As it happened, we had travelled to Prague - the historic capital of Bohemia - in the years before we started the gallery. Our love for Prague is almost unrivalled: the cobbled streets, the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most), the old town square, the astronomical clock, the Alfonse Mucha museum - all worked their magic on us. Around every corner were aesthetic delights more spectacular than the last. We were in rapture: the lavish sensuality of the city that was once part of the Hapsburg Empire was seducing us - though we also sensed the melancholic tones that resonated off the ancient architecture.
'Bohemia' has stayed with us as a concept. When we were thinking of a name for our gallery, I had a idea in the dark hours of the night: 'palace of art'. In the morning, I decided to 'google' and discovered that the name belonged to a famous gallery in Scotland situated in a magnificent Art Deco building. I didn't want to plagiarise, and the idea of using 'bohemian' in the name had always been in the back of my mind: hence, Bohemian Palace of Art - which ran contrary to friends' suggestions of having a single word name. (Did that really matter? After all, the other business with whom we shared our building number (204) was called The Black Sheep Salon.)
And so for us, what does 'bohemia' really mean? Certainly, the notion of creating something sensual, rich in textures and colours as distinct from hard-edged, cool-minded postmodernism appealed to us - part of our instinctive 'default position' when it comes to the visual arts. Indeed, we are harking back to the days of the late nineteenth century perhaps, when the likes of William Morris and co. were developing their lavish, nature-based patterns for furnishings such as curtains and tapestries. Perhaps our style is more eclectic, less cohesive than that of the British Arts and Crafts Movement, but nevertheless, it owes a nod to that time: when natural materials were crafted with fine workmanship, love and an ethos of longevity.
The idea of longevity is central to our purpose: the backbone of a philosophy of sustainable production including the reuse, recycling and re-purposing of goods. Rather than support a 'throw-away' economy, we wanted to do our bit to promote the buying of local, handmade and vintage: becoming popular with those who have been labelled by demographers and commentators as 'hipsters' but also entering the wider society as the most sustainable way to shop.
Our small family business also provides opportunity for local artists and artisans to showcase their wares: furniture makers, illustrators, jewellers, painters, photographers, sculptors and others. We're proud of both the diversity and the quality of our products. We always get a thrill when someone falls in love with something so unique that we know they won't find it anywhere else.
So, if you are visiting the Fleurieu Coast of South Australia, don't forget to pop in: rear 204 Main South Rd, Yankalilla - near the traffic lights and behind The Black Sheep Salon. We're open usually Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 10.30am till 4pm. See us also on Facebook and Instagram.