Inspired by her love for pottery and historic downtown Cartersville, Freeman set out to fulfill a need she saw in her hometown while providing an outlet for artists like herself.
Artists have not only invested in the gallery by adding inventory, but some also put time and effort into decorating the walls with murals while others put in time toward the shop's daily operations.
Through a cooperative agreement, artists providing the shop with their artwork also agree to occupy the sales floor two days a month. This arrangement allows for the public viewing art to speak one-on-one with the artist who created it. With artist biographies accompanying their work, guest are invited to learn about the creator's life and techniques.
"Local artists do work two days a month in the gallery so that's, I think, a plus for the customers as well as them for exposure and for the customers to learn more about the specific artwork or craft," Freeman said. "When they actually spend their time working in the gallery then they can share the information as far as their work and their process from beginning to end and what inspires them to continue to produce the work that they do."
In addition to working in the shop, local artists helped design and decorate the walls through their own artistic expression. "We had several of the artists in the getting-ready process paint topiaries, paint murals, doorways, windows, entranceways, trim -- so I think that in itself kind of adds to the character of the building," Freeman said.
Spring Place Pottery is home to artists from throughout Bartow County and the metro-Atlanta area. Fourteen local artists share space in the Cartersville gallery as well as eight others from the southeastern United States. Many of those hail from North Carolina and other areas surrounding the John C. Campbell Folk School, where Freeman regularly teaches classes on pottery.
Decatur artist Wanda Rose Stewart commented on the cooperative agreement and how it heightens the experience of both artist and customer.
"It's wonderful because you get to meet them and show them around, show them your own work and show them other artists' work in the area, and that just brings everybody up in to higher level," she said.
Offering finished handmade artwork in several mediums, Spring Place Pottery showcases more than just pottery. Watercolors, acrylics, woodworking, fiber art, candles, soaps and sculptures don the walls and dot display cases throughout the store.
Freeman's inspiration for opening the gallery came from her passion for art and the search for another artistic outlet. Previously, her primary focus was on arts-and-crafts shows, but she and other artists suffered the loss of artwork last year at the hands of inclement weather.
"I think several of them, like me, their only outlet was through arts-and-crafts shows and I know last fall was a really bad time for rain and things. So I know several of them also had work ruined, but I think they're delighted and pleased to have a location and to be represented in the local area," Freeman said.
Through opening the gallery, Freeman realized a dream and has thus far been warmly welcomed by the downtown community and local artists.
"One of my goals, at least in the back of my mind, was to one day have my own place to sell [art]. ... I wanted to be in downtown Cartersville since I live here," Freeman said. "It's a very accessible location, very centrally located. The local community, at least the local downtown community has been very supportive. ... The [Chamber of Commerce] as well as the [Downtown Development Authority] have been good resources, too."
Spring Place Pottery is located at 15 E. Main St., Cartersville. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 770-383-9910.