Nestled in the back of an old European-style courtyard, between my favourite café and one of my favourite shops in Bayfield, you will find the village’s newest store, Hive.
Owned by quiet but vibrant artist and educator Jenny Wallace, Hive is one of those place where you can guarantee that everything on display is “hand-picked” (Jenn’s word), or curated, by someone with a first-rate eye for style. It’s a place where you might find some earrings, or a scarf, or a hand-painted bike bell, or a unique throw cushion, or eye-catching wall art.
What I am trying to create is a store that is vintage inspired; where things are collected, reworked, and re-imagined. I love mixing and matching and revamping. Pairing art and craft with real life. Using creativity, being resourceful and taking chances and colliding unlikely time periods or styles together to create a really individual outfit or decor.
Hive is the kind of place Jenny herself would like to find: “For me, the shops that have always got me going were the ones that were off the beaten path, filled with a little bit of everything and I wasn’t just sure what I was looking for but left with something really special.”
Many somethings special are on display right now at Hive. Jenny tells us about a few:
Hand painted bicycle bells from Montreal called dringdring, vintage inspired dresses from Shabby Apple whose sales support the Unitus charity, hand made silver and gold jewelry from Vancouver called Sugarlime, hand made jewelry using cork and rhodium from Brazil from Toca Jewelry, fair trade sterling silver rings and earrings that are hand stamped from the Karen hill tribe people of Burma.
But that’s not all!
I also have pillows, scarves, recycled glass bowls, bamboo bowls, vintage jewelry, clothing from Pink Martini, summer tunics, nautical inspired hooked rugs, handbags, wall art, shopping baskets, picnic baskets, vintage garden accessories, vintage inspired metal parlour tables and chairs.
Jenny displays her wares on one-of-a-kind furniture, each piece with its own story, such as the examining table from her grandfather’s doctor’s office, or the workbench that originally lived in a piano factory. Everything about this store screams, “I was brought here intentionally because Jenny thinks I’m awesome and she has great taste!”
This is Jenny’s second store in Bayfield. She previously owned Bare Bum Studio, a shop on the other side of Main Street where she sold jewellery, scarves, handbags, and art. It also served as her studio. After owning the store for five years, Jenny sold it in August 2010 to attend teacher’s college. Almost two years later, the vision that began with Bare Bum Studio has evolved and grown into a more mature retail store.
Why Hive? I couldn’t say it better than Jenny herself:
I was looking for one word that was memorable and simple, descriptive but not limiting. I settled on Hive because it evoked a sense of home, a busy and ever-changing space, place of gathering, and a place where things are collected from elsewhere and brought back to.
Inevitably, I had to ask Jenny what it’s like to own a shop on the Main Street of Bayfield, one of Southwestern Ontario’s favourite boutique shopping destinations. Shoppers are looking for an adventure, she says, for a “different shopping experience,” one that they might not be able to get elsewhere, one that includes one-of-a-kind items they can’t get at the mall. They also look forward to meeting the owner and getting to know them over time.
Hive will be open as much as possible throughout the year, but Jenny does have a winter occupation as well as a “Bayfield” one (which, as everyone knows, exists primarily between May and November). She is a supply teacher, which allows her to open the shop on weekends while school is in, and go to her “winter occupation” during the week. Besides, the off-season downtime means that Jenny can do studio work, and travel, one of her very favourite things.
But enough about the off-season. We’re heading full speed ahead for the on season! Don’t miss Hive on your next trip to Bayfield!
To connect with Jenny, “like” Hive on Facebook, email HiveOfBayfield at gmail dot com, or call 519-565-HIVE (best number ever!).