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Clayton King

Clayton KingClayton King and Jeffery Schwalk have called Columbia home for more than two years now. A native of Texas, Clayton grew up in Galveston and after school relocated to Austin. He and Jeffery lived in the state capital for 24 years when another state capital beckoned – Columbia. As a theater performance major, Clayton has spent the last 20 plus years as a creative entrepreneur in marketing and event management. In the early 2000s, he was a principal partner in an on-line jewelry business which focused on trend-setting jewelry for men. Prior to that, he served in executive and management positions in the travel and technology fields. Last month, Clayton opened Artizan, Columbia’s newest boutique at the corner of Bull and Gervais streets. The space was once part of the original Leon Ritter Furs storefront dating back to the 1930s. Leon Ritter split the store, creating the suite at 1217 Bull Street. For 20 years, the space was a beauty parlor which catered to fashionable ladies, but since 1976 has been vacant – until Artizan. “The transformation of our showroom has been a fun and exciting and sometimes daunting experience,” says Clayton, whose creative touch permeates the premises. “I am excited to be in downtown Columbia. The space provides a simple but comfortable and elegant showroom to visit.”

“Our goal is to be, at once, serious in intent and casual in style,” he said.

Artizan has brought together an eclectic collection of local and national artists in its intimate showroom. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of a contemporary setting housed in a 1930s retail building.

Customers will see art from known artists as well as some who are emerging in their disciplines. In addition to more traditional mediums such as oils and water color, offerings are found in textiles, glass and pottery.
“We take great pride in being an importer and seller of many varieties of pearls, including cultured freshwater, cultured saltwater (Akoya), South Seas and Tahitian,” he said. Artizan works closely with major suppliers around the world to make sure it has a diverse selection in a variety of prices, he said.

Then there are blended pieces where art and function meet in the form of sterling chainmail and wire-wrapped jewelry. These pieces are wearable jewelry and collector’s pieces.

When asked specifically what is Artizan, Clayton replies: “It’s not just an art gallery. And it’s not just a jewelry store. It’s both and so much more!”


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