WAXHAW, NC – Located in the heart of downtown Waxhaw at 310 E. South Main Street is a collaboration of like-minded businesses situated in a beautiful house with a comfortable front porch, perfect for sipping warm tea on a chilly afternoon. Eight Legs Gallery and Divine Custom Frame, Art Box Ceramics and Canvas, and Uptown Tea all share space together here and complement each other wonderfully, though each has its own special story.
Eight Legs Gallery was founded in 2003 by Tom Risser and was originally housed across from Fox’s Pizza Den, located just a bit further down E. South Main Street. In 2004, Jane and David Hunt, who are both local artists, bought the frame shop from Eight Legs Gallery and named it Divine Custom Frame. Then, in 2008, while promising to keep Tom Risser’s legacy of showcasing local art, they purchased the gallery as well. Eight Legs Gallery and Custom Frame moved to its current location in 2012, with a bit of Divine intervention. After their building across from Fox’s was sold while they were still tenants, the gallery and frame shop needed to find a new home. They stumbled upon the current property but were hit with several setbacks. Around Good Friday in 2012, Jane witnessed a Double Rainbow, a sign that God’s Promise would be unveiled. Shortly after, they were approved for the property, and in between that point and the closing, Jane witnessed over 20 rainbows, all a sign of God’s Divine Promise and that she was heading in the right direction.
The gallery is meant to be a home for aspiring artists and is designed to get somewhat reluctant artists to venture out of their comfort zone and display their art. For Jane and David Hunt, “art is in the eye of the beholder,” and they want to encourage every artist to take that leap and put themselves out there. Today, Eight Legs Gallery offers a variety of art classes to help the people of Waxhaw and surrounding towns find an outlet to relieve stress and release creativity. Jane Hunt offers fused-glass classes where students create colored glass creations under her tutelage. Artist Belinda Muth teaches traditional art classes, such as drawing and painting, in one-to-one and small group settings. Their newest edition, Kristin Mitchell of Art Box Ceramics and Canvas, offers ceramic painting for children, teens, and adults.
Eight Legs Gallery aims to make art accessible for all. Classes are small, can be individualized, and are open to working with your busy schedule. Classes typically last 1 ½ to 2 hours and offer a great outlet for stress relief, a means of getting your creative juices flowing, and an opportunity to connect with other would-be artists in the community. Divine Custom Frame offers high-quality framing at reasonable prices, and in fact, their prices are often much lower than the box stores, even with their coupon offers. Each frame is considered a piece of art and is scheduled by appointment to give customers the time to carefully chose the perfect framing option. For more information on the gallery or custom framing, please visit eightlegsgallery.com.
Located within the front rooms of the house is Art Box Ceramics and Canvas, owned by artist Kristin Mitchell. Kristin met Jane and David Hunt when she approached them to hang some paintings in the gallery. While discussing her work, she mentioned that her true passion was teaching. Soon after, she began teaching classes in the community room. After she built a following, she approached Jane and David with the idea of opening a pottery studio. Art Box Ceramics and Canvas’s studio opened in July of 2017 to rave reviews and specializes in fired art, ceramics, and clay. There is a kiln onsite to fire the finished pieces. Kristin offers classes for children, teens, and adults.
Art Box Ceramics and Canvas is currently hosting Vintage Christmas Tree and Vintage Christmas Pick-Up Truck ceramic pieces that are sure to be family keepsakes. There is a pottery wheel located in the back of the gallery where students can participate in a demo and class where they learn the art of throwing pottery. Her classes continue to grow, so much so that they recently added a second room to the studio. Art Box Ceramics and Canvas are also offering ornament painting classes as well as Pottery To Go kits where customers can pick up a ceramic painting kit curbside, complete their art at home, and return it to be fired in the kiln. For more information on classes or to-go kits, please visit artboxceramics.com.
Uptown Tea Shop, owned by Dani Noto, is celebrating its fourth year in business. Located in the front room of Eight Legs Gallery, the tea shop has everything you’ll need to make the perfect cup of tea. Ms. Noto is originally from Michigan, where she would frequent an amazing tea shop in her area. When that shop went up for sale, she purchased all of the hard goods, created an online presence, and later opened the shop in Eight Legs Gallery. She offers every possible tea accessory you could think of as well as basket strainers, personal tea bags, brewing mugs, teapots, measuring spoons, and, of course, the finest loose-leaf teas.
Uptown Tea Shop offers a great variety of high-quality loose-leaf teas. Their top sellers include Cinnamon Teas, available in black, green, rooibos, and decaf varieties, Seasonal Teas such as pumpkin spice, creme brulee, apple, caramel, and maple, and Dessert Teas which are great for satisfying your sweet tooth without the calories. Dessert Teas come in flavors such as heavenly hazelnut, chocolate brownie, snickerdoodle, and caramel walnut shortbread. Uptown Tea also offers an array of Spring and Summer Fruit Teas, such as raspberry, peach, blueberry, tropical, mango, pomegranate, and cherry.
Uptown Tea is famous for its House Blend Chai, it’s signature year-round drink. In the summer months, they offer a Sweet Tea Float which consists of premium tea with a scoop of deliciously flavored sorbet. Teas can be ordered to go or enjoyed on-site while taking in the ambiance of the art shops that surround it. Wi-Fi is available for those who wish to work while sipping their tea. Uptown Tea offers teas with health benefits as well. All tea has antioxidants that boost the immune system, especially green tea, white tea, and rooibos. Herbal or Tisane teas offer other benefits such as help falling asleep, decreasing anxiety, aiding digestion, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Uptown Tea also partners with Eight Legs Gallery and Art Box Ceramics and Canvas to offer “Paint and Tea” classes. These classes offer tea, scones, chocolate-covered strawberries, a variety of desserts, and your option of creating painted art or fused-glass art. She will be offering Tea Tasting Parties after January 1 where patrons can learn about the benefits of specific teas and sample available flavors. According to Ms. Noto, it is really important to sit, relax, and decompress with a cup of tea every day. As she says, “Tea for pleasure, tea for health, and tea just because.” For more information on Uptown Tea Shop please visit them at uptownteashop.com.