Ashland Artisan Emporium

Featured Vendor: Paul Flowers – Vintage Soundz- Booth #146

I have been a vendor at AAE since close to the beginning.  As I set up my booth initially in 2011, I even talked a bit with owner Michael Rydbom who was actively still building the booths with a carpentry team at the time.  I had a reel-to-reel Ampex studio recorder in my booth and he told me that when he was in the Vietnam War, his platoon would use those as barricades to stop bullets.  My dad was also in the war and it shocked and saddens me to hear of Michael’s sudden passing shortly after hearing this story.  I feel like hearing his story connected me to the AAE family story and I am glad to see its success in the wake of his and his daughter Michelle’s efforts.

My interest in vintage vinyl, instruments, and audio gear has been with me since I was a kid spinning my dad’s records.   He collected the majority of this while he and my mom were on an army base in Long Beach, CA in 1969.  This was before I was born and before the War called him.  When he received his orders, my mom took this collection back to her family home in Alabama and it came to represent a bookmark of free time in their lives when West Coast music was in a cultural and political renaissance.  She had stories associated with them and I noticed a wistful dreaminess in her eyes; reliving their newlywed bonfire party beach days of surf culture and Cali sunset pier walks.  I discovered musical treasures in the grooves of those records that came to shape my vision of personal freedom, as the cover illustrations, photography and writing shaped my Art.

After driving to Oregon in the mid-90s’ I found a free working Denon turntable on the side of the road.  This encouraged me to rediscover records, pick up guitar again, and get into recording music and collecting vintage audio gear.  I went back to school and landed a job at Musician’s Friend when it was still in the Valley.  This encouraged my interest as well in instrument collection and pro audio and when the company left the valley, I decided to set up a shop around this at AAE.  It just so happened that vinyl began making a comeback even with new generations, so records were a good direction for my booth.  I also have a T-shirt press and have had success selling graphic designs and spray-paint stencil art on damaged vinyl, in addition to framed album art.  It is my hope that music lovers and collectors find inspiration in my booth Vintage Soundz and it’s an honor to be part of the Artisan Community at AAE.  Thanks for your support.


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Ashland Artisan Emporium

The Ashland Artisan Emporium is owned by Michelle Christian, wife and mother of 3 daughters. Her husband, Travis, is the business manager for Adroit Construction in Ashland, Oregon. The Emporium was the vision of Michael Rydbom, Michelle's father. In April of 2010, Michael asked his daughter if she would be willing to help transform the old DJ's Video space into a crafter's marketplace. Michelle had always admired her dad's entrepreneurial spirit and was eager to make him proud, so even though she already had two kids, a real estate career and one more daughter on the way, she said yes. On November 1, 2010, the store opened it's doors to a welcome reception from the community. They were voted Best New Business of 2010 only months later by the Ashland Sneak Preview. Within weeks of opening, the store was at capacity and had quickly become the "go-to" store for all things unique and affordable.

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