Talking Shop

Hearts were broken when retailer Carolyn Fineran closed her Cherry Creek North store Tapestry three years ago: A sumptuous trove of unique women's clothing and jewelry handcrafted in a folkloric, gypsy spirit, there's never been anything quite like it in town before or since. But Fineran didn't want to be tied down to the daily grind of keeping a shop anymore. She shut the book on Tapestry to become a life coach, and for about a year or so, she succeeded in switching gears. Life, however, has a funny way of showing a person her true colors.

"I never meant to retire from the business; I only meant not to have a store every day," Fineran says. "I tried hard not to do it again, but I identify myself as a recovering retailer. What I really love is putting textiles and jewelry together and seeing what it looks like. I miss the stuff we sold. I miss growing old with my customers. I still have the heart, and I still have the name."

So Fineran found a way to combine her innate merchandising skills with her skill for encouraging another passion: her contemporaries, women in midlife. Beginning with Tapestry merchandise carefully packed away in her garage after the store closed, Fineran reincarnated her business in the guise of what she calls the "24-hour retail binge" -- occasional trunk shows under the Gypsies Collection banner, featuring the tried-and-true Tapestry look without the grueling Tapestry hours of old. Banding together with other women artisans in transition, she comes and goes like the gypsies whose style she admires.

The latest of these ventures takes place March 7 and 8 at Artists on Santa Fe, 747 Santa Fe Drive, unfolding like a slightly late valentine to all those poor ladies in mourning who still pine for Tapestry. And what will Fineran pull out of her magic trunk? From needleworker Pat Dalton -- a woman so consumed by her craft that she now leads textile tours to China in search of exquisite antique needlework -- she will offer one-of-a kind silk jackets embroidered by Chinese ethnic minority women. And Gypsy jeweler Tabra Tunoa will send a collection of Third-World-inspired jewels of silver and inlaid precious stones. Beads from local beader Diane Saslow, as well as Fineran's own self-strung necklaces, will also be on display. For information, log on to www.gypsiescollection.com.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd