Like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, Carlyn Galerie sits in busy Preston Center, drawing people in with bright colors and beautiful works of art. The incredible glasswork immediately stands out and glimmers in the windows as the sun sets.
When you walk in, you feel surrounded by beauty and fragility that comes from the walls and shelves dripping with glass pieces and jewelry. Cindi Ray, the gallery co-owner, takes pride in the diversity of art in the store. From glasswork to textiles and wearable art, there is something for everyone in Carlyn Galerie.
You can’t help but touch and adorn yourself with all of the wearable pieces in the store. Ray prides herself on sharing art that is accessible to the public, including jewelry, wearable fibers, such as scarves and tops, and unique handbags. Everyone who walks in is capable of leaving with a piece of their own or a gift for a friend.
From a young age, Ray was drawn to arts and crafts; she even studied ceramics and weaving in college. “American glass is the exciting part of art, to me,” explains Ray. Carlyn Galerie is full of beautiful art and glasswork, and some of the pieces look as if they belong in a museum. Carlyn Galerie, however, is different from those where the art hangs on the walls but isn’t to be touched.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Carlyn Galerie has a widely established audience base and a very large artist portfolio. “I go to trade shows for wholesalers, but we’ve been open a long time, so now many artists reach out to us directly. We represent over 300 artists at any given time!” Ray exclaims. Some have been with the gallery for years. “It’s a pleasure to find new artists and see how they are changing. I love watching their styles move into something new,” she adds.
Ray also loves working with American artists who focus on re-creating—those who take something old and make it new again are favored for their creativity. Of course, you can’t mention artists to Ray without noting her daughter and Carlyn Galerie co-owner Wendy Dunham, who is an established jewelry artist featured in the gallery. Carlyn Ray, Cindi’s other daughter, is a well-respected glassblowing artist in her own right at Carlyn Ray Designs, no doubt getting her love of glass art from her mother.
While the times have changed, Carlyn Galerie has remained steady in its purpose to share accessible art, even if the art it shares has changed. “The glass movement has come into its own, while ceramics and wood have taken a back seat. People love the bright, shiny transparency of the glassware, and they love owning pieces that are creative and difficult to make,” says Ray.
Carlyn Galerie has a very loyal client base; even clients who move out of town shop from the gallery online. “We see multiple generations come in to shop,” Ray says. Young children will come in and shop with their parents, who came in with their parents when they were younger.
Clients of Carlyn Galerie come for the familial feel they get when they enter the shop. “It’s a very personal business, especially since my daughter Wendy is there. She has a phenomenal memory for names and faces,” Ray says. Dunham is always front and center of the gallery, always there to help you find that special piece.
If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, Carlyn Galerie will help create it. “We work with the artists to create a piece that the customer will just love,” Ray says, proving that she and Dunham are always willing to go the extra mile.
Kasey Goedeker is a Dallas-based freelance writer, social media expert and fashion blogger. For more information visit runninginheelsblog.com.