Special space

Tending Joy in West Tisbury is filled with textures, crafts, colors, and words that are sure to bring you hope.

I’ve found my new favorite Shangri-La on Island, Ingrid Goff-Maidoff’s new gift store, Tending Joy Artisan Gift Shop. And, indeed, joy is what you feel entering this light-and-color-filled welcoming space in West Tisbury, filled with designs, shapes, and textures of all shapes and sizes

The place is a trove of beautiful, primarily handcrafted, fair-trade treasures. Truly any and everyone on your gift list would be delighted to receive something from her aptly named store. Goff-Maidoff says, “I’ve curated an evolving collection of artisan goods from the Island and around the world all aimed toward delight. The back room continues the tradition of beautiful embroidered and printed clothing.”
The fabrics make you want to run your hands over each piece, let alone try it on.

“Because this space was a clothing store before for so long, people would ask if I was selling the shirt I was wearing,” Goff-Maidoff explains. “Eventually, I realized I could sell the shirt I was wearing, so I have some clothes in the back room now.”

Goff-Maidoff hits all of our senses — there is pottery, glassware, tea towels, carved wooden toys, wallets, cloth bags, kaleidoscopes in all shapes and sizes, as well as paintings, fragrances, local honey and salt, syrups, and even Indian tiffins — stacking lunch boxes. What isn’t local hails not only from India, but many other countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, Nepal, Peru, and Guatemala. A veritable trip around the world all just a stone’s throw away. “People ask me if I travel the world. But I opened the store during the pandemic, so I found a few portals through which to buy things,” Goff-Maidoff says.

Before taking over the new building last November, Goff-Maidoff mostly did the Vineyard Artisans Fair for 25 years. “When I realized I couldn’t fill the space with all my own things, I just went about trying to create a delightful space,” she says. “I felt like we needed that. Especially coming out of the pandemic and isolation. There’s tactile qualities and beauty.”

In addition, Goff-Maidoff has two specialties herself — first, working with spectacular Japanese paper. I loved the attractive journals and inspirational books, which just call out to be handled, and jewel-like earrings, ornaments, and cards.

Not surprisingly, Goff-Maidoff is also a poet. She has been writing since she was very young… starting off as a songwriter with two albums to her name. Then she morphed into poetry. Looking at the gift cards and her many published books, she says modestly, “People say you’re so prolific, but honestly I’ve been doing it for 30 years.”

Goff-Maidoff’s new book is “Wild Song,” which is filled with vivid, moving verse. It came out of her desire to figure out how to participate and contribute to a world emerging from Covid. She feels that one of the blurbs on the back of the book, which is by James Crews, editor of “How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude & Hope,” sums up what the energy of the shop aims to do as well. He writes:

“Ingrid Goff-Maidoff’s poems each remind us that we are both hearts and minds, bodies and spirits. They bring us into the blessings and delights of everyday life, while never letting us forget the deeply interwoven nature of our souls. These universal poems show us over and over how deeply connected we are, how much we belong to this world.”

An excerpt from her poem “To Change What Must Be Changed” evokes Goff-Maidoff’s perspective on the world as we come out of such a challenging time into the light:

…How will we find our way
to belovedness, to belonging?
How will we nourish a world
that was intended as home for all?
What if longing? What if imagining,
what if beauty, a love note, or song?
Would you let your heart rise
to do its holy work?
What if your spirit
was your gift?

Paging through “Wild Song” and meandering through Goff-Maidoff’s abode is nourishing. She says, “Since I love color and design, it’s just been fun to put this all together. I want this to be a delightful place to visit. I tell people, you don’t have to buy anything. Just enjoy the colors.” Goff-Maidoff has created a magical, heart-centered haven that she hopes everyone will interpret in their own way.

Tending Joy is on 697 State Road in West Tisbury. Visit tendingjoy.com.