Perfectly Unconventional

Going into the art business wasn’t entirely a stretch for Falardeau.  In fact her shop features the work of some of her favorite local artists, which happens to include many of her family members.  “I’m very blessed to have very talented people in my family,” explains Falardeau.  “(I carry) watercolors and drawings from my brother-in-law Larry Falardeau, oil paintings and specialty items from my daughter-in-law Rebecca Falardeau and wood carvings from my husband Ric Falardeau.”  

The Trellis also features the work of Falardeau’s daughter, Illana, who makes original beadwork and jewelry, which has become a major part of the business.

Falardeau came into the art world in a somewhat unconventional way.  While working years ago for the State of Michigan, she scratched her creative itch by doing side work as an event planner for weddings, anniversaries and showers.  Her daughter’s unique bridal jewelry and original beadwork became an instant match for her burgeoning hobby business.  “(Her) knowledge and talent made it a perfect fit,” Falardeau says of her daughter.

When she retired from the State of Michigan, Falardeau tried like most people in her position to slow down, and fill her time in other ways.  She began volunteering at her grandson’s school, Hospice House and Sparrow Hospital, but she soon realized those endeavors wouldn’t keep her still for long.  “It’s wasn’t enough,” Falardeau explains.

After spending time thinking about it, Falardeau realized that some of her favorite jobs throughout her life were in retail.  One in particular saw her designing home items and gifts for a local furniture store.  Falardeau also knew that special occasion planning, her family’s artwork and her daughter’s jewelry could be part of the equation.  She combined all of these components into The Trellis, which Falardeau opened in downtown Mason in December of 2004.  As the years have passed, Falardeau figured out that event planning was something that would go to the wayside, while local art, beads and jewelry-making would take center stage.

“Beading is no longer a craft,” Falardeau explains.  “Learning to design and make your own jewelry is an art that is affordable with amazing results.”  The Trellis caters to all different tastes, even the more refined ones, by offering an extensive selection of beads, including Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, Czech glass, and original lampwork beads made from local artists.  The Trellis also takes jewelry-making one step further, by holding classes each week to teach community members how to make their own wearable art.  

“Today’s beading is not a hobby, it truly is art,” Falardeau says.  The Trellis offers its classes on Thursdays and Saturdays, and features affordable courses that range from basic stringing, to making earrings and bracelets.  The Trellis also offers classes for brides-to-be, or for a ladies’ day out.

Carrying local art has long been a part of the mission of The Trellis. “I’m proud to be a part of a community which has among its residents many talented artists,” Falardeau says.  “Because I am a member of the same community and have always been a lover of art, I believe I have a responsibility to inspire my fellow citizens whenever possible.”

Falardeau also says that Mid-Michigan’s diverse community makes for a thriving local art scene, which she has high hopes for in the future.  “Having access to MSU and surrounding cities’ art galleries, along with small shops like mine ensures art as a mainstay and it will continue to grow.”

The Trellis sells local art on consignment, taking a commission on all sales.  Along with her family’s watercolors, oil paintings and woodwork, Falardeau also features pottery from several local artists.  The Trellis also carries beads that are made locally, and custom-designed jewelry that is made by employees and class instructors.

Falardeau truly has a passion for the jewelry side of the business, and sees it as an integral part of The Trellis for years to come.  “The beading of today is not the beading fad of the 60’s or 70’s,” she says.  “Using Swarovski crystals, and precious and semi-precious stones and metals insures that as long as women wear jewelry, beading will thrive.”  

Falardeau expects that with the continuing development of the local art scenes across Mid-Michigan, along with an increase in demand for unique products and gifts, her business will continue to grow into the future.  “Most of my customers enjoy making purchases of local business and artists,” she said.  “With no shortage of talent in the Mason area, there is no need for them to go elsewhere.  Local residents want to support locals.”

Falardeau also believes that owning something unique and one-of-a-kind is something everyone should do.  “I believe every person should own an original piece of art,” she said.  This could include pottery or a watercolor painting, ceramics or wood.  “True art takes many forms,” Falardeau says.


The Trellis
Malinda Falardeau, owner
103 East Maple Street
Mason, MI 48854
(517) 676-9256


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