The Pearl Street space that once housed longtime janitorial retailer Top Hat Supply, is now brimming with handcrafted pieces from some of Boulder’s innovative and creative female artisans.
Instead of paper towels and bulk cleaning solutions, passersby will discover intricate jewelry, thriving succulents, organic botanical-dyed velvet pillows, boldly hued ethereal paintings, ceramics, Ayurvedic bath products and more. The New Local, the collaborative effort of jeweler Marie-Juliette Bird and friends, opened its doors Nov. 15 and has since been a must-stop shop for treasure-seekers looking to uncover a myriad of finds for the holiday season.
“It all happened so organically,” said Bird, who crafts Victorian-inspired jewelry under the moniker Blackbird and the Snow. “I was walking by, saw that it was for rent, called the number and spoke with the realtor.”
The space became available after Top Hat Supply, which sat at 1729 Pearl St. for more than 50 years, moved in October in the wake of the building’s sale.
Within a week, the women transformed the blank retail space into a model of visual bliss. The end result is one that engages all senses. The understated scent of sage wafts through The New Local where one can spot the unusual details of driftwood, a glowing pyramid-shaped salt lamp and a modern guide to astrology. While an essence reminiscent of the artful displays seen at Anthropologie is found within, this shop offers a personalized authenticity rarely found in a chain.
“We developed a specific aesthetic, reached out to people and it just kind of grew,” Bird said. “None of us could afford this space on our own. Coming together here in this community, you feel inspired by each other’s worth. Necessity is the mother of invention, but it has created this exhilarating synergy.”
The well-curated storefront is part gallery, part high-end design space — an intentional collage of incredibly-unique goods — that is equally sophisticated as it is engaging.
The New Local will host a First Friday event with live music from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6. Eventually, artist demos will also take place within the serene space.
Unlike typical pop-ups that only last a day or a weekend, The New Local lets collective members display their work for a more significant amount of time, allowing artists to gain exposure and giving consumers an intimate glimpse into an ever-evolving mini-marketplace.
“As artists, we sometimes feel like there isn’t an infrastructure to support us in Boulder so we are creating it ourselves,” Bird said. “There’s been so much momentum around this project and people saying, ‘We need this here.’ We are creating our own network and support system — that has been very empowering.”
The excitement from surrounding artists and the community continues to build around this fresh venture. While the official 10 collective members house their wares in the space, The New Local also has invited additional creatives to showcase one-of-a-kind offerings. Vibrant publications from Roost Books can be found sprawled out on the shop’s coffee table. Soon, sweet paleo confections of Boulder’s Daydream Dessert will be available for purchase.
“The concept was built on equality and integrity,” Bird said. “There’s real attention to quality here. We offer a broad price point, but many of these are heirloom handmade gifts that can last an entire lifetime.”
From leather bowls by Alexa Allen that almost resemble the moon in different phases, to Laura Morningstar’s hand-stretched porcelain and stoneware vases — inspired by pregnant bellies — with burnt horse hair detailing, the variety and caliber of products is unmatched.
“Within all of our pieces, you will find some kind of thread to the natural world,” said Beth Van De Water.
Van De Water launched the Belle Voir Fund, a campaign to raise more than $10,000 by the end of 2020 with proceeds from the sale of her elephant charms, titled Isabelle, to support women and children directly affected by climate change. She said she believes this step could enrich the planet and potentially curb climate change in the long run.
Her metal pendants, featuring whimsical depictions of leaping rabbits and butterflies, are far different in tone from her more masculine rings and cuffs with illustrations of abstract mountain ranges.
“When I’m in my creative space, it’s a cocoon where what’s coming from inside of me gets life,” Van De Water said.
Edie Ure’s velvet pillows, brilliantly dyed using yellow marigolds and sustainably grown Tennessee Indigo, are piled high on a day bed. Some dyes are extracted from local wild plants like Goldenrod, and even food waste, such as avocado pits and onion skins.
Colorful oil paintings by Matti Berglund, featuring an array of Elizabethan-esque characters, cleverly mix a bit of the old and new.
Bird’s jewelry pieces are constructed from recycled metals as well as precious stones and opals sourced from ethical mines in India and Australia. Delicate moon pendants, starburst earrings, graceful sparrows and jeweled moths offer hints of the Art Nouveau movement, while still being current.
“All of our aesthetics go so well together,” Van De Water said.
“And they are all so different,” Bird said.
While the majority of makers are female, the bold black-and-white tarot card-inspired work of featured artist Kaelen Williams — artist in residence at Boulder Creative Collective — graces the back wall. His deck of tarot cards is also available for purchase.
In addition to the real blooms provided by Tara Huston of Boulder’s Fawns Leap Botanical Arts that dot the space, visitors will find Heather Cherry’s intriguing faux plants weaved from cotton.
“By not having to give a portion of the profits to a gallery owner or middle man, we are compensated for our work in a fair way,” Bird said.
An assortment of Moon Bath products — crafted by its founders Sierra Brashear and Dakota Hills — are designed to make self-care a true ritual. From purifying sacred smoke sets that feature frankincense, copal, white sage and lavender to bath teas meant to amplify the energy during lunar cycles, the array of products stretches way beyond an average bath bomb or Epsom salt soak.
Not only do members of this tight-knit tribe support one another, they also seek out ways to make a difference within the lives of locals that need it most. In keeping with the generosity of the season, The New Local will donate a percentage of sales from Small Business Saturday through Giving Tuesday to Mother House — a Boulder-based organization that has provided at-risk mothers and their babies a nurturing and empowering residential community since 1982.
While the pop-up’s last day at the Pearl Street location will be Dec. 24, it’s this collective’s hope that the initiative is just the beginning of more collaborative projects to come.
“It’s an experiment,” Bird said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
“Right now, we’re just riding the wave,” said leather artist Alexa Allen.
If you go
What: The New Local
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, running through Dec. 24
Where: 1729 Pearl St., Boulder
More info: instagram.com/thenewlocalboulder/