In September, longtime Kenton neighbor and Cleveland High art teacher Karen McClelland opened Mantel, a home and lifestyle boutique featuring artwork from local high school students, at 8202 N. Denver Ave. Mantel offers a curated collection of handmade items, highlighting primarily regional artists with a modern aesthetic. Inventory includes modern pottery, letterpress, hand printed pillows, textiles, locally-made jewelry, apothecary, furniture, lighting, hand-carved kitchenwares, high-end periodicals, books, blown glassware, edibles, handbags, carefully chosen vintage items, plants and more.
“I’ve been teaching art, mostly ceramics, in Portland Public Schools for over ten years,” said McClelland. “I’ve spent years teaching others to create, design and craft. I’m ready to celebrate artists and their work. Opening a store has been something I’ve dreamed about for years.”
“When I heard a space was available for rent, right next to Posies, I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t resist,” said McClelland. “Kenton is like a small town; we live and work here. It’s the perfect mixture of grit and glam, old and new. Just like Mantel.”
Mantel is housed in the front portion of a historical building that has been restored by Integrate Architecture, another Kenton business and neighbor.
“It was pretty rundown but I could see the potential for high ceilings and two full walls of windows,” said McClelland. “I’ve lived in Kenton for 11 years and I couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else.”
Aside from contributing back to her own neighborhood, McClelland says the entire venture is a family and friend affair.
“My son Lewis came up with the name Mantel,” said McClelland. “Developing the store aesthetic while curating the products has been one of the most fun challenges of my life. Fresh, modern, well made, with a pop of vintage and raw. That’s Mantel.”
McClelland is determined to remember her roots as a teacher and her passion for helping students find their voice through art. To that end, Mantel will be carrying a small selection of student artwork from Jefferson High School.
“Students will be invited to sell their work free of commission with the first opening event likely taking place in December,” said McClelland. “Everything is falling into place and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Both for myself and for this community.”
Mantel is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call (503) 289-0558 or visit www.mantelpdx.com.