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."