Shea Crump got the idea to open a boutique and DIY studio on a plane home from Jamaica, after she had spent the summer making furniture for her home. The VCU arts grad had watched her husband sweating uncomfortably at a recent paint night, and she had a vision of a date-night space where people could get their hands dirty and everyone could relax. She had been thinking about quitting her job and becoming a woodworker, and she’d been looking for a focus for her creativity. Stencil & Knot was born.
“I kind of ran with it from that day,” says Crump.
Stencil & Knot is lodged between a comic book store and a nail salon on First View Street in Ocean View. Crump’s interior design background is evident in the rich colors, painted signs and crafted wood lamps that hang from the high wood-beamed ceilings. The front of the store is a home décor boutique where soaps, wall-hangings and jewelry made by local artists are artfully displayed next to a vintage array of rooster paintings, antlers and paper flowers.
The back half of the store is a design studio where long wooden tables look ready for serious DIY work; hammers, clothespins, string, paints and brushes line shelves on the walls. Upcoming workshops cover topics from scrunchie crocheting to woodburning, and workshops are paired with beer, wine and appetizers. In the winter Crump will open a splatter-paint room at the back of the store.
At Stencil & Knot’s recent grand opening, Crump was soft spoken and glowing as she cut a ribbon with big scissors to welcome friends, family and customers into her store for the first time.
“It’s a whirlwind of emotions,” she says.
As customers browsed, they were greeted by the scents of an artisanal tea tasting from a local vendor. Basil and baguettes for a culinary demonstration lined a table, and a station was set up for a scarf-marbling event in the afternoon.
In the months before the opening, Crump and her husband worked to transform the former vape shop into its current elegant state—juggling their full-time jobs and working long days every Saturday and Sunday. They did most of the work themselves, confronting obstacles like the asbestos they found in the floor. The couple used their savings, and at one point when money got tight they even rented out their home on Airbnb to fill in the gaps.
Crump attended civic league meetings and got involved with the Hampton Roads Creative Network, a local group of female business owners.
“I wanted to be part of the changes happening in Ocean View,” she says.
Crump says that she’s most excited about the way that Stencil & Knot can create community, both among established local artists and people who want to try a craft for the first time.
“I met one lady who’s a jewelry maker and she’s selling some of her jewelry in the case over here and she also does website design. I’m really looking forward to meeting people and creating those connections, because that’s what we’re about. When we’re doing our classes, I want everyone to get to know each other a bit. You never know, you might be sitting next to a realtor or lawyer or anyone, and you just don’t know who might be able to help you or maybe even become your next best friend.”
Stencil & Knot is located at 9651A First View Street in Norfolk. For more information and to find out about upcoming workshops, call 757-937-9346 or visit StencilAndKnot.com.