Meridian Star

Local News

April 28, 2010

Embellish adds an artful touch to downtown Meridian

Art, antiques, and jewelry shop to open once a month

MERIDIAN —     Embellish is not a place you can fully take in with just one visit. The art and antiques shop new to downtown is filled with so many interesting things to examine, it's hard to decide where to look first.

    Upon entering the store, you are immediately greeted by a life size Parisian statue of the Madonna, a stately and elaborate antique grandfather clock, and a large antique mirror in an ornate frame.

    The rest of the store is filled to the brim with a diverse array of unique items in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Many are made by local artists and craftspeople, while many others are imported from as far away as Europe.

    Meridian's Frances Long, manager of Embellish, decided to open the store in the old Aimee's location on Front Street after Aimee's, a combination retail store and wholesale business, closed.

    "It just got to be too much for (Aimee's owner Aimee Tramontana) to do wholesale and retail at the same time," said Long. "But when the store closed, everybody missed it."

    Tramontana is now one of six partners operating Embellish. Long manages the shop, while Tramontana, Terrie Shields, Summer Posey Hines, Karen Rush, and Jean Tucker all bring their own assortment of art, antiques, jewelry, and crafts.

    Each partner labels their items with their own recognizable tags, so that Embellish can operate as one cohesive shop rather than having separate shopping areas.

    "As we say, it's not in the match, it's in the mix," Long said.

    The shop has the same warm, earthy atmosphere as Aimee's had, but with more hard-to-find items for sale in a wider variety of styles.

    Long said she's thrilled to be a part of the store, not only because of the interesting items that are sold there, but because it is located downtown.

    "We need places to shop in downtown Meridian," she said. "And this is a historic building... It's a wonderful venue for antiques and gifts."

    The store is filled with paintings, furniture, jewelry, home accessories, and scented candles and soaps, along with Aimee's linens and jewelry handcrafted from Catholic medals that can be custom made.

    Arts and antiques at Embellish can come small, things like mother of pearl cigarette cases and handmade embellished headbands can be found in every corner. But they also come quite large, such as an antique canopy bed that sits in a corner opposite a full size carousel horse.

    Embellish is also full of things that are old and rare, such as a gilded icon from St. Petersburg, right alongside things that are brand new, like Côté Bastide scented candles imported from France.

    Currently, Embellish features the paintings of Mississippi artists Lisa Paris of Jackson, Karen Rush of Meridian, Sylvia Follis of Meridian, Peyton Hutchinson of Hattiesburg, and Laura Pennebaker of Hattiesburg. They also have handmade head bands from Molly McGee of Madison and hand-dyed silks from Oxford.

    "You'll always find a mix of antiques and accessories for the home, whether it be candles or other things that make your house more at home," said Long.

    Though the store will always have a broad range of items, they aren't always available for purchase — the store only opens once a month, for three days at a time.

    Long said she wasn't able to manage the store full time, and got the three day a month idea from her daughter, who made a 90 mile trip each month to visit a shop in Virginia she loves, but which is only open once a month.

    "We want it to be an event," Long said. "We want it to be something people mark on their calendars... And every month we have new furniture and antiques."

    This month, Embellish will be open today, Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their next opening will be June 3, 4, and 5.

    Long said the shop is also available when it's not open for special events, such as parties and book signings, and her daughter, Peyton Hutchinson, is planning to teach art classes their.

    For more information on Embellish, visit them on the Web at   

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