Firefly Gallery in Paso Robles has undergone a metamorphosis. When it opened in 2006, it was a showcase for handmade crafts and fine art.
“We really loved the direction of the gallery, but the market didn’t really bear out our choice,” said Emily Miller who owns the business with her mom, Laurel. “We’ve been listening to what people want and started carrying a wider variety.”
This July, they closed the upstairs gallery that formerly displayed fine art pieces, and revamped the rest of their inventory.
“We added more clothing, jewelry and things for the home that are usable on a day-to-day basis rather than big art pieces,” Emily said.
The gallery still sells fine art, but now it is incorporated into showroom vignettes, allowing customers to see the pieces in a more casual, home-like setting.
Half of their merchandise is still handmade, and Emily and Laurel make an effort to find items that are unusual, unexpected and often whimsical.
“We do really small runs of things, so we don’t tend to repeat things a lot,” said Emily. “That way people don’t have the same pieces that their neighbors have.”
There are several local artists and artisans represented at Firefly Gallery. There is furniture made locally by the Brigham family out of reclaimed woods, including dining and kitchen tables, hutches, sofa tables and cabinets. The Brighams also take custom orders. Andy Needles of Atascadero crafts wood platters inlaid with shimmering fragments of local stone and shell. He also builds custom furniture.
Other handmade items include tables and mirrors made from gnarled and intertwined pieces of driftwood, crated by a Bay Area artisan. Handmade pottery from Georgia is rendered in vibrant colors, each completely unique. The centerpiece of their showroom is a chandelier made of a tangle of branches, created by a Pennsylvania artist.
“It’s always reminded us of fireflies in the forest,” said Emily. “We have a customer who installed one in her dining room, and it looked fantastic.”
Firefly Gallery has expanded its kitchen section, carrying aprons, textiles, pottery, ceramics, cookbooks and utensils. Lately, it has a decidedly retro feel. “There’s a trend toward vintage with bright colors like pinks and greens, plus old fashioned patterns with a new twist,” Laurel noted. In general, you’ll find more accent pieces and fewer large-scale items at Firefly, which Laurel believes is also a sign of the times. “Nowadays people aren’t needing new furniture every few months,” she said. “We offer small things that can change the look of your house without having to completely redecorate.” Firefly Gallery is located at 1301 Park Street in Paso Robles, 237-9265.