Free Hand Art Shop opens in Manzanita

By Jordan Wolfe

Free Hand: originally a drawing term; now, Manzanita’s newest art shop.

Emily Knight, owner of Free Hand, is hosting a grand opening on Saturday, and said there will be giveaways throughout the day, including the first customers.

The shop is nestled between Manzanita Sweets and Toylandia and tucked behind a bright red door on Laneda.

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“I think when a lot of people hear ‘art store,’ they think just pencils and paint,” Knight said. “But art isn’t all drawing and painting. I offer a dabble of different mediums.”

Products for all levels of experience and age will be well-represented at Free Hand, according to Knight.

“I spent hours researching to find supplies for children, students and professionals. Local schools have drastically cut their art programs, so I am offering student discounts.”

Knight said one of the aspects of owning an art shop she is most excited about is getting to know the community of local artists and hopes Free Hand will be a community place for them.

“I know my products well, but I want to know what brands local artists like. This is for them, so don’t be afraid to come in and talk with me.

“I don’t want people to have to go to Portland or online to get specialty paints or awesome pens.”

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Aside from the pencils and paints, she is looking into offering ukulele-building kits, do-it-yourself treasure maps for kids (and, let’s face it, probably adults) and puzzle kits that are stylistically similar to adult coloring books.

Knight said her services will extend past selling supplies in her shop.

Starting in late June and continuing through summer, Knight said she is working with Neah-Kah-Nie Bistro to begin after-hours “Paint the Night” programs for kids, adults and families. She added to keep an eye out for postcard-sized fliers, she is creating, with more information.

“This past year, this space became available and I thought ‘why not an art store?'”

Aprilmarie Eckstrom, owner of Manzanita Sweets and Toylandia, has been highly influential to the new shop, according to Knight.

“April has been a great employer and business mentor. I’ve learned a lot from her.”

With her shop opening in just a few days, Knight reflected on her relationship with art, which began with drawing as a child.

“I love illustration, animation and character development. I love the psychology of it – how characters walk, talk and what kind of clothes they wear.”

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Beginning with normal art classes at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Knight said she finished high school at the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton.

“It was a really great experience because the teachers were in the field and I did a pre-college program.”

Knight said she has taken myriad art classes at Kansas City Art Institute, Western Oregon University and Pacific Northwest College of Art.

“You don’t need any skill to delve in or begin, at all,” Knight said, adding that part of the fun is taking classes and reflecting on how far skills develop.

“Creating art is super therapeutic. You can find your own identity. It’s stress-relieving and beautiful and no matter what you’re making, there is something nice about it.

“There are no rules.”

Free Hand is located on 320 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita and host a grand opening on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Emily Knight at