Phoenix artist Lara Plecas was surrounded by friends and fellow creatives on Friday night, November 23, for the soft opening of her new boutique called Desert Crafted. It’s located at 2809 North Seventh Avenue, inside a two-story red brick building. It’s a familiar site for local art lovers who used to frequent the Willo Gallery once located there.
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Plecas specializes in encaustic paintings, created with pigmented hot wax, but also does collage works and installation art. Often her pieces involve repeated patterns and muted desert colors, an aesthetic that carries through to her choice of Desert Crafted offerings such as hats, baskets, totes, and fabric throws. The shop also carries an assortment of dietary and herbal products.
But there’s another intriguing aspect to the space. Behind the boutique, there’s a second room she’s transformed into her art studio, where visitors see a large work table and a desk-like tabletop filled with tools ranging from paintbrushes to a small scale. Several of her artworks, including a large-scale piece that references her family’s ties to Johnny Appleseed, dot the walls.
She’s opening Desert Crafted for First and Third Fridays, giving people a chance to explore her evolving body of work even as they shop for eclectic objects sourced from various desert settings. “I’m really excited for everyone to see it,” Plecas says.