The past year hasn't been pleasant for Bang Tin Art Gallery but the days ahead look brighter with a March reopening planned for the downtown gallery.
Fire ignited in the walls of the circa 1900 building on Jan. 24 — a result of frozen pipes, said owner Petrisse Briel.
Earlier this week, there was only a faint odor of smoke in the gallery section, which was otherwise bright with its well-lit bamboo flooring and white walls.
Workers pounded and sawed above the first floor, repairing the route fire traveled in the old-fashioned balloon or open construction walls — lacking the barriers afforded by platform construction.
The building sustained water, smoke and fire damage and left two upstairs tenants without their apartments while the work is being completed.
In the gallery a well-made rooster formed of steel wire stood perched behind the owner ready to crow about the gallery's re-opening.
The owner would have the rooster crow about the work the fire department did on the bitterly cold afternoon when fire erupted at 124 Pleasant St.
Marblehead and Swampscott firefighters chased down flames in the walls and stemmed their spread, all the while preserving art work and the building's structure.
"They did not damage any more of the building than they had to," the owner said. And they moved art to keep it from being destroyed.
She is grateful, she said.
The past year has been difficult. Noise and dust and traffic from construction across the street at the Warwick building has been difficult for the 1-year-old metal art business, she said.
But the Warwick is built, now.
And Bang Tin's owner is ready to show and sell her gallery's metal art, its paintings and multi-media pieces.
Petrisse, a New Hampshire native, started out as a commercial photographer in Boston in the 1980s. Later, in the mid-1990s, she moved into garden art, working with copper.
Today she welds, forges, bends and cuts steel in a gallery workshop that would make a blacksmith proud.
Her work graces each nook and cranny along the wending halls from the front gallery to her work space.
Soon, more art will again flow to the front as she hopes to open her doors in March.