Corinth’s diverse artist community makes shopping local easy this holiday season.
Salon owner and hairdresser Warren Rossi’s focus on beauty illuminates his enchanting artwork. His use of mixed media on highly-textured canvas often highlighted in gold leaf lends Southern charm to empty spaces.
This year his Christmas ornaments will showcase nativity scenes, churches and florals on wood disks hung with grosgrain ribbon. The myriad collection of brightly colored images will add classic detail for a heartwarming holiday décor. He also has “shelf-sitters” or six by six paintings of gnomes and Santa Clauses on linen canvases.
“I especially enjoy doing the nativity scenes on my ornaments because I feel it helps gives meaning to everything celebrated during this special season,” said the artist.
The owner of Relaxstation Boutique and Salon has always been an artist at heart. He began painting as a child and took art in school. About eight years ago his wife Beth Ann began encouraging him to paint more.
“I found creating art relaxing and therapeutic,” said the business owner. “I was able to get my mind off dealing with a busy schedule.”
Beth Ann posted her husband’s paintings on social media one night and by the next day, all his paintings had been sold.
“It was kind of scary knowing it was possible my artwork was going to be criticized by others, but then seeing it appreciated really encouraged me and gave me a boost,” said Rossi.
After his online success, Rossi was able to display his paintings in local restaurant Pizza Grocery for about a month. He then started displaying them in his salon and a few galleries on the Gulf Coast. Soon afterwards, his wife and he became interested in participating in regional arts and crafts festivals to sell his artwork. Not only did it give them a chance to spend time together and explore interesting place, they also met some of their best friends through the art circuit.
“We really enjoy doing shows down on the Gulf Coast,” commented the Corinth resident. “I think the coast chose my artwork instead of me choosing it. My colors, palette and subject matter seem to reflect that type of environment.”
His unique coastal paintings included seascapes with images of pelicans, boats, seahorses and mermaids.
The professional artist won the prestigious 2019 Peter Anderson Arts & Festival “Award of Excellence.” The festival which was created to honor master potter, Peter Anderson in Ocean Springs is considered the largest fine arts festival in Mississippi.
Closer to home, Rossi orients his artwork with florals and Southern scenes in which people can relate.
His compositions usually consist of an “impasto” or raised technique filled in with acrylic paint using brushes and palette knives. Some of his favorite paintings include pieces he’s done featuring Corinth businesses and churches, many of which have been custom-ordered.
Rossi, 54, has been a salon owner in Corinth for 33 years and is the current president of the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology. He is married to Beth Ann Rossi, 52, who works at the salon as bookkeeper and “everyone’s encourager.” The couple have two children – Elaina Johnson, 28, Payden Rossi, 24 – and four grandchildren.
The Corinth artist’s paintings are displayed at Relaxstation, Hello Gallery in Fairhope, Ala. and Mint Décor in Orange Beach, Ala. His hand-painted ornaments can also be seen on social media. His website is Warren Rossi-Artist.
If Christmas shoppers are looking for another gift idea, candle maker Jacquie Harris brings cozy scents to Corinth. She and her husband, Tim, have also added a new business downtown, Welcome Home Gift Market on Fillmore Street. The boutique carries all their candle company’s products plus locally made items by Mississippi artists.
The mother and Ole Miss graduate began looking for a creative outlet six years ago and found candles as a hobby. Harris researched candle making and started making them in her kitchen. After several years of making candles as a hobby, she then moved to a small shop building close to her house and started her candle making business full-time in January 2021. When an opportunity became available the following September, the Harrises opened Welcome Home Candle Co. in downtown Iuka. The company creates jar candles, dough bowl candles, wax melts, candle tins and room sprays.
After the candle company had a successful holiday season in 2021, the Harrises opened Welcome Home Gift Market in Corinth, February 2022.
“I had been determined I wasn’t going to open a retail store,” the self-taught candle maker said in amusement. “I guess the Lord laughed at my plan. Needless to say my ‘hobby’ turned into a full-blown business and we now have two stores, one full-time employee and five part-time employees.”
The couple recently acquired a trailer for their pop-up candle shop which they take to arts and crafts festivals.
Harris has added new scents and a holiday line to her popular original scents. Her signature candle, “Welcome Home,” is reminiscence of grandma’s apple pie with a nice apple, orange and a bit of clove fragrance. Another favorite this Christmas season is her “Tree Farm” candle with notes of pine, red currant and juniper.
