An art student and mother of two young boys pursued her dreams of opening her own art shop, Parrot Lane, which had its grand opening on April 15.
The shop is located at 909 W. Lincoln Ave., in Charleston. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ashley Dick, the owner of Parrot Lane and a senior art major, graduated from Lake Land College with her associates in accounting and a certificate in management, but later came to Eastern with a desire to change her major in order to fit her passion.
“I graduated from Lake Land and I couldn’t find work,” Dick said. “I had always been artistic and I had dabbled in making items for people but I never really considered it a profession because so many people had told me I’d be a ‘starving artist,’ but at the time after I graduated, I had two young children to care for so I had to make money somehow.”
Dick said she is working to get her bachelor’s degree in arts. She also said she named the art shop after the street she lives on because she thought the name was unique.
Parrot Lane sells art supplies including a variety of paintbrushes, oil pants, acrylic paint kits, paint pallets, graphite pencils, acrylic inks, homemade gesso, kneaded erasers, blending stumps, sanding blocks, sketchbooks, canvas panels and alcohol markers.
In addition to these supplies, there are pottery tools including an assortment of wooden wedges, copper solder and copper foil, stained glass packs, anodized aluminum circles, visible glass squares, vermiculite, mandrels and enamel powders, and tools for Millefiori, a glasswork technique used to produce decorative patterns on glassware.
Dick said the shop only accepts handmade items but everyone is welcome to put their artwork in the shop.
Parrot Lane will also host several events in the shop including “Paint and Sip Nights” for adults 21 and older, which kicks off its inaugural night on Friday. On Saturday the shop will host a kid keepsake party, where children will dip their feet in paint to make painted flowers for Mother’s Day.
The shop also offers a classroom that can be reserved for a party or any other special event. Party options include a bracelet making party, paint and sip parties, kids paint parties and more.
“Parrot Lane is here to grow the students closer to the community and vice versa. Currently, students and community members feel detached from each other and not that Eastern and Lake Land are going through a rough time, the community doesn’t know how to help,” Dick said. “I’m hoping to bridge that gap in the art community so we can all benefit from the great creativity and knowledge from the creative group.”
Dick said as her shop has opened, the art community has given her an overwhelming amount of support. Her younger brother Dylan and her high school friend Beverly Nichols have heavily volunteered with the shop.
“I have always wanted to be an artist. My great grandparents have my drawings from when I was barely able to walk. I was so afraid of being a ‘starving artist’ that I didn’t know how I would be able to form that dream into a lifestyle,” Dick said. “As I attended business classes I started to think about opening my own business.”
Dick said as time went on, she wanted to transition from having art booths to having a retail store.
“Everything just kind of fell into place at the right time and I had the option of running away from the fear I had lived with or taking the great opportunity handed to me,” Dick said. “My two boys pushed me to pursue my dreams. I wanted to provide for them and give them the life I never had.”
Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]