For more than a decade, Matthew Buchholz of Alternate Histories has made and sold countless greeting cards, prints, calendars, and other craft wares out of his Pittsburgh home. Much like the monsters depicted in his pop art gifts, however, the business just got too big.
"I've been wanting to open a studio space for several years now and last year was the tipping point; I simply couldn't manage another year of shipping everything from my house," says Buchholz in an email to the Pittsburgh City Paper.
That space recently became a reality when Buchholz opened Alternate Histories Studio in Greenfield, the neighborhood where he also lives. Now he wants the public to experience it through a series of pop-up events showcasing local authors, artists, food and drink purveyors, and others.
"My hope is to bring lots of different artists to Greenfield as well as exposing people to the folks who already live here. I don't want this to just be a studio that also sells my stuff on the weekends," says Buchholz. "I want to do events and bring people in who might not normally visit the neighborhood."
The pop-ups kick on on Sat., July 9 with a book signing featuring fellow Greenfielder Brandon Getz. Put on in partnership with the Bloomfield-based White Whale bookstore, the event will focus on Getz's short story anthology Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before.
From there, the studio will host a wine tasting with Nine O'Clock Wines, an art sale with local ceramicist Jen Cloonan, and a visit from Hopalong Cafe — an upcoming business touted as "America’s first bunny cafe."
Currently, the Studio has no set opening scheduled, so customers should check the business' social media and website for hours of operation.
Like many artists and craftspeople, Buchholz has sold his works almost entirely online, in addition to vending at various markets in Pittsburgh and other parts of the country. Besides the lack of space, he admits that developments taking place in online marketplaces also motivated his decision to seek physical space. Earlier this year, Buchholz and other Pittsburgh artists spoke out against Etsy after the major seller platform raised its transaction fee.
"Etsy and their bad business practices was another factor, although my main goal is to have a space that lets me warehouse items, ship things out, and maintain small, weekend retail," says Buchholz.
Buchholz says he has sold his work online since August 2010 and this is the first time he has had "a physical location other than my dining room table or a cramped spare bedroom" to process orders.
"As we get into fall I'll be able to offer local pickup of orders placed online as well," says Buchholz. "Having this space also lets me do these pop-up events and eventually develop some community resources as well. I'm very fortunate to have this space and want to use it to help other artists and makers, not just myself."
Alternate Histories Studio. 517 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield. alternatehistories.com