One of Ashland’s most appealing features is that there are beautiful things to be found everywhere you look, including in our many charming, one-of-a-kind shops. Nimbus, at 25 E. Main Street (across from the Plaza), is one such shop and has long been a favorite among locals and visitors who appreciate artfully designed, beautiful clothing.
At Nimbus, you can find that perfect clothing item or accessory, the one you will wear and treasure for years. Since 1971, the store has been dressing many of our region’s most fashionable women and men.
“Nimbus selects the most interesting and best-made clothing and footwear for women and men,” said store owner Ken Silerman. “We strive to offer the best in current style without stumbling into the ‘trendy.’ In our Gallery we carry the extraordinary work of artists working all over the United States. I hope that every item we sell, be it clothing, footwear or treasures for the home, gets used and loved by those who purchase them.”
Ken took over ownership of Nimbus in 1983, after moving here from Pennsylvania, where he majored in economics at Penn State.
“My major in college actually had little to do with my career,” he acknowledges. “Chance brought me here and chance has seen me through. I learned on the job and learn more every day.”
In fact, he was initially “led” to Ashland by the woman who would eventually become his wife, Gayle, whom he met at Penn State. (Sadly, Gayle died a few years, and Ken is now remarried to Joy Bannon). He also fell in love with the town, and raves about its scenic beauty, skiing and hiking opportunities, “incredible” restaurants, and theater.
“I love, love, love Ashland,” he says. “It is arguably the best small town in America, maybe the world.”
Although chance might have played a large part in Ken’s choice of career, nothing is left to chance when it comes to caring about his customers. “I’m very proud of my staff, who believe as I do in delivering a great experience to every customer,” Ken says.
That great experience means that every customer enjoys his visit to the store, even if it’s just to browse. Staff pride themselves on being knowledgeable about the items they sell. And if they help you find that “just-right” item for a special someone, they will gift-wrap it for free.
The store has also recently added the Komarov line of beautiful women’s clothes. After 25 years as a costume designer and four Emmy awards for her work, Russian-born Shelley Komarov decided to create her own line of ready-to-wear dresses. The clothing, which is all made in America, can be found exclusively at Nimbus.
One visit to Nimbus will show you that even after decades of doing business in Ashland, Ken still loves what he does.
“It has been worth every bit of effort it takes. I want to say ‘thank you’ to every person who has ever purchased something at Nimbus or who’s just come in and thanked us for being here. It’s been a privilege.”
Penelope Crittenden is a Whidbey Island sculptor that works in both stone and bronze. She creates sculptures inspired in part by the ever-changing shapes of the clouds she enjoyed watching as a child, as well as by her lifelong love of animals.
“When I was a child, I loved lying on the grass watching the clouds drift overhead. It was amazing to me how at one moment I could make out the shape of a horse and as I watched it would gradually morph into a fish or a bird. Time has passed, and I spend somewhat less time lying on the grass looking at clouds, but I have that same sense of wonder and discovery walking through a stone yard. Today, finding forms in chunks of alabaster, marble, limestone and chlorite gives me that same sense of exploration and discovery. The difference now is that I have the opportunity to turn the infinite variety of shapes and forms that I find, those cloud images of old, into something solid.”
When it comes to stone, Crittenden said, “the veritable ancient solidity of the rock inspires” and helps her to find that perfect design that guides her to carve out what is already inherent in the marble, the limestone or the other stone materials she chooses.
“I guess we’re all a product of our experiences, and it follows then that how we express ourselves in language, art and actions, would also be a result of those experiences. My work is to highlight them, to obliterate them or to recreate them.” Crittenden said.
Crittenden’s bronze work begins as clay or wax, subtracting or adding as needed. Casting to bronze after the formation of the softer material is a long and interesting process that the artist endearingly calls, “the medium of antiquity.”
“The important thing,” Crittenden said finally, “is that these expressions − whether done in the arts or in life − are done with awareness.”
See her work in our Gallery…