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Friday, July 19, 2024 at 6:07 PM

Art and Soul Sisters

Pam Yost and Misty Weston – From Mixed Media to Mixed Drinks
Art and Soul Sisters
Photos courtesy of Cranberry Cottage.

Great things often have auspicious beginnings: caterpillars transforming into butterflies, coal metamorphosing into diamonds, and so forth. The Cranberry Cottage is undoubtedly one of those remarkable phenomena. What initially started as a hobby craft painting and a modest online endeavor has now blossomed into one of Fallon's most treasured gems, like the shop's exterior, which is now adorned with flourishing flowers boxes, alive with color, offering a glimpse of the enchanting wonders within.

But fear not, dear reader, for this is not a mundane business chronicle merely showcasing the fabulous items displayed within the charming storefront at 25 S. Maine Street. Instead, prepare yourself for an artsy, artistic, and artisanal tale that narrates the journey of two exceptional women who joined forces to create beauty, impart their craft, and share inspiration with the entire community.

Let me introduce the perpetually smiling fine artist Pam Yost and her ever-so-adorable business partner, Misty Weston. These two ladies are like two peas in a pod, a pod that overflows with an abundance of color, texture, vibrancy, and atmosphere. Behind the seemingly quaint facade of a small-town boutique lies the Cranberry Cottage, a place that transcends expectations. It not only welcomes all who enter with its cheerful and cozy ambiance but also serves as an ever-evolving exhibition of boundless artistic talent.

Pam Yost is an artist, both in skill and in heart. From the sounds of it, her artistic inclination has been an integral part of her being since birth. Some of her earliest memories are of sitting at her grandfather's knee, Duane Schottel, a masterful oil-on-canvas landscape artist. Pam's artistic flair seems as vital to her as breathing itself. She achieved the prestigious honor of being the first-place winner in the National Wildlife Art Contest during her first and second-grade years. "I've always had art in my life," she passionately states. "I love it."

Pam's commitment to her craft is evident in her extensive studies with renowned artists nationwide. Through these experiences, she has honed her fine art skills and developed her unique artistic style. Even now, Pam continues to grow and learn, eagerly absorbing knowledge from various sources, whether through personal interactions or web-based classwork. "Art is everywhere, I am always learning, even from those who aren't artists," Pam says, "My mind is always open to new."

She initially started selling her artistic creations online in 2011. Before long, her talent caught the attention of locals, and she found herself showcasing her wares at Just Country Friends. However, it took only a short time for Pam to outgrow her space, leading her to relocate the Cranberry Cottage to Maine Street. From the old barber shop to the former bank building, the tiny boutique continually seemed to outgrow its space. Finally, the perfect spot materialized. Pam settled the Cottage at 25 S. Maine, where the shop is flourishing in its new locale. 

Enter Misty Weston, Pam's business partner and a masterful furniture artist described affectionately by Pam as "amazing." And indeed, she truly is. Her artistic prowess is so extraordinary that other creators have been known to purchase her custom creations and attempt to sell them as their own, commanding a significant price increase. Besides her painting talents, Misty has been crafting unique jewelry for as long as she can remember, skillfully incorporating various mediums to create one-of-a-kind pieces. 

If that were not enough, Misty and Pam have ventured into silversmithing, freeing themselves from the limitations of others' creations to bring their concepts to life. 

And as if their creative endeavors were not keeping them occupied, they embarked on an entirely new venture. "We wondered how we could draw more people downtown and make it more fun," Pam revealed. Serendipitously, or perhaps not, after a trip to San Diego, Misty became captivated by the area's charming "sip and shop" lounges and hidden speakeasies. And just like that, patio parties and craft cocktails began taking over a small section of Maine Street as their speakeasy project started to take shape.

In July of last year, the Cranberry Cottage Crew—Pam and her husband Brett, along with Misty and her fiancé Paul—commenced the transformation of the store's back storage space. Utilizing the very paints they sell in the store and tackling all the work themselves, they dedicated their efforts to crafting an authentically decorated space with an atmospheric setting reminiscent of a prohibition-era backroom drinking establishment. The baseboards were salvaged from an 1880s Lovelock farmhouse, Misty rescued the fireplace surround from Reno's iconic Mapes Hotel, and the antique couch once graced Reno's old Riverside Hotel. Furthermore, they incorporated unique vintage pieces from their own homes to furnish the space, and thus the room began to take shape. "It's all about providing an authentic experience," explained Misty.

The Cranberry Cottage Crew has evolved into a close-knit family—camping, traveling, dining, laughing, and creating together. They even went so far as to introduce themselves to a live lobster named James at the Las Vegas market. Their greatest aspiration is to share their love of art and their love of the community. "Our customers become family," the duo expressed. "We want them to come here, gather supplies for their projects, and unleash their creativity to their heart's content. We do not keep our tips, tricks, and techniques secrets," they agreed. This year, the Cottage will host the Cantaloupe Festival painting project, and numerous classes are available for anyone interested. "We are only limited by our imagination," Pam affirmed, suggesting that creativity knows no bounds. More classes are planned with notable guest artists such as Toni Venturacci, an extraordinary Western artist, and Teri Reed, a glass artist specializing in dichroic glass. "We wanted to create a beautiful culture and a space that everyone can enjoy," Pam said. "And to allow people to go home and go crazy with their art."

Art and soul sisters, indeed.