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At Artifact, Molly Gaddy sells stories—and really cool speakers

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Shop owner Molly Gaddy Walters looks into a Retro TV Mirror by local artist Joel Spencer in the Artifact boutique in The Market LV portion of Tivoli Village Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. The shop specializes in recycled, up cycled and re-purposed items.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Artifact Boutique in the Market LV

If you ask Molly Gaddy what she sells at Artifact, she could tell you about the rugs hand-woven out of Alaskan fishing line. She could talk about the acoustic iPhone speakers that use repurposed bells from vintage gramophones and old trumpets. Or she could point to Joel Spencer’s retro televisions with mirrors in place of the screens. But really, Gaddy sells stories. Every item at Artifact has one.

The eclectic shop at Tivoli Village’s Market LV sells art, home goods, crafts, jewelry and vintage clothes. With the exception of the clothing, which is themed around people like Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn, everything in the shop is recycled or upcycled. “It has to be made by an artist, and it has to be one of a kind,” Gaddy says. And artist-made, one-of-a-kind pieces tend to have some pretty cool history.

Of course, Gaddy has her own story, and a shop has always been part of it. “Instead of playing mom or school, I always wanted to play store. I wanted everyone to shop,” she says. The Las Vegas native had a previous life as the assistant director of retail for the Wynn, but when the recession hit and budgets got tight, she found herself out of work and dreaming up a place where she could showcase artists and original work for reasonable prices.

“Artists want to be creating, and I want to be selling,” she says. “I get to be the voice.” Artifact is the showroom. The store, which celebrates its grand opening on September 15 with cocktails and music, is less than 800 square feet, but it’s a deliciously browseable space that yields treasures at every turn. It’s packed but not cluttered—the kind of store that begs to be stared at and poked around, because you never know exactly what you’ll find.

The Details

Artifact
The Market LV at Tivoli Village, 672-2780.Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Grand opening September 15, 7-10 p.m., artifactlv.com

Today, I find a chair whose back has been replaced with a scarred and stickered skateboard by Gaddy’s 13-year-old son. There are bangles made from recycled Bombay Sapphire and Absolut bottles, Su Limbert’s delicate birds cut from ceramic plates, old torpedo shells decorated with images of Gandhi and Albert Einstein, and Gaddy’s own handmade notebooks with covers made from used children’s books and mixed paper inside. I’m mildly obsessed with the iPhone speakers at the front of the store, which don’t need batteries or electricity and seem to play by magic.

“One hundred seventy-five artists are here or coming,” Gaddy says, estimating that 80 percent of the work is locally done. “One artist leads me to another, leads me to another.”

And some of the artists will also be teaching at Artifact. Gaddy plans to hold classes each month that will teach customers basic craft projects. She starts to explain how to strip the pesticides out of a palette using all natural ingredients, then points to a piece of art painted on palette wood. “I will help you do it … or I will sell you that one for $200,” she says, laughing.

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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