Melrose Arts and Crafts next weekend

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Local artist Suzy Berry created this fashionable pearl bracelet on a leather cord. This piece and others will be featured at Melrose Arts and Craft Festival. Berry operates Suzy B Designs and offers upscale hand crafted jewelry at reasonable prices. Courtesy photo

The 46th annual Melrose Plantation Arts and Crafts Festival is scheduled for Oct. 17-18 according to Vicki Parrish, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), sponsor of the event. Visitors may stroll the grounds and enjoy safe, socially-distant shopping at more than 50 vendors featuring hand-made items, many of which are one-of-a-kind.

Among the items are original art works, stained glass, gourmet pickles and jellies, hand-made jewelry, clothing, photographs, plants, toys, woodworking products, wrought iron artwork, pottery and many other arts and crafts. This year, the event has been modified to ensure a safe experience for visitors, vendors and workers. Masks will be required to be worn at all times on site. Hand sanitization stations will be available. All vendor booths will be spaced out and the number of people on site will be monitored to ensure social-distancing guidelines are met.

Melrose will open at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12. Tickets can be purchased online. Tickets for tours of the Big House are $5 and will be available for purchase on the day. Self-guided tours of the grounds and viewing of historic buildings are free.

Tours of the plantation home, the “Big House,” will be available, with guides. Clementine Hunter murals remain in their original home on the second floor of the African House.

To purchase tickets and more information about Melrose Plantation and the annual Arts and Crafts Festival visit www.melroseplantations.org

Suzy B Designs

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

Interest in shopping local has spiked over the last year. People realize that by shopping local and supporting small business, the economy can thrive. The Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival draws artisans from far and wide, but also features craftsmen and women from Natchitoches Parish.

Suzy B Designs, owner Suzy Berry, is one such artist preparing for the big event this weekend. Monday she was busy preparing her display stands and getting her posters ready for her booth that usually can be found right in front of the Big House at Melrose. Her booth features upscale jewelry using semi-precious and precious stones and metal work. Berry said her designs run the gamut of short and dainty to long with tassels. She’s been a jewelry artist for about 10 years, a hobby she started after attending a Fleur de Lis Craft show in Natchitoches.

She said she wanted to learn the craft of jewelry making after that and has since taken classes across the country to hone her skills, most recently using bevels to set stones. Her pieces can be described as timeless using a variety of mediums. Berry said she especially enjoys making pieces using leather and pearls together to create unique designs that appeal to the young and young-at-heart.