August 15, 2014 at 1:00 am

Handmade

Textile artist opens shop in 'Small Mall on Second'

Sheila M. Palmer is owner of Quetarshe Textiles Boutique & Studio in Detroit. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Dreams do come true — just ask longtime fiber artist Sheila M. Palmer, owner of Quetarshe Textiles Boutique & Studio. After years of working out of a downtown studio, she recently had the opportunity to open a shop inside “Small Mall on Second,” a historical house in Detroit’s developing Midtown area that now serves as a shared business location for three entrepreneurs.

On realizing her dream, Palmer, who lives in Detroit, says, “It is a serendipity, a fortunate accident, so it is a dream, and how it came about is what’s interesting. After I graduated from the D-Hive Program, an entrepreneur program under (Quicken Loans’ founder) Dan Gilbert, I then feverishly started looking around for space. I wanted to be downtown because that’s where the influx of new people were coming for jobs, I thought that would be a good place.”

Once Palmer learned there was room for another business inside “Small Mall on Second,” which just happened to be in the downtown area, she immediately met with the owner, whom she taught several years for at College for Creative Studies. After seeing the available space, she says, “I knew it was the perfect place to start the boutique. It has a studio in the back that would give a cottage textile mill feel. I will be able to create my textiles in the studio.”

Delighted that she now has a public space to showcase her one-of-a-kind textiles, wearable art and interior decor items, Palmer says, “I want my boutique to offer all hand-created items. Everything has to be all-natural materials — wool, cotton, silk, flax, linen — anything that’s natural or organic.” Her goal is to create a shopping “destination” for all things natural.

Referring to her shop as a “treasure chest of artists work,” Palmer will also feature creations by six other artists on a rotating basis. She says her asking percentage from their sales will only be 25 percent, not the usual 40-50 percent required by most owners. She feels, “If you really want an artist to shine, you have to allow them to showcase their work and not take their profits. You have to allow them to make money.”

Palmer will accept commissions for large textile orders, like 20 yards of a silk-screen or hand-printed fabric, perfect for decorating a home or upscale office space. She’ll also offer consultations, repair work, alterations and workshops. Local couture hat maker Celeste Smith will join Palmer for a wet-felting workshop, “Coutures in Collaboration,” Oct. 23-24. Day one will be felt making with Palmer, followed by a day with Smith giving instructions for using the fabric to make a stylish winter hat.

A second workshop, scheduled for Nov. 15, will feature local art curator Ingrid Lefleur presenting Afrotopia as a “fusion of (the) African culture with textile printing.” For more details about either workshop, call (313) 656-4644 or (313) 721-4642.

Contact Quetarshe Textiles Boutique & Studio (4246 Second, Midtown Detroit) at (313) 656-4644 or (313) 721-4642 or www.quetarshetextiles.com. Email: Sheila@Quetarshetextiles.com.

Detroit News Staff Writer Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150 or jbrown@detroitnews.com. Visit her blog at detroitnews.com/crafts.