The craftswoman said she makes her candles to have a clean and not overpowering scent. Made of natural soy, the candles are phthalate-free and paraben-free which is especially important for people who struggle with allergies.
“We have done a lot of testing so our candles burn well and half the wax isn’t wasted when the candles burn” she said. “The soy wax burns slowly and more cleanly than paraffin wax.”
She credits her candle making team for helping her balance her professional and family life. During an overwhelming time in February when her mother passed away and she was in the process of opening her Corinth store, her candle-making team headed up by Kieanna Yother kept things going.
Welcome Home Candle Co. also sells their products at the Snooty Owl in Tupelo and wholesales to about 25 retailers in Mississippi and Tennessee. The company is in the process of expanding its manufacturing in Iuka and building their online presence.
In addition to running her business and holding private candle making classes, Jacquie decorates local homes and businesses for the holidays.
Tim, 38 and Jacquie, 33 reside in her hometown of Iuka. Tim is a registered nurse at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Iuka. The couple have four children – Levi, 10, Anna Kayte, 9, Johnson, 9 and Nora, 4. They are also very involved in their church, Jesus Name Community Church in Walnut.
Welcome Home Candle Co.’s pop-up shop has been seen at area artist venues. She was at the recent Jaybird Holiday Market in Iuka and plans to be at the Red-Green Market in Corinth on Nov. 19.
Artisan and owner of JH Artwear & Designs, Jessica Humphreys offers giftable collectibles during the holiday season.
An often heard remark upon walking into her colorful art booth is, “Everything in here makes me smile.” It’s exactly the impression she hopes to invoke with her creations.
“I place an emphasis on color, playfulness and for my art to be very joyful,” she said.
Humphreys likes to paint her ceramic Christmas ornaments and wooden nutcrackers in bright non-traditional colors accented with fun ribbons, nostalgic trinkets and gold leaf touches. She also mixes both nostalgia and whimsy in her ceramic Christmas villages painted in candy colored hues. New this year in her Christmas collection will be nativity scenes with angels added in.
Shortly after the Corinth resident earned a BSA in studio arts at the University of North Alabama in Florence in spring 2010, one of her best friends suggested she participate in the new “Green Market” being held every month at the downtown depot. She had been commuting to and from the UNA campus while also holding down her full-time job as manager at the Dinner Bell in Corinth but knew she wanted to pursue a career in art.
The new business owner considered her fabric designs and hand wrought jewelry “wearable pieces of art” which decided her business’ name, “JH Artwear and Design.” The “Design” came from her creation and love of beautiful paintings.
When she almost sold out of everything her first show, it was a huge encouragement to Humphreys to continue creating her artwork. After regional boutiques began contacting her to sell her products, wholesale orders were quickly added to her itinerary. By 2011 the restaurant manager was traveling more widely to arts and crafts shows. She quit her job in 2012 and focused on working full-time in her art business.
“My favorite part of my business is going to markets and festivals where I get to personally meet my patrons,” she said. “I thrive on the continued positive love and support I receive from my patrons and friends I have met in the art community.”
The mother of four-year-old Fox Mitchison, Humphreys, 35, is known for the unique and bright color palette she uses in her floral paintings, whimsical hand-painted ceramics and hand-painted wood earrings.
She began moving toward more ceramic art after the pandemic caused prices to increase on the canvases she used for painting. She knew people’s income had been impacted and wanted them to have original pieces of artwork that could be collected at an affordable price point and still be bright and fun.
In addition to her ceramic ornaments, she has expanded her Christmas line to include brightly hand-painted Christmas trees, Christmas villages and other fanciful décor for her Christmas collection.
“I love Christmas. I feel it’s bright, magical and cheerful especially during winter when everything seems dark. It reflects our Savior’s birth bringing light to the world. I pray God will shine His light through me and want that to be displayed in my art,” said the artisan.
Humphreys’ Christmas collection can be seen locally at the Red Green Market in Corinth on Saturday Nov. 19 and through her Etsy shop and Instagram where she offers local drop off options for her Corinth patrons and her upcoming shows can also be viewed.
These examples of amazing local talent bring nostalgic charm, delightful scents and cheery décor for a festive Crossroads Christmas.