Saturday, June 21, 2008

From a Woman's Hand show

In May -- for Mother's Day -- we hosted a juried show of women's art to benefit WomanKind Health Care Center here in Key West. Fifty women artists from the keys were selected in six categories of fine crafts and art. Norman Aberle, curator of the Custom House Museum judged the entries for prizes and Leslie Kanter and Judi Bradford, two of the gallery's five partners, collaborated on creating hand made awards.

The champagne and chocolate reception was packed and joyful. The artwork looked great -- a tribute to the talent in the keys and the sales allowed us to present a generous check to WomanKind to help their gentle and caring approach to women's health.

Gary Zimmerman and Steve Allerton played acoustic music by the porch and by the end of the evening they had drawn a crowd of spectators and more of their musician friends, including Cindy on stand-up bass, Bounce the Clown on musical saw and Mademoiselle Oo La La on squeezebox. They donated their tips to WomanKind.

Dian Marshall set up inside the gallery doing wonderful lyrical caricatures, donating all of her earnings to WomenKind.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Artist Profile: Fran Decker

After a dark winter in Boston dealing with my husband's cancer, it is fantastic to be home again in Key West. It is also wonderful to be painting again, so I have been celebrating by painting some of my favorite Key West houses. I've also done some other things - mangroves and still lifes, so please visit my website at for more.
Fran Decker

June Poinciana

How lovely it is to be in Key West in June! Sure it's hot, but the poinciana's are hotter still and there's always the ocean to cool off in.

The Lily House, with lillies in the gingerbread and the stained glass, this charming house speaks of cool and relaxation.

Dos Casas - two cottages side by side with blue doors and colorful bougainvillea everywhere.

Sunny Fig Newton - the yellow and blue are a ray of sunshine

Captain Outrageous lived here. A tribute to a creative artist and Key West character.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Artist profile: Judi's Ribbon Necklaces

"I have always done handwork of some sort. I learned to crochet before I learned to read. I started doing these ribbon necklaces to justify my sitcoms -- i.e, 'I'm not goofing off; I'm working!' For two years I made them for gifts for family and friends. I use all sorts of techniques, from traditional embroidery to ships knots!

They are light and lacey and fun to wear. They can also be worn as swingy, hip-hugging belts. Strangers will stop you to say how beautiful your necklace is!

When we opened the gallery, I hung my acrylic paintings. Shortly thereafter I realized I had a whole bag of these necklaces and put some in a corner of the gallery. They sold like crazy, creating frenzies at our openings. I really enjoy working with ribbons and yarns, so that was great for me (and I get to indulge in my great love of sitcoms).

The common thread -- so to speak -- in all my artwork is color. I love being swamped in color.

Recently I started naming my featured necklaces after wonderful women I know; that makes it even more fun.

My website should be up in a matter of days -- Anyone interested in a necklace can call or e-mail the gallery; or e-mail me directly at

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Figure drawing show

Our figure drawing show had a lively opening also. We had models and artists in our showcase window, on the sidewalk out front and in the gallery. Drawings fluttered from the artists' easels to the floor and covered it. The figure drawings turned out to be strong sellers also.


Marky helped us do a lot of the construction to get the gallery started and then switched hats and put up a very popular show with an opening that featured his exotic fan club of girls wearing pink wigs, tights and stripes.

Our opening show

Our grand opening was a lot of fun. We had a pack of musicians playing music on the corner (it was too crowded inside). Gary Zimmerman was on fiddle; Steve Allerton was playing squeezebox; Bounce the Clown played saw and Karen (a.k.a. Mademoiselle Oo La La) had her accordion going.

Reen was manning the bar while all the artists and their customers enjoyed the artwork and each other's company.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The First season

Well, now. That first season went by quickly, didn't it?

We are settled in comfortably now. The gallery looks good and we regularly get wonderful compliments from our customers.

Here is the postcard invitation from our grand opening featuring the owner artists. We are six partners and also show the work of another dozen artists, most of whom are local to the Florida Keys.

Judi Bradford paints large canvases in striking acrylic colors and also crafts brilliant ribbon necklaces.

Janis Childs paints tropical fruits and flowers in jewel tone colors on dining ware, furniture and fabrics. She also does bead jewelry.

Maritza Cresce, a native Key Wester, creates organic natural gemstone and silver jewelry.

Lainie Davia combines sinuous handmade 14K and 18K gold designs with exotic gemstones. She is expert in coin mountying, specializing in shipwreck coins, including the Galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha treasure found just off the shores of Key West.

Fran Decker's colorful acrylic paintings capture the flavor of the Florida keys.

Leslie Kanter makes pottery with tropical botanical, epicurean motifs, including banana leaf platters and gecko boxes.