POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2012:
An Artisan Enclave
Local handmade designs intrigue and inspire
More often than not, you've probably found yourself perusing the cluttered shelves of some of the artsy mom-and-pop shops downtown filled with those creative knickknacks and doodads that conjure thoughts like, "I could use that in my living room," or "That would look nice with my outfit."
At Mama Trizza's, there's always something that stands out you'll want to take home and relish for years to come.
Mama Trizza's, founded in May 1997 by Leonard Krisman and his wife Dottie Trizza, is a small, family-owned artisan gift boutique featuring a variety of unique handmade art, jewelry and home and garden collectibles created by over 85 mostly local artists.
With a large collection of one-of-a-kind novelties, the serene shop offers guests something for every occasion from birthdays and weddings to special holidays and anniversaries.
"We have beautiful things that people can give for gifts or use to adorn their own home or yard or have just for the pleasure of having something that wasn't mass-produced," said Melanie Black, owner of Mama Trizza's. "Most of our artists I'm happy to say are exclusive to us. I think what distinguishes us is our commitment to supporting handmade artisan products."
Black and co-owner and friend Glenda Smith bought the business through their LLC "Sister Stores" in April 2011 before Krisman passed away in June 2011 of health complications.
"I was looking for something different to do in my life. I'd had a corporate business career in insurance for over 30 years ... so when I wanted to make a change, I knew about the store," Black said. "Unfortunately he (Leonard) was terminally ill, and it was just going to close, and it seemed like such a shame to me, so I talked to him about buying it."
Since purchasing Mama Trizza's, Black has featured some of the most talented artisans in Tulsa as well as across Oklahoma and surrounding states. Each item on display is carefully handcrafted and individually chosen to reflect the uniqueness of each artist's style.
Guests can peruse everything from elegant Raku pottery and inlaid ceramic vases to copper fountains and decorative yard ornaments to all-natural handmade candles and soaps. Other popular works include stylish and authentic bracelets and necklaces, engraved glassware and stained glass canvasses and beautiful hand-turned wood pieces.
"I think it's important to a lot of people -- I know it is to me -- to support local art and the local art community," Black said.
"We have a wide range of designers. You'll see classic, elegant, beautiful pieces that really are timeless. You'll also find trendy, funky, unusual, eclectic things," Black said. "I think we've done so well because we have really beautiful things, extremely talented artisans, not just in the creativity of their designs, but in the quality of the craft."
Located on 1448 S. Delaware Ave. or in "The Square," the shop resides in what used to be Tulsa's first repair garage built in 1928 for Model T and Model A Ford cars, and according to Black, what some think later became a warehouse for selling and assembling stained glass before Mama Trizza's opened.
"The building has a long history. The original name of the store was 'Mama Trizza's Pottery Shop,'" Black said. "We've increasingly used just 'Mama Trizza's,' but when the store first started, Leonard and Dottie sold pottery and plants. We never even thought of changing the name. People asked me that when we bought the store: absolutely not."
Mama Trizza's is nestled alongside a variety of other shops including The Bead Merchant, Wild Blue, The Retro Den, Tulsa Shade and Drapery and eventually Zats moving from Riverside in September. Currently, the block is being renovated, and a new medical facility is being constructed across the street.
Rusty Swan, property owner of The Square, has been refurbishing the area over the last five years and plans to continue developing the shopping center.
"We'd like this to be as successful as the Peoria/Utica of Cherry Street," Swan said. "We're working closely with our neighbors to try to make the necessary improvements to have this be a fun shopping place, maybe a restaurant, that type of thing."
For Black, Mama Trizza's is more than just a business though; she considers it a haven for locals to come and enjoy the array of beautiful artifacts and be inspired by what they see.
Opened over 15 years ago on Mother's Day, the shop has continued to provide a place where local artists are free to express themselves through their one-of-a-kind creations and give back to the community.
"There's nothing more wonderful than seeing somebody's face when they find that piece of art that speaks to them, or they're looking for that special gift, and they leave here and they're so happy," Black said. "I get to be in a beautiful place and bring beautiful things to people every day; that's what I enjoy the most."
If you're looking for a place to unwind, need a little inspiration or are simply searching for a heartfelt gift to give someone special, visit Mama Trizza's. The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 11-4pm and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. For more information, visit mamatrizzas.com, or call 918-743-7687.
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