On a September visit to From Our Hands, a four-feet-tall, golden-green colored, with sharp and exact edges to replicate a real life praying mantis, stood in the main doorway as intrigued customers walked in. Three weeks later, the giant praying mantis was already getting packed up and ready to be shipped off to the buyer in California.
This store could be used for a personal painting room. Or as if the city can been seen through its propped open doors and shiny, transparent windows, but fair enough, From Our Hands is the home of unique art pieces that appeal to just about anyone who comes across its path.
It is cozy enough to fit 20 to 30 curious customers throughout the colorful stacks placed throughout the one level store and can even manage having dangly pieces hanging from the ceiling.
The walls are thoroughly displayed with a wide variety of ceramic tiles, fused glass and glass tile pieces, and oil and watercolor paintings from talented artists located all around the United States, including a large assortment from the Des Moines area. With the weather, rain or shine, these pieces mirror through the invasively clear windows that surround the store. Because of the soft light shimmering through the giant windows, there is little ceiling light necessary to exhibit the captivating art. Store owner Ann Harmon, created the store name From Our Hands while walking her Bejan dog. That same relaxed motive has set the mood and vibe of the store.
“There was no personal meaning behind the name,” Harmon said.
The appealing pieces brought into her store exhibit all that needs to be said. They bring the customers back in and wanting more, keeping the atmosphere at a calm and care-free level.
As customers stroll in with their everyday, casual attire, they often roam around the store admiring the color and depth of the geometric designed glass tiles on the white walls, unique personality sculptured portrait vases placed on eye level white shelves, and a wide variety of handcrafted jewelry located close to the register on a high glass table, among other pieces of handcrafted artwork.
“You’re not going to see these things in the department stores,” Harmon said. “Everything is handmade. All I sell is handmade, unique items.”
Local artist Linda Lewis, 62, is one of few who regularly stop in the store in downtown Des Moines, Iowa’s East Village, at 400 East Locust St. Lewis always calls ahead of time, to show Harmon her new clay sculptures and check out other artist’s pieces.
“I’ll call Ann to see if she wants fresh things,” Lewis said. “I’ll make new things that will focus on her sale. She always keeps in touch and gets new pieces out. I make things that are more practical to sell for the customer for each place I sell my pieces. The people are cautious of what they buy with their money in the Midwest.”
Harmon offers pieces for just about every type of person, mainly the common women clientele. There are some high-end items, but most are under $200 and a lot are under $100, Harmon said.
Each and every piece is made with its own specific touch and taste. Every piece delivers a certain satisfaction to the buyer and that satisfaction delivers the cheerful environment that drifts throughout the entire store.
At first glance, a piece may describe something completely different, unless you take the time to see every remarkable detail the piece possesses. That is why every piece is set at a reasonable price due to labor intensiveness of the artist, and that is what the specialty From Our Hands, gives to the curious customer.