Store owner Jennifer Eastridge opened a local Ypsilanti retail store, Stone and Spoon, to provide home, kitchen, and garden goods. Helping customers curate a small-town cozy aesthetic.
Since its creation, Stone and Spoon have become a space for art inclusivity, showcasing the talents of local LGBTQ+ artists and women artists of color.
“Stone and Spoon is about joy, creativity, being inclusive, and making people happy just as they are,” Eastridge said. “We’re showing examples of what it means to love with our differences as our superpowers. We allow them to create their own space with the items that they find in the store.”
Stone and Spoon feature primarily locally made merchandise, including stickers, art, cookware, and jewelry, amongst other items.
Opening in 2020, moments before the pandemic began, Eastridge said her store came from the desire to create a space for people to come in, feel warm, and feel at home. Citing her late mother as the store’s original inspiration.
“Every corner of the shop is influenced by mom. When she passed away, I kept all her spoons because that has a deep meaning to me, because of the years she used to cook for people that she loved with those spoons,” Eastridge said. “The other thing we did together was collect stones when we went to the Great Lakes, and so stone and spoon are very much like the marriage of nature and home.”
This downtown Ypsilanti shop consists of two floors, the first floor being a gift shop filled to the brim with the aforementioned locally-made products. However, its second floor is a creative epicenter for local artists, hosting art exhibitions and programs for local artists to showcase their paintings and drawings.
Eastridge said she is committed to using the second floor to provide opportunities for marginalized artists. She highlights women artists, LGBTQ+ artists, and artists of color.
“My focus is to give a platform for artists of color and anyone that may fall under the umbrella of being looked over,” Eastridge said. “I want to give people the opportunity to show without having a huge list of galleries where they’ve shown before.”
Recently, Stone and Spoon held an exhibition titled “Chef’s Kiss,” displaying food-themed art to store customers. Eastridge said she wants these exhibitions to serve as a platform for artists in the community who may otherwise not be able to display their work.
“The way I curate the work that I bring into my shops is how I try to find artists who I bring in to show. I work with a lot of women artists,” Eastridge said. “There’s just such amazing work happening. And I want to give people the opportunity to show it.”
Each art exhibition lasts up to two months before transitioning into another art display with a different theme. Following the “Chef’s Kiss” art exhibition, Stone and Spoon will host a solo exhibition by local Ypsilanti artist Laurén Magda titled “Meditations on Transformation.”
Eastridge stated that in January, she plans to recruit artists for Stone and Spoon’s annual summer LGBTQ+ exhibit, which features all LGBTQ+ artists.
In addition, Eastridge stated that she would like to recruit artists for an innovative “minumental” art display that would consist of art measuring 2x2x2x2 inches.
“My overarching goal is to create this family of artists who come together, connect and show up for each other. For somebody in the visual arts, it can be days on end of not leaving your studio, or your creative space, with the fear of putting it in front of someone.” Said Eastridge. “You are very vulnerable. I feel like this is an opportunity and a responsibility that I take on personally to help be that bridge. Encourage somebody to come over. Let’s show the community the amazing work that you’re doing.”
Eastridge notes that, ultimately, she wants the city of Ypsilanti to thrive, even as she showcases the talents of local artists.
“I love what I’m doing, and I love Ypsilanti. The small brick and mortars depend on people’s business now more than ever because we are feeling the hurt of things not being where they were before the pandemic.” Eastridge finished. “To keep businesses open, we need people to come out and walk through the door. It’s critical for the health and vitality of our downtowns to keep businesses open. I hope people will begin to understand that their personal choice makes a difference and keeps our towns alive and happy places to be.”
For those interested in contacting Jennifer Eastridge or submitting artwork, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jen@unicornfeedsupply.com. You can also call Stone and Spoon at (734) 945-7976.