Patricia’s Presents filled with animal-themed gifts – and more

Patriciacover

Photographs by Bob Rozycki.

If anyone were to be in search of a pillow featuring a cat wearing a pearl necklace, we know just where to send you.

Come to think of it, this Ridgefield boutique is also the place to find a pink-flamingo keychain, leopard-print foldable ballet flats, a Collie eyeglass case or a beaded foxhead pin.

And while Patricia’s Presents has certainly made a home for the whimsical — “People seem to appreciate the fact it’s a little quirky,” owner Patricia Polk says — there is more than enough room for straight-ahead sophistication.

To that end, shoppers will delight in equestrian-themed prints by noted Woodstock artist Harvey Konigsberg, luxe needlepoint pillows depicting traditional fox hunt scenes, hand-turned wooden bowls, distinctive women’s fashions and, most notably, boldly dramatic jewelry designed by Polk herself.

The shop is a colorful destination where customers are greeted warmly by Polk, a personable blonde with a stylish flair.

The New Milford resident, a veteran of the jewelry field, opened the shop last April on the outskirts of town.

It is, she says, the culmination of quite a journey for the New York City-raised woman.

“I grew up riding in Central Park,” she says of her earliest days on horseback.

She would go on to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology, specializing in merchandising. Though working in the Garment District, she never let go of a dream, one she shares with a bit of laughter.

“All I ever wanted to do was be a flight attendant,” she says. That whim became a temporary job that turned into a new career.

It allowed her, she says, to explore the world and gather materials and sources for her jewelry design work, creations she was showing in salons.

“That’s what we did in New York in the ’70s,” she says.

Her travel, though, allowed her to expand, with her company formalized in the mid-1980s and focusing on wholesale work (showcased in venues from Henri Bendel to the Smithsonian) and select shows.

But, Polk says, “Life is funny,” and her exhibiting would eventually open her up to a whole new audience.

It was in 2000 when someone asked her why not exhibit at dog shows.

“The women wear jewelry. It’s a great market,” Polk was told.

And so it began.

“The dog shows led me to pillows and all the doggy accessories, which led me to the horse shows,” she says.

She was soon a regular exhibitor at shows such as the American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in North Salem and decided to open up her own shop.

Polk, who has a beloved rescue dog herself, has found an audience attracted to the unexpected offerings with a definite nod toward all things animal-themed.

“I think it’s a different mix,” Polk agrees. Indeed, one can expect horse themes to decorate everything from a wastepaper basket to a cosmetic bag to a vegan, custom-made handbag. There are elegant pillows devoted to countless dog breeds, playful notecards, coin purses, porcelain figurines and wall hangings.

One might see a flying-pig pillow, a rooster tassel or a Terrier wallet.

Many of the gifts, especially the prints, are designed purely for fun.

“Sometimes I try to leave people alone when they’re walking around and I hear them. They’re giggling,” she says.

Fair Trade jewelry complements Polk’s own creations, many statement pieces with a vivid sense of artistry.

“I’ve been really, really lucky over the years,” she says. “I still have contacts in Europe and Nepal.”

That allows her to source unique elements for her work.

She is also beginning to integrate garden-themed gifts and accessories, including vibrantly colored gloves.

Fashion is also part of the mix.

“I usually just do jackets and tops,” she says, noting many a woman’s preference for a starting point of black. “There’s like nothing here you can’t wear with all black.”

She says many clients, those who ride horses or play tennis, like her fashions and accessories.

“They’re sporty, but they can go and be dressed (up),” she says.

The customers often include those who travel the busy Route 7 corridor.

“I seem to get a lot of businessmen going back and forth,” Polk says.

Many stop by, beckoned by her filled-to-the-brim windows, and leave with neckties for themselves, gifts for their wives or bosses or toys for the grandkids.

No matter the day, Polk says she welcomes customers of all kinds.

“The store is fun. People seem to enjoy it.”

For Polk, the shop will never be complete.

“I’m trying to bring more and more interesting things in.”

We say she’s well on the way.

Patricia’s Presents is at 199 Ethan Allen Highway in Ridgefield. For more, visit patriciaspresents.com.

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