomorrow,” she says. “Here you are investing in a lifelong piece – and an artist at the same time. These are pieces that will stand the test of time and come with a personality and unique story of a specific artist’s creative journey.” Sort of like a gift within a gift!
So next time you’re in the market for a perfect present or craving some creative culture Tenth Muse has you covered. (You may even run into one of the local artists while you’re there: I got to meet , the artist behind the bewitchingly beautiful jewelry that bears her name when I was in last week. She graciously showed me some of her favorite early pieces, locket-sized hand-sculpted glass curio cases filled with vintage lace – some showcasing intricately cut crystals. All were amazing- and yes- truly unique!)