Glitter Feed: Nola Craft Culture Supplies City With Sparkle
NEW ORLEANS – However much you know about glitter, it’s a safe bet you know less than New Orleanians Nori Pritchard, Lisette Constantin and Virginia Saussy. These three are the sparkle-obsessed co-owners of Nola Craft Culture, a year-old business devoted to all things glitzy, glamorous and bedazzled. The Mid-City store is a combination of craft shop, art gallery and classroom with a communal workspace that’s also used for parties and special events.
On a recent weekday morning, Pritchard – who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from MIT – was teaching six crafters the correct way to apply layers of glitter to shoes, handbags and other items while explaining the major categories of the sparkly stuff: It can either be opaque (solid) or sheer (see through). It comes in sizes ranging from fine to chunky. And the finishes can be either iridescent, metallic, holographic or something called “color shift.”
Pritchard – who is the author of a blog titled “Confessions of a Glitter Addict” – is a member of the Krewe of Muses, so she specializes in making the parading organization’s signature hand-decorated shoe throws. On display in the workshop are high heels that have been transformed into a shimmery ice cream cone, a unicorn with a fuzzy mane … and even one that looks like a blinged out stuffed artichoke.
“There’s nothing else like giving a handmade throw,” said Pritchard. “The difference between throwing beads and giving something one-of-a-kind you have made is night and day. I got really invested in how I could help people make things they’re proud of.”
The store has become a gathering place for people who love to sparkle during Carnival and all year long. In addition to glitter, shelves are stocked with rhinestones, cosmetics, adhesives, feathers, confetti, fringe, trim and headdresses. Workshops cover working with resin, making headdresses, tie dying clothes, sewing, beading and jewelry making.
“We wanted to develop a place where local cultural makers can get what they need to create and go downstairs in a workshop and make it,” said Constantin. “And we wanted to offer workshops and then also have an indoor art market where they can sell their wares on consignment. We knew we’d have to catch lightning in a bottle because it really had to be in New Orleans.”
Even though the business couldn’t have started anywhere but here, Constantin thinks it will travel well.
“We think there are plenty of other cities in the country where this might be a wonderful thing, like Miami or New York and other places that have big cultural and theatrical communities.”