Boutique window art makes heads turn | SkyHiNews.com

Boutique window art makes heads turn

Leia Larsen
llarsen@skyhidailynews.com

Since the late 1800s, retailers have embraced the importance of window displays. From big-city Madison Avenues to small town Main Streets, the street-level designs served as three-dimensional advertisements, luring in shoppers with their sometimes alluring, sometimes eccentric displays.

In Kremmling, Kriss Mossman has snagged shoppers with her notable window-dressing talents for about six years.

"Most people are just on their way going somewhere, they're in such a hurry, they're whizzing by," she said. "Oftentimes when people do stop and come in, they're surprised by the items we do have in our shop."

Mossman runs her boutique, Park Avenue Hair, with her husband Stephen J., who is a hair designer. Both inside and out, it looks like the kind of artsy and fashionable store shoppers might expect to see on Boulder's Pearl Street, Aspen's Galena Street or Denver's LoDo. Mossman makes many of the items for sale in the store, from necklaces and earrings, to neckwarmers and purses to ornaments. But before customers even get through her door, they're drawn in by her charismatic displays, which she designs, builds and installs by hand.

All of her displays are made almost entirely out of recycled materials.

"People do like to come in and look at the pieces, figure out what they're made of," she said. "I like to inspire other people to save their junk and recycle it or give it to someone like me."

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Some are romantic, like her Valentine hearts made of tissue paper and old issues of the Sky-Hi, or her butterflies made out of police caution tape. Others are quirky, like her electric green cacti made of old egg cartons or her "peace" signs made of old bike wheels. One of her favorite display accessories is a deer she made of sticks, cardboard and an old sweater.

"I think it's fun to take a pile of junk and make it into something people enjoy," she said.

Mossman changes her displays about five times each year. One for each season, and a fifth one around February. Her current winter-theme display features chandeliers made of painted branches, Christmas lights and icicles she made by melting clear plastic forks. It also has aspen trees made out of paper and old butcher paper tubes and snow from shredded paper. The effect is a whimsical-looking winter wonderland.

"The whole window really looks pretty lit up at night," she said. "But it's only using four strips of Christmas lights, that's it. So it's a very energy-efficient installation."

Mossman said neighbors and friends often drop off bags of scraps at her house they know she can use. When it's time to start designing a new window, she'll assess her piles and start sketching ideas. In the six years she's been working on displays, Mossman said she's yet to have an idea that didn't turn out.

"I usually get to a certain point where I think, why am I doing this? It's terrible," she said. "But I get it together and it works out."

Inside her boutique, most of her hand-crafted items are also made out of repurposed materials. She reuses beads and trinkets in her jewelry. She and her husband turn antique doors from historic Kremmling buildings into shelves and décor. She turned acorns into colorful and glittery tree ornaments. Almost all of the gifts available in her shop are under $100.

"With the jewelry, a lot of them are one-of-a-kind," she said.

Mossman's originally from the East Coast, but came to Colorado around 21 years ago, looking for something new. She started in Summit County, with a shared boutique on Main Street in Frisco, but moved to Kremmling about 13 years ago for a change of pace. She likes the town's more laid-back appeal and the space she has to do more gardening. Most of all, she appreciates the freedom she found in Kremmling.

"I just do what I like. No one's telling me what I can have in my store, what hours I should be open," she said. "And when I'm not here, I get to make merchandise and other things."

Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.

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