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September 2010


article about small equals in BurlingtonFree press


Liza Cowan of Burlington has opened a new store called Small Equals at the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery at 266 Pine. A portrait of her grandfather Modie Spiegel hangs on the wall next to her new keepsake card boxes at the grand opening on the first day of the Art Hop on Sept. 10.

Text and photo by Lynn Monty

"Pine Street Art Works closed and owner Liza Cowan has opened a new art space she named Small Equals.

"Small is fabulous," Cowan said. "Small equals big ideas. The footprint is small, the overhead is small."

For the past five years she's filled 2,000 square feet of a former factory building with the work of mid-career artists. The changing economy forced Cowan to narrow her focus. She's moved down the street to The S.P.A.C.E Gallery at 266 Pine St., behind Conant Metal & Light in the Soda Plant Building. This gallery is home to a dozen working artists studios and exhibition areas.

Cowan's new space is 90 square feet and features customized gift building in the form of her signature Keepsake Card Kits. She designs cards from her vintage ephemera collection (ephemera means old paper). Cowan uses advertising booklets for her stock dating back to the 1800s. "They come in a box of my design and the customer gets to mix and match what goes inside."

Almost everything sold at Small Equals was chosen to fit in the keepsake boxes. Items like magnets, wildflower seeds, tiny vintage storybooks, paper dolls, monopoly game pieces and even typewriter keys and watch faces are among the treasures to choose from, all hand-picked by Cowan. "My goal is to provide something really excellent that can be useful and that's semi-custom and that people can't find anywhere else," she said. "My customers came to rely on my taste and ability to pick great things and I'm happy to continue to do that for them."

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Coming up with something special for a gift can be hard. Whether you know someone intimately or you only know them a little, seriously, what can you give that's creative, unusual, beautiful, speaks to them and is in a reasonable price range?

Fret no more.

Keepsake Card Kit: perfect gift for any occasion.
Keepsake Card Kit, Happy Birthday Japanese Matchbox label. Also: Seed Bombs from VisuaLingual and lasercut paper/wood bird. Kit made and distributed by  Small Equals


You knew I had the answer, right? Keepsake Card Kits. For all occasions, all items packed inside a Vermont-Made wooden box with a lid. See a range of them at my new online store.


Thank you!! Let me know what you think!




Art Hop is the huge art fair in the South End: Burlington's Art District. More than 500 artists show their work and thousands of people pour through our streets enjoying it all. Wow. What a weekend. 

Small Equals at Art Hop. Smallest shop in Burlington Vermont

Small Equals, A little Shop in Burlington, Vermont.


This is pretty much what my counter looked like at Art Hop. Lots of really cute little stuff.

Customers at small equals. Buying tiny gift items

customers at Small Equals during art hop 2010

And lots of really nice customers. Everyone says, "ooh, I just love small things!"

And so do I.