When they step inside, shoppers are reluctant to leave Artemis Boutique in Princeton Forrestal Village. As one customer said recently, “This is a hidden gem! Artemis Boutique is truly unique. You could spend hours here and find treasures in every nook and cranny, and in such a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.”
That is what artist and proprietor Jennifer J. Shortess has hoped to achieve. When she opened the boutique in November 2011, it was with the intention of offering an inviting showcase both for her own creations and the work of many area artists.
“Nearly everything is one-of-a-kind and made in America,” says Ms. Shortess. “This is an opportunity to exhibit the work of so many talented area artists and still create my own work. I love working with the artists, and I love giving them the venue to show their work.”
Ms. Shortess, who grew up in the arts and crafts community of Sugar Loaf, New York and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a multi-talented artist. She has worked in video and film, creates fused glass pieces in many designs, as well as jewelry, and is an accomplished photographer.
Open A Store
Opening Artemis Boutique actually came out of necessity, she reports. “I had taken a course in stained glass, and then I began making jewelry. I started in the basement, then the kitchen, and I actually took over the house with my artwork. Finally, my husband said ‘Open a store!’
“I liked the idea of being in Forrestal. It’s a good location, with convenient parking.”
An intriguing array of artwork, jewelry, decorative items, and accessories is on display. Jewelry choices include sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and crystals. Fused glass lamps, fused glass sculptures, suncatchers, and Tiffany reproduction lamps are the work of Ms. Shortess. Also available are handmade, handpainted silk and crocheted scarves, paintings, and photography. Woodstock wind chimes, Murano glass from Italy, and fragrant soap “rocks” are other special offerings.
Among the artists represented is painter Mary Endico, who specializes in water colors. “I’ve known Mary all my life, and I am proud and grateful that she has consented to allow me to sell a few hand-picked pieces,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her water colors have the bluest blues I have ever seen.”
A number of the artists whose creations are on display work in more than one medium, she adds. “The multi-talented Deborah Bowen offers handmade jewelry, fused glass, stained glass, and crocheted scarves. Ruth Hunt is unique in her creations of handbags made of duct tape — really! — and faux decorative cakes that really do look good enough to eat. The purses in black are Chanel-like, and no one can believe they are made of duct tape.”
Limited edition evening bags from Harrison Morgan Accessories and turquoise necklaces made by Mr. Guy for Harrison Morgan Accessories are all originals. A pink stole made of the softest alpaca fur is another statement piece by Harrison Morgan.
“Natalie Sarabella is known as the Rock and Roll Star of Christmas ornaments, and sells at Bergdorf Goodman, Frontgate Catalogue, and soon the Franklin Mint,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her work is stunning and also includes private collection paintings, jewelry, pillows, perfume bottles, and much more.
“And Michelle Sauber makes wonderfully pretty earrings, as well as her totally original ‘stemware’ wine charms to identify your wine glass, made out of antique and new buttons. Gina DiEnna creates all sorts of beautiful, stunning, and fun jewelry. We are now carrying her ‘Bling It On’ line of jewelry: Swarovski crystals in clay and beautiful big Swarovksi crystals in rings.”
These are just a sampling of the fascinating collection at Artemis Boutique. Ms. Shortess notes that the selection changes frequently, with new items arriving all the time. “We also carry men’s jewelry, such as cufflinks, bracelets, and tie tacs.
“Some of the items here are art for art’s sake, such as many of my glass sculpted pieces” she continues. “I was thinking of of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — when I created these.”
“I also like things to have multiple uses.” For example, her illuminated glass sculptures are electrified as lamps. They can also be inverted to have an entirely different look. In gorgeous colors, gracefully combining form and function, they are a real collector’s item.
Her collection of fused glass also includes soap dishes, coasters, and key rings.
Ms. Shortess’ photography is equally interesting and eclectic, and features many scenes of the southwest, as well as urban settings focusing on doors and windows, and unique glimpses into ballet.
Artemis Boutique also offers a bridal selection including a range of items, from champagne flutes and hand-decorated wine goblets to custom-jewelry and keepsakes to registers/guest/gift books and photo albums. A lovely personalized gift is the wedding invitation presented in a custom-painted frame.
Prices cover an extremely wide range, from $5 to $5000, and everything in between. “I have glass drop ornaments from chandeliers for $5, which can serve as wonderful prisms,” notes Ms. Shortess. “There is really a piece for everyone’s budget. I am very competitively-priced, and we also offer a payment plan.”
Ms. Shortess’ emphasis on everything from the whimsical to elegant to dramatic reflects her own creative vision and the varying forms it can take. It was also a factor in her choice of Artemis as the name of the boutique.
“Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, and was an early feminist, a protector of women and children, and also of arts and crafts,” explains Ms. Shortess. “She was independent, and wanted to do her own thing.”
Ms. Shortess looks forward to introducing more customers to the intriguing selection at Artemis. “This is a new adventure for me, and I am thrilled with how it’s going. We have regular customers and great word-of-mouth. Now, I look forward to being able to continue to showcase the work of all the artists as well as my own. I very much like being able to support the area artists and offer customers an opportunity to see their work. And I certainly love being surrounded by beautiful things. The items here are handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind.”
Ms. Shortess notes that a special exhibition and reception will be held for area painter Kelly E. Reilly on Friday, April 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 12 to 7.
The boutique’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday noon to 3 and by appointment. (609) 454-5908. Website: www.artemisboutique.com.