Photo by Rūta Smith

Julia Deckman Studio, a new addition to Wappoo Drive on James Island, is a mixed bag of resources for local artists: a studio for owner Julia Deckman, a space for art classes and a shop for artists to sell home goods and handcrafts. And, that’s just what you see when you walk inside.

“My goal is to foster other emerging creatives and small businesses with my retail shop,” Deckman told the City Paper. “I want my retail shop to be a ‘go-to’ for locals looking for unique gifts and thoughtful home decor.”

The space at 2008 Wappoo Drive has been Deckman’s studio since early October, and in recent weeks has opened to the public as a store. Finding inspiration in her time spent working with Redux Contemporary Art Center, Deckman wanted to promote other artists’ creative home goods at her studio. 

The first round of collaborators includes BR Design Company, Homesick Housewares, Lucerna Planta, Sabrina Pierce and Savannah Strickroth. Other items around the shop at the moment include handmade earrings, denim jackets, throw pillows and soy candles. Each designer’s wares mingle in the studio space, giving visitors chances to check out new items from small businesses and local artists.

“It’s a really fulfilling thing to be able to help other people exhibit and market and sell their work in a way that makes their practice and life more meaningful,” she said.

Deckman’s art is also on display in the store, including some of her newest abstract paintings, a style she first tried out during the pandemic. 

“Inspiration’s always going to evolve,” she said about the paintings. “There will always be something to learn and to try.”

While her art does hang in the shop, Deckman said she does not want to compete with traditional art galleries. “I’m represented by the Miller Gallery downtown, and I love that relationship,” she said. “I want to be more of a home goods type of store than a fine arts type of location.”

Art classes are a venture that Deckman wants to explore with her studio space as well, especially once the threat of COVID-19 slows.

“I’d love to offer, at least once or twice a month, workshops for adults, no experience required, all materials provided,” she said. “Now, it’s not just quite safe enough to offer that kind of thing.”

Like many new projects, the possibilities for the studio are numerous. Deckman said the space has potential as a rental space for small events, but she is also aiming to make art as accessible as possible.

“I just want to be open and flexible to grow and expand with what the community wants,” she said. “I’m open to anything and everything, but I think the main goal is to find a sense of community and really support local business and local creatives just looking for opportunities to get their work out there.”