Friday, February 5, 2010


Crafting is a family affair for Nicole Thurman and Deb Prater. “Some people have the kitchen table,” says Thurman. “We have the workshop.” Their River Street storefront and production facility is a few doors down from a cabinetmaker’s shop. While both places attach hardware to cabinet doors, at number 157, the ladies are whimsical folk artists.

Their collaboration was born of necessity, Thurman remembers. “When I moved here I had no furniture, so Aunt Deb and I made the furniture for my apartment.” So happy were they with the window frames repurposed as tabletops that those became Christmas gifts, and the gifting escalated into their retail business, Tangerina’s.

A recent visit to the shop found Thurman busy assembling bride and groom figures from reclaimed metal bits and snippets of many fabrics. “I try to make them glam and the hardware people appreciate it,” she giggles. The happy pair holds hands when latched together. Of course they can be unlatched, but do better together. What a clever way to restore harmony among all couples.

At another work table Prater applied finishing touches of paint and mused aloud. Why not build a model kitchen cabinet from their folk art doors to show customers what might be possible at home. "We could make a whole family tree," replied Thurman.

Harmonious themes are expressed as mottoes. It's no surprise that such a happy place produces hardware lettering for "Live", "Laugh" and "Love". Old tin ceiling tiles are repurposed as tokens of affection.

It's even possible to wear Thurman's craft. First made for her sister, the ear bobs of wire, old keys and glass sparkle with the same lively spirit found in her larger pieces.

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