Artist Happy To Be Back In Berlin With Her New Store

Artist Happy To Be Back In Berlin With Her New Store
“I have a little bit of everything, but it’s all got sort of an odd theme …,” said owner Patti Backer of her store on William Street. Photo by Bethany Hooper

BERLIN – A local artist is bringing a touch of odd and whimsical to downtown Berlin.

Located at 12 William Street, The Dusty Lamb features a wide selection odd and whimsical art and goods.

For years, artist Patti Backer worked from her home in Berlin. But after learning the space previously occupied by Uncle Jon’s Soap had become available, she and her husband, Jason, decided to open their own art studio and shop.

“We thought it would be really great to have my own studio space and find stuff that goes along with the art,” she said. “We just went for it. We hadn’t been looking at anything, so it just kind of happened. It’s been wonderful.”

With her husband’s help, Backer said the space was transformed into a shop that was just as unique as the items in it. In addition to the bright green walls, patrons can also find a reclaimed display case and a collection of decorative antique lamb figurines, which served as inspiration for The Dusty Lamb’s name.

“In my home studio, I always had a shelf full of these old, rubber lambs,” she said. “They are kind of creepy, but also super cute. That’s also the stuff I look for.”

The Dusty Lamb opened its doors to the public on March 23.

ArtistIn addition to her own artwork – which she describes as a combination of folk, lowbrow, cute and sometimes sinister – Backer sells handcrafted merchandise from various local artists. Vendors include Stephanie Karn, Marc Emond, Ashley Brown, Cyndi Monaghan, Brian Robertson, Katie Brown, Darren Wood, Dana Kester McCabe, Bonnie Preziosi, Jennifer Allard, Michelle Sasscer, Deana Greenberg, Tiffany Collins and Danielle McLaughlin.

“I’ve definitely heard a lot of people say that this store is different, which makes me happy,” she said. “Also, I like the idea of featuring local artists you don’t see as often, or who aren’t considered mainstream.”

While a lot of the store’s wares are from local vendors, Backer said The Dusty Lamb also features manufactured items, including Mexican market bags, finger puppets and Edward Gorey mugs, to name a few.

“I have a little bit of everything, but it’s all got sort of an odd theme …,” she said. “I also sell a lot of Edward Gorey stuff. He was my favorite artist growing up.”

ArtistDespite her new business, Backer said she is no stranger to the local merchant scene. For roughly six years, she operated Tumbling Monkeys on Main Street. The building is now home to Island Creamery.

“It’s been much better this time around,” she said. “I’m in the right space and there are more people now.”

She also noted the comradery among Berlin merchants and the efforts of Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells and Administrative Assistant Allison Early to promote and support local businesses.

“I feel like people work together more now than they did back then …,” she said. “The town is great, and I hope it stays charming.”

Backer encouraged everyone to visit The Dusty Lamb and shop local.

“You are probably going to see things you wouldn’t see anywhere else,” she said, “and definitely not anywhere else in Berlin.”

The Dusty Lamb is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.

For more information, visit or the store’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.