Jerri Graham is a noted Westport photographer. She hasn’t felt the holiday spirit for a while. Recently, she was especially Grinchy. But, she writes …:
While around us the world spins, there are those going the extra mile to make the holidays a bit more magical. They decorate with a level of flair that should be appreciated.
Noya Jewelry Design (18 Riverside Avenue) has upped their game this year with a “Nutcracker”-inspired window display that spills over into the interior decor.
Owner Natalie Tortay started talking about decorating for Christmas back in September. I never suspected my Israeli Jewish landlord and mentor would be a Mrs. Claus in disguise.
But, she says, “I lived in Europe for many years. Christmas decorating is taken seriously. You don’t just string lights.”
I thought she was kidding about “doing it up” for Christmas, until she asked for the name of a set designer. I knew Alicia D’Anna builds exhibits for the Westport Museum for History & Culture, and has bad-ass ways with a table saw. She’s also worked for years on sets for Staples Players.
The women met, along with Alicia’s partner in design, Broadway’s Jordan Janota. Together hey flushed out Natalie’s vision.
I asked Natalie why she went through the expense of decorating her windows and store for the holidays, while we’re all experiencing trying times.
“It’s because we are in these times that I have to do it,” she said. “It makes me happy, it looks beautiful for people passing by, and it gives artists work. I’m happy.”
Alicia worked in her converted Westport workshop with Jordan. They brought to life the storyboard they’d presented just a week before. With techniques they’d used on the stage here and in New York, they carved out a bit of theatrics.
“Natalie is giving the town joy! She isn’t just decorating her store for the holidays; she’s giving our community an experience,” Alicia said as she painted a foam scoop of ice cream bright pink.
The designers created quite a scene in 2 windows. Ballet slippers suggest an invisible foot dance beneath a tutu, surrounded by snow-covered trees and glittery packages.
At night I’ve smiled as I see little girls with their faces pressed to the window. A jewelry designer turned her store into a studio, where artists created a set for minds to dance.
Though we live in dark times with the shine of the season dimmed, the windows of Noya offers a little glimmer of hope we can all use.
(Noya Jewelry Design is on the west bank of the Saugatuck River, just over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.)