Visits with my 13-year-old niece, Kaitie, tend to be enlightening, and not just about whatâ€™s going on with teenagers these days. When she comes to Austin, I always try to plan some new experiences for her and often wind up learning something new myself.
On one of her recent visits, I took Kaitie, whoâ€™s a budding artist, to a small gallery on West Sixth called Haven, which offers a wonderful selection of artworks, from sculpture to jewelry. (The Havenâ€™s self-description on its Web site is â€œan eclectic mix of two- and three-dimensional fine art and fine craft.â€) We were both entranced with the array of large, colorful, freeform glass pieces and some amazing â€œwoven glass,â€ gently curving sculptures that look like pieces of fabric, with irregular strips of glass forming the warp and weft.Â I fell in love with a periwinkle-blue glass bust that featured a silhouette of a face inside. Kaitieâ€™s favorites were a group of bird sculptures, made of antique odds and ends, brass, and other metals (not surprising, since she was sketching birds a lot at the time). Some of the items here are costly, but many others are surprisingly affordable considering the excellent qualityâ€”as low as $25. And weâ€™re talking handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Something to keep in mind for holiday shopping.
Â The owner of the shop, Mindi Partee, answered our questions, gave us a minitour, and told us about some of the artists, many of whom are from Texas, which I always find appealing. I donâ€™t know if Kaitie was inspired, but I certainly was, if only to add a few special things to my wish list. Haven Gallery & Gifts is at 1122 W. Sixth St.; 512/477-2700; www,havengalleryaustin.com.