Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Island Inspired

Visiting tropical climates never ceases to amaze and inspire me and the Florida Keys were no different.

Forget cocaine...I got so revved up by all the postcard views and the colors and the fact that everything was so green...that I didn't need a Thanksgiving feast. The visual banquet was enough to keep me full for weeks...

I give you Exhibit A. Check out this little island off by itself...

Now if that doesn't set your mind to dreaming, I don't know what does.

I used to draw pictures like that when I was a kid. Stick-figure Me on a remote little island with a hut, a palm tree, and birds and seashells and the ocean and sun and sky. That was it.

I wonder who lives out there? I wonder if they do needlework? I mean, let's face it, that would be a pretty spectacular view to wake up to every morning. And I wonder what I would create if I woke up and saw such beauty every day...


I didn't need to wait long for an answer. We drove the hour to Key West and found Island Needlework, owned by designer Julie Pischke. Her shop didn't officially open until yesterday but the website said to call ahead for an appointment. So I called on Thanksgiving and Julie was true to her word...she opened up her shop just for me the next day. Sadly, on the day of my visit, Julie got called away by a sick friend and it was her husband and her friend, Sally, who I met that day (and Sally lives 15 minutes away from me and was just visiting -- small world)...

Even though I didn't see Julie, I felt like I met her.


Everywhere her shop is full of her life's work. And here it was. The answer to my earlier question...


Here is what an artist creates when they wake up to such beautiful views every day.



Interpreting the island life and tropical pleasures with canvas, needle and thread.


Fabulous. The shop itself is a three-story house, 100 years old and renovated by Julie's husband Richard -- they live upstairs. It's picturesque...it's gorgeous...from the open windows with propped up shutters...to the fans lazily swirling overhead...


To the color outdoors that comes in...and the color indoors that blend out...


If I were going to design, and own my own shop, and live a full-life, integrated with a loving community in an amazing location...This would be it!

I wanted to stay there in Key West. And come back on a relaxing afternoon, and sit in the front room around the table with a group of friends and stitch. The place called to me.


And I was inspired. Not just by the island...but by the woman who designed and created this extraordinary needle-life in a cottage on an island in the middle of the sea...


You got that right, Julie. Peace indeed...

21 comments:

Sheila said...

Susan,

Your post sings with an abundance of joy - and sunshine and great colors. That's pretty neat to see your dream life in technicolor realism. Is this going up on your inspiration board? I'd come visit your shop, too. I bet Julie is bummed she didn't get to meet a sister needle artist. Just means you'll have to go back! (Florida Keys, part II). Have a wonderful day. It was great to see your latest posts. Belated Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Gerry Krueger said...

What lovely colors... And tell me did you buy anything???? Ger

coral-seas said...

Hi Susan, thanks for bringing me this slice of paradise on a bitterly cold day in the UK.

verobirdie said...

What a post when the weather is grey and cold and rainy (no snow for us in the South of France, just rain). Sigh...
I really must go there.
Thanks again for the sights.

meri said...

Beautiful place! And beautiful shop!
How good looking at your pictures in a so cold and rainy day...

Charlene said...

OMG! WOW!! What a gorgeous shop and I would be totally overwhelmed.
Did you buy any treasures? Thanks so for sharing, you brightened my day!! I love your blog.

Charlene

Carol said...

I think, besides the weather, I would love being surrounded by all that vibrant color and LIGHT. I would never miss my Ponderosa with tons of stained and vanished walls.
And yes, tell us what you BOUGHT!

Allison Ann Aller said...

That first photo was a killer diller. So amazingly blue! Glad you were so inspired, esp. by that fine lady living her dream.

Funny, though, those colors seem out of sync for me right now. I guess I'll always be a girl of the north country..."where the winds hit heavy on the borderline"...this time of year the low gray sky is like a blanket, tucking me in...

Cheryl said...

I love the way you discribed all this in your post, its a shame you did not get to meet Julie, hope you can come back to Florida agian soon, My Aunt would love to see your pictures as they go there in the Winter time, she lives in Pa. I live in central Florida but I don't belive I have ever been to the keys, if I did it was when I was a child.

Elmsley Rose said...

oh! I want to needlepaint that photo of roundish leaves with the red veins!

Marty52 said...

Man, I could so go completely tropical, sign me up! I loved living in Hawaii and the Keys have always fascinated me, even though I have never been there.

What a shop and what an artist. Such a bummer you didn't get to hang out for awhile. But... now you know where it is and can vaca there sometime!

Rachel said...

Thank you for giving us all a wonderful tropical holiday!

Catherine said...

What a fantastical place!! I am sure you were on cloud nine! We do want to know though, did you buy anything??

Vicki Cook said...

I was so excited to see that you visited my favorite shop! I have known Julie for at least 20 years & have stitched most of her designs. I love the newest creation, Pischke Pockets. I have 6 Pischke Pockets, 2 are actually for Christmas gifts & 1 is for a fellow stitcher. Great new gift idea! Check out their website. Vicki

Lacy said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos and eloquent words on Julie Pischke's Island Needlework. Julie is teaching a "Pischke Pockets" class in March in Key West. Come experience the vibrant colors and be inspired by Julie's creativity! www.PischkePockets.com

Judy S. said...

So, did you do any shopping in this wonderful looking shop?

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I feel like I've been on holiday and all I did was read your post! LOL

What an amazing place to visit and that shop is amazing...she brings needlepoint to a completely new and wonderful level!

vicki said...

OK - I have to go to the Keys now because I am dying to go to this shop! The photos are out of this world!!

Vicki

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jimmyboi2 said...

It's a great shop-- you did it justice. I've done a couple of tropical pillows whose canvases I purchased here.

jimmyboi2 said...

It's a great shop-- you did it justice. I've done a couple of tropical pillows whose canvases I purchased here.

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