Lori Lander and Tyson Morris were supposed to marry each other next week. Instead, they’re wedding themselves to the downtown Camas business community.
“It feels like a big family. It feels like we just married into a big family that’s been waiting for us,” Lander, a Southwest Washington native, said.
The real wedding has been pushed back a year. The opening of Artful Attic Boutique, of which Lander and Morris are co-owners, has been taking up all of their time lately.
“This has been my entire life since May,” said Lander. “And that’s fine. This is a labor of love.”
The boutique will host a grand opening Saturday, Oct. 20, and Sunday, Oct. 21, at the store, a 1,500-square-foot space located at 217 N.E. Third Ave., in downtown Camas.
The shop will open with regular business hours the week following the grand opening, but that hasn’t stopped folks from coming in early.
“As we’ve been here, we’ve had people literally walk in the door and say, ‘Hey, I’m an artist, can I have my stuff here?'” Morris said.
“People are coming in because they’re just craving a place. Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of selling on Etsy and Ebay and whatnot,” Lander added.
That’s exactly the response the Artful Attic owners hoped for: the shop will serve as a place for custom work from Lander and Morris, but also as a podium for local artists to display and sell their creations. Lander said they also hope to offer art classes in 2019.
“As cheesy as it sounds, I firmly believe that art is healing for people, and the world needs a lot of healing right now,” she said.
“The art is something that’s bigger than just you,” Morris said. “You’re part of something bigger than yourself, which is the art community.”
The shop owners point out that when they say “art” they mean all art. Although they’re focusing on small-batch work now, the options are otherwise limitless. They are ready to engrave glasses for weddings or put a family photo on a coaster. They’d like to display classic boutique fare — lotions, soaps, candles — but are open to all forms of work, and all requests.
“If you walk in with your cell phone case and say, ‘Hey, I really want a rooster on my cell phone case,’ we can do that,” Lander said, laughing.
It is this openness regarding art mediums that sparked the whole idea for Artful Attic.
“We really believe that everyone is artistic, and not everybody realizes that because they just haven’t found their medium yet,” Lander said. “That’s kind of the mission of the shop — to bring out everybody’s artistic side, whether it’s flower arranging or drawing or painting or simply building racks out of copper pipe. It’s healing for me. It’s very important. It’s a spiritual thing.”
Morris, a 23-year veteran of the United States Air Force, is Lander’s case study on the subject. Encouraged to experiment with his artistic side, Morris began playing with art materials in May. Five months later, he said he is as excited about Artful Attic as Lander is.
“All of a sudden, it clicked. It was something that I didn’t know was missing until I realized what I was doing,” Morris said. “She inspired me. I didn’t know I had this side of me, and she brought it out. It turned into something that we both love, and that we love to do together.”
Although Morris’ artistic endeavours are just beginning, this has been in the cards for Lander for a long time. She was working an office job earlier this year, and finally realized she was ready to embrace her passion as her work.
“I got to a point where I needed to interact with people. I needed to see the people that benefit from the work that I do,” she said. “I kinda decided that was where I needed to go and didn’t want to sit in a cube anymore.”
For a while, that meant their Washougal home doubled as their workshop. But that’s starting to change.
“We are slowly reclaiming the house,” Morris said.
Artful Attic will host a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21. Regular hours will begin the following week: closed on Monday and Tuesday; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.