As Alex and I continued dating, I visited the SmartShop many more times, during my visits to Kalamazoo to visit him from my home in Detroit. I always looked forward to our trips into the Shop while I was in town. One afternoon at the Shop, watching Alex experiment with a pewter pouring into one of my ceramic molds, I saw the love for metal in his eyes for the first time, and I felt the encouragement of Holly and the staff and other interns. I fell a little in love in that moment, not only with Alex, but also with metal and with the SmartShop itself. I cherish that special moment, and it is an integral part of my early memories of the relationship that has grown between us.
I attended a few Art Hops and enjoyed the evening music and party atmosphere in the Shop. I mingled and chatted with artists and patrons in the gallery while nibbling on snacks. I loved the short time I spent at the SmartShop, and I am sad to see it go. I am sure that many others share the same kinds of happy memories that I have. The many students and interns who spent time in the Shop have grown and learned over the years, and that degree of inspiration is an amazing thing. Holly and her unique vision are to be celebrated and respected. Thank you, Holly, for sharing the SmartShop with the world!