Eclectic clothing, pineapple hangers and ceramic boob vases — these are just a few of the items that can be found at Continuum in Over-the-Rhine, an eclectic bazaar supporting an array of independent and emerging designers, artists and makers.
Shop owner Ericka Leighton is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a passion for discovering people who embrace their creativity as a lifestyle, producing ethical and sustainable products, and Leighton’s created a unique space to share them.
During her five years of studying ceramics and printmaking at DAAP, Leighton discovered how she wanted to bolt together her experiences to create her own business. And just three short months ago, Continuum was born.
CityBeat: How did you know you wanted to be a business owner?
Ericka Leighton: I met so many independent people out in the world making their careers based on their art and embracing creativity as a lifestyle rather than an exercise. It was enlightening for me to create something that wouldn’t inhibit my creativity but let me be creative all the time.
CB: Were you always interested in art?
EL: In high school and when I was younger I never thought of art as a career. My senior year, I wanted to do graphic design and advertising, but I ended up going to UC and dabbled in ceramics. I had never taken a ceramics class before, and I fell in love with the medium. It was everything I wanted out of art and making. Before then I was pretty much just interested in drawing and painting.
CB: Do you still find time to do those things?
EL: I do, but the store is my life. It’s second nature. Eventually, I hope to be in my studio again. I even want to do a “Paint Your Pottery” class and incorporate some of my background into Continuum.
CB: With of all the big cities out there, why Cincinnati?
EL: It’s a really magical time for Cincinnati. There’s an awesome vibe right now — it’s very bohemian and creative. It was a good time and place for me to open something like Continuum and share it with the lovely people here. I’m not doing a ton of marketing or advertising, so Vine Street was a good spot.
CB: What sets Continuum apart from other lifestyle shops?
EL: What makes Continuum unique is its eclectic array of clothing items you wouldn’t find in any one store. It’s all very personal from designers I found while traveling, or has been recommended from another artist. It’s a very organic way of networking. It’s not like I seek people out or say, “I need this person.”
CB: Do the designers always meet your particular style?
EL: Everything in Continuum is something that I would own. My style isn’t super regimented. When I wake up in the morning, how I dress is a reflection of how I feel. If I feel like a kindergarten art teacher, that’s what I’m going to look like. And if I’m binding with the piece, then I’m like, “Yes, this is for Continuum.”
CB: There seems to be a good balance of bright and neutral colors in the shop. Can you describe where the inspiration for the shop’s style came from?
EL: I am a fanatic about texture, color, and pattern. I feel very connected to color theory — that’s how I understand the world. I curated the space and improvised a bit. (Points to the accent wall.) I found that wallpaper about four years ago. I knew I would use it for something, so I held onto it. With the pops of pink, I knew I wanted a neon sign with my logo. It all happens naturally.
CB: Where did the name “Continuum” come from?
EL: It’s the same thing, but ever evolving. It’s something that might be different next year, but it still is Continuum. That’s me. It’s a continuum of my curation.
CB: What’s your fascination with pineapples and boobs?
EL: I love the tropics, and pineapples are the international symbol for hospitality in the South. As for boobs, the female form is one of the most beautiful things on the planet. It shouldn’t be something that’s shameful. It’s provocative in the right ways, not something we should be embarrassed about or feel like we need to hide.
For more info on CONTINUUM BAZAAR: continuumotr.tumblr.com.