(Above: Michele Beckman Tuegel in the foyer of her heart-of-St. Petersburg gallery. Click on image to enlarge.)
The last I blogged, I'd packed my Scion to the hilt and was ready to head south for an adventure in paradise. The drive went perfectly and took me to 320 Center Street, right in the fashionable shopping and dining district of St. Petersburg and the door to Michele Tuegel Contemporary.
(Above: View of Michele Tuegel Contemporary from the street.)
I was totally blown away by the location, the great natural lighting, the outstanding presentation of such magnificent artwork, and especially by Michele's engaging personality. To have new representation in her upscale gallery is a dream-come-true. My work will grace the walls with the likes of Arturo Sandoval and Eleanor McCain ... and alongside pieces by other national and internationally known fine artists.
(Above: Michele Tuegel behind her counter. Click on any image to enlarge.)
Michele is actually closed on Monday, so it was a perfect time for her to meet me, take in my work, and for us to sign an official contract for representation in Florida. Of course, once she opened the door for me to bring in my pieces, shoppers wandered in and made a few purchases! Not bad for the middle of a lazy Monday afternoon when the place is supposed to be closed! I wish I could witness the trolley bringing visitors for the area's monthly art walks! Must be exciting! I'm so proud to be in this fantastic gallery.
(Above: Some of my work lined up against the sales counter ... waiting to be signed into inventory at Michele Tuegel Contemporary! Click on image to enlarge.)
Michele and I could have kept up a lively conversation filled with laughter for hours ... but ... I had a travel agenda to keep in order that I arrive in "paradise", aka The Studios of Key West, by the next afternoon.
(Above: Dollar bill decorations at Robbie's on Islamorada, one of the keys on the way from Miami to Key West.)
Of course, my drive down the Florida keys wouldn't be complete without stopping at Robbie's on Islamorada. I had a lazy, late breakfast and then watched other, braver people feed the giant tarpons that seem to "hang out" under the piers.
(Above: Feeding the tarpon.)
The tarpon look like enormous cannon-sized fish. Their mouths open up impossibly large when they spring through the sea's surface to grab the dead fish from the hands of tourists. It is hilariously fun to watch.
(Above: A tarpon waiting to be hand fed!)
The staff at Robbie's try desperately to fend off the pelicans but generally, the pelicans manage to steal a few fish ... sometimes right out of the buckets of fish purchased by the tourists.
(Above: Pelicans at Robbie's ... anxiously waiting to steal fish from tourists.)
Leaving Robbie's meant driving further south, over the seven-mile bridge ... with the aqua and turquoise waters of the Atlantic (left) and the Gulf of Mexico (right) shimmering in the sunshine. It is a perfect preparation for the paradise of Key West.
(Above: Grilling dinner at The Studios of Key West.)
Everything at The Studios of Key West (TSKW) is magical. There are three artists-in-residence here for the month ... just like I had been last March. In charge of the dinner's cookout is Micheal Robinson, a talented poet, writer, and film artist whose work is making its way around the country through various dance film festivals. Beside him is Miranda, a woman from Scotland who visits Key West annually in March and who took my HOTTER workshop. Next is Lisa Sanders, another artist-in-residence and a talented sculptor living just over the river from NYC ... someone up on all the current trends and happenings in the pulse of the art world. In the background is Thierry Bedoux, Painter/Installation/Mixed Media Artist from Morires les Avignon Provence, France. They've been wonderfully inviting and fun.
(Above: Teaching HOT, my first of two one-day workshops at TSKW.)
After settling in to the Mango Tree House, my tropical accommodations ... which isn't a "real" tree house but has all the atmosphere of being in an island paradise, I was ready for HOT and HOTTER ... two one-day workshops. The classes were both nearly filled and the pieces created were fabulously diverse, totally creative, and served as inspiration for me too!
(Above: Looking down on the workshop from the second floor walkway. Click on any image to enlarge.)
The spaciousness of the workshop is a total luxury. The amount of natural lighting is a distinct plus. The set up and take-down always go very, very well because Lauren McAloon, gallery and facilities manager at TSKW is BRILLIANT and can transform the space from art exhibition to concert stage to workshop and back again within an hour or so. (THANK YOU LAUREN ... You are the absolute BEST!)
(Above: Cynthia and Claire during HOT ... and both came back on Thursday for HOTTER!)
The pace of the workshops is always exhilarating. The participants come from all over the place ... not just residents of Key West! Cynthia is from Montreal.
(Above: Selecting mats for the various projects finished during HOT.)
All of the participants went on from their first project to at least one other during the first workshop. The pieces were designed to fit inside provided mats! Good thing I'm a custom picture framer too!
(Above: HOTTER, view from the second story walkway.)
It wasn't necessary to attend HOT in order to have a foundation for HOTTER. The second workshop simply introduced other heat-activated processes ... including image transfers, transperse transfer paints, and new ways to incorporate these techniques ... like, creating a "wearable".
(Above: Judi Bradford, a talented artist with studio space at TSKW, with her transperse transfer painted fleece scarf ... which she further developed using the embellisher to attach puffs of blue chiffon scarving.)
Transperse transfer paint was used to color off-white fleece. The most amazing scarves were created all afternoon ... in addition to 2D works and even a 3D piece made by Lisa Sanders! It was amazing.
(Above and below: Cynthia with her scarf.)
The class beaded, stitched, embellished, painted, and generally spent the entire day exploring heat activated techniques in their own individual ways.
(Above: HOTTER in action.)
Yes ... in addition to my Bernina sewing machine, I brought my embellisher. Like normal, several participants were instantly in love with this "toy". Who doesn't love stabbing fibers with lightening fast speed!
(Above: The embellisher in action on another transperse transfer printed fleece scarf.)
So, the rest of this post has more images from the two workshops. It was a blast. Finally, I've posted a few photos I took while on a walk around Key West. I'm determined to take lots more "detail" shots ... no more general views ... while I remain here in paradise through Sunday! It's been my honor to teach here.
I'm also linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for fiber art sharing!
(Above: The HOTTER workshop from the second floor ... all this area has been transformed into the AIDS Help weekend charity art event. I donated a piece and hope to snap a few photos tonight at the champagne preview ... YES ... they "do it up right" here at TSKW!
(Above: Free-motion machine embroidery in progress.)
(Above and below ... happy workshop participants with their pieces.)
(Above: Sidewalk pavement. Below: Sign along Duvall Street.)