SUGAR LOAF—The Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village Spring Festival brought a light crowd on a somewhat humid Memorial Day.
Those who came could find handcrafted items like unique stationery, herbal soaps and remedies, original jewelry, and gourd birdhouses.
As the day went on, the yard in front of Alicia Frosini’s herbal store, Sugar Loaf Mountain Herbs, drew visitors who were interested in the many potted herbs.
Frosini says she grows all her herbs in Sugar Loaf.
“I have a very big following and they come because they know that we grow them without a lot of chemicals. They are very strong plants. We harden them off.”
Her shop sells potpourris, blended teas, and at this time of year, organic bug sprays made of essential oils. She adds geranium to ward off ticks.
Her customers like her natural blends. “They like the fact that they are safe for children and are good for people with a lot of sensitivities.”
Kat Parrella’s designs and those of other independent designers are on display at Merrily Paper, situated in a 200-year-old cottage in the middle of the hamlet. Parrella says her paper products are not sold anywhere else.
She hand-picks the invitations, gifts, and stationery sold in the store. A consultation room in the back of the store is set up to plan celebrations such as weddings or anniversaries.
At Rosner Soaps, Keren Rosner was busily packaging her lemon grass soap in bright yellow paper. She said all the herbal bars are made with olive oil. “It’s wonderful because it both balances and moisturizes skin which no other oil can really say.” The soap exfoliates and also repels insects, she said.
At his store Collage, Bruce Roberts displays handcrafted silver, copper, and brass jewelry. A jewelry designer since 1975, Roberts says he creates jewelry for major retailers throughout the U.S.: Macy’s, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, “and probably a few hundred other stores.”
Large gourds have been crafted into birdhouses at Luft Gardens, Aaron Luft’s store. Luft said he also makes lanterns and jack o’ lanterns. For indoor use, the gourds are sealed with a clear acrylic and the birdhouses are finished with an outdoor wood finish. “It’s just like working with a piece of wood. The Lufts grow about two acres of gourds of all sizes.
The hamlet of Sugar Loaf is a community of artisans and boutique shops in the Warwick valley. The village was transformed into a thriving crafts center in the 1970s, according to the hamlet’s website.
“Many of these artisans live and work in the original barns and buildings which date back to the 1700’s.”
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