A new store has opened in Olde Towne East at 78 Parsons Avenue. Opal Stackhouse will be stocked with lots of home goods, art, vintage goods, handmade items, tools and hardware and other things that showcase what the group at Chop Chop gallery is working on. It’s located in the 500 square foot front room of Chop Chop gallery. Ashley Puckett is filling the shop with lots of things that are hard to find on your own. I stopped in during her soft opening at the end of January and saw the beautiful kitchen cart made by Aaron Klamut using all reclaimed materials for sale at just under $1,000. A very unique and special piece of history to have in your home. I recently spoke with Ashley about her shop and what she hopes to offer the neighborhood.
AE: Please share with us your background.
AP: I’m a painter (abstract) with a BFA (Denison) in art, a co-founder of Chop Chop gallery (est. 2006) in Olde Towne East, and I spend most of my time rehabbing my house on the near west side. I organize and curate the shop and I do the bulk of the hunting and gathering for it, but I have a network of seasoned hunters and gatherers who contribute pieces to the shop. Scott Williams, and Craig Dransfield (co-founder of Chop Chop) extend their skills and donate finds to Opal Stackhouse, as well. The three of us have worked together as a creative group in the past on a range of projects and hope for Opal Stackhouse to serve as showroom and landing ground for all things creative that we do.
AE: Where does the name Opal Stackhouse originate?
AP: It’s a family name. Opal Stackhouse, who gave up my mom up for adoption, was my mom’s biological mom. She was someone I never knew, my own true blood. If she is alive, she is in her early ’80s–and most likely in Indiana or Colorado (long story). I like the story behind her name, but I like her name more. It’s a killer name isn’t it?
AE: Why did you decide to locate in Olde Towne East?
AP: Craig Dransfield and I started Chop Chop in 2006, and had the space so it just made sense. I like the neighborhood, I like the history of the place. The neighborhood is full of quirky characters like Larry (I have no ides what his last name is) and it has a gritty charm. Most every place that’s moved into the neighborhood since we did has been great. I love our neighbors Upper Cup, which opened last September, Cap City Tattoo, the coffee shop/sandwich shop Portico, and Carabar, is my favorite bar in Columbus.
AE: What kinds of goods are in your mix?
AP: Vintage, reclaimed (from flea markets, estate sales, etc.), and handmade home furnishings, tools and hardware, artwork, and wooden tool boxes–things with years of history and things made yesterday. I have everything from antique mirrored glass and a 1950s dental cabinet (tools included) to a granite bench and a boxwood ottoman. I also have letterpress pieces, meat grinders, pencil sharpeners, animal masks (from Latvia), ceramic animals, vintage pins and buttons, lots of paper goods, classic industrial furniture, and one-of-a-kind lamps. Those sorts of things.
AE: What are your hopes for the shop?
AP: I hope people stop in and appreciate the goods, but I’d love to see people stop by and buy the goods. I stock lots of things you have to go way out of your way to find on your own. I’m excited about creating a retail environment that taps the spirit of Chop Chop gallery. I like to think Opal Stackhouse emits the same style and edge, but also is just a great place to buy a cool lamp, step stool, or a book about love birds. I’m also excited to work on photo shoots and window displays and support local artists and artisans. I hope to be a source for that one-of-a-kind piece that will start a conversation in your home.
AE: Tell me about the local products you offer.
AP: My goal is to carry 75% original and local artwork, picture frames, ceramics, furniture, and housewares (blankets, pillows, tea towels, etc.). Right now, it’s about 50% local/50% “found” vintage and antique goods. I’m carrying custom-made tables by Craig Dransfield and Scott Williams, restored lamps (with Edison bulbs) by Scott Williams, and a gorgeous, bomb-proof industrial kitchen cart made of all found materials by Aaron Klamut, bassist in the Nathan Snell & the Country Sound band.
AE: Who are some of the artists you are currently featuring?
AP: Local photographer Michelle Maguire made the UFOs that are in the window, and her prints of the UFOs are for sale. (She also made some paper mache chicken legs that are, I’d say, perfect for Valentine’s Day.) I’m featuring paintings by Jen Wood and illustrations by Martin Blenkinsopp (both of Columbus). I also have life-size (five-feet-tall) paper ’60s casino advertisements, recent abstract paintings of my own (4×4-feet paint-on-wood), and silkscreened T-shirts, prints, and textiles all designed and made by Craig Dransfield and me.
AE: You’ve been a part of the Summer Fleas, will you still be participating in those? What other events will you be a part of?
AP: Yes, the Summer Flea in the Short North is a good time. I love seeing people make spontaneous, impulse purchases, especially if it’s something you can’t find anywhere else. Scott Williams, Craig Dransfield, and I started selling last year at central Ohio flea markets, including the Scott Antique Market shows at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. I love the DIY, organic spirit of the Summer Fleas, and I hope to continue participating in such events.
Storefront photos (at top and featured image) of Ashley Puckett and Opal Stackhouse are courtesy Michelle Maguire.