Heading to New Orleans this week for Mardi Gras? Here's some peeps to check out while you laissez les bons temps roulez. 

1. Restrung Jewelry   2. Jess Leigh Jewels   3. Small Change Finery   4. Oh My Clementine   5. BongaChop

Yes, it was vacation blindness, but I fell in love with New Orleans. Why wouldn't a foodie, jazz lovin' Francophile fall in love with that city? While I only got to spend a couple days for my first visit, I was fortunate enough to spend them goofing around in a city full of life and exuberence with some of the best gal-friends a girl could ask for. Thanks, Faye, for getting married since we know the real reason to get married is just so we could have another bachelorette weekend!

Faye, Me, Crystal, Lisa, Cara & Felicia - my gals, always there with love & support and lots of laughs to boot

Faye, Me, Crystal, Lisa, Cara & Felicia - my gals, always there with love & support and lots of laughs to boot

Two plus days may not be enough to find the best local crafters in NOLA, let alone critique them, but each of the following artists certainly grabbed my attention and I think they will yours. So if you find yourself in the Big Easy this next week for all the Mardi Gras festivities, please be sure to check them out in person, or shop their unique wares online. In no particular order... 


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Small Change Finery

SCF makes ordinary objects look classy and refined: a dresser handle, a coin, a feather. Each piece is delicate and understated without being boring. My favorite, go figure, is the sewing thimble necklace. 

Can be found at the Frenchmen Art Market or online on their website


ReStrung Jewelry

Utilizing guitar strings, this line rethinks recycled. Without being granola or looking cheap, ReStrung creates soft, feminine looks garnished with vintage and ethically-sourced semi-precious stones. I had a hard time picking a favorite between the bangles in the first picture and these fun dangles.

 

Can be found at the Frenchmen Art Market or online on their website

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Oh My Clementine Art

The works of Cassie Tarr are spunky and eclectic and I, for one, couldn't help but fall in love with each piece. Part handpainted acrylic art, part faux taxidermy, her work captivates and fills one with a sense of whimsy. Mixed media pieces, like the painted oyster shell above or the Owlbum painting here, are sure to find a place in your heart and above your mantle. Also, Cassie was a delight to chat with!

Can be found at Jackson Square or online on her website


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Jess Leigh Jewels

 While I loved the pieces of the other jewelry artists I've mentioned above, Jess' pieces made me drool. Using vintage and salvaged jewelry, she recreates new jewelry pieces that are works of art. Combinations of materials one can't imagine would make sense magically come together in her deft eye and craftsmanship, like the necklace shown here. Even simple pieces, like the blue pendant necklace above, are visionary. While she has some pieces online, the true depth of her collection must be seen in person. I imagine she can't get products online because she sells items as quick as she makes them.

Can be found at the Frenchmen Art Market or online on her website


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BongaChop Shop

If I could only buy one things from all those listed here, it would have to be something from Kendra. I shall dub her style "nostalgia couture." Just as I see a Star Wars print pin-up dress (sadly, not in my size), I see the exact CareBears sheets I had as a kid, but recreated into a cute girls' jumper; oh, wait! and the Cabbage Patch set I had, too! TMNT wallet, My Little Pony zipper pouch: you name any cartoon in the 70s, 80s and on, she probably has handstitched something from it. But the pièce de résistance for me was the quality of her work. In this seamstress' opinion, her stitching and technique is impeccable and every item she makes is worth every penny. Start saving your pennies now.

Can be found at the Frenchmen Art Market or on her Etsy page


It was with great sadness, exhilarated exhaustion and a bit of a Creole food coma that we left New Orleans, but if you've got the time before this Fat Tuesday, or next time your down in French Quarter, be sure to check these amazing artists out and all of their companion vendors. Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, till next time, New Orleans!

 

*All photos are from the designers' webpages. 

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