Florida Artists Shine

at Fourth Annual Sarasota Craft Show

Akiko Sugiyama, Adrienne Gaskell, Anne Schroeder and Su Griggs are just a few of the top Florida artists participating in the fourth edition of this juried show.


(Sarasota, FL) Fiber and decorative artist Akiko Sugiyama, jeweler Adrienne Gaskell, and mixed-media artists Su Griggs and Anne Schroeder are just four of more than 100 artists chosen to participate in the fourth annual Sarasota Craft Show, December 6-8, 2013, at Robarts Arena in Sarasota.

            Show organizer Richard Rothbard says that festival coordinators carefully select the nation’s top craft artists, emphasizing technical skill, quality of workmanship, and originality of design. According to Rothbard, the Sarasota-Manatee region is home to a wealth of first-rate artists and artisans. “We’re very impressed with the depth and scope of area artists,” says Rothbard. “As we expand our artist base, we hope to inspire more artists from this area to participate in our shows.”

A longtime favorite on the national fine craft show circuit, Akiko Sugiyama, from Ormond Beach, uses hand-cut and hand-colored papers, wire, wax, gold leaves, dried leaves and other found objects to create her finely detailed compositions. Born in Japan, Sugiyama studied painting before moving to the Unites States in 1974, where she began working with the rice and parchment papers that she paints, rolls, folds, curls, pierces, and crushes into the intricate compositions that reveal the many artistic aspects of paper. “The Japanese influence on my work is unavoidable since I was born and raised in that culture,” says Sugiyama. “My works show my early influences, particularly the children’s tales that I heard when I was young.”

Jewelry artist Adrienne Gaskell’s bold, statement-making jewelry defies categorization with its combination of bead-weaving, kumihimo-braiding and metal-working. While her work is not easily defined, her unexpected combinations of technique and material are easily accessible to her devoted clientele who enjoy the attention they receive when wearing her jewelry. “The challenge of working with an interesting array of tools and materials, from gemstones to a needle and thread or a fiery torch, is what keeps the creation process interesting,” she says.

Sarasota mixed-media artist Su Griggs is back this year, with more of her hand-painted ceramic figures. All of Griggs’ ceramic work is hand-built, using a low-fire clay body and a coil/slab method of construction. The surface is carved, textured, manipulated, and bisque fired. She then treats the surfaces as if they were paintings, with washes of color,including oil, acrylics, glazes, pencils and/or pastels. “I try to give voice to our innermost being through the language of art,” Griggs says. “My work expresses the energy of human emotion—both positive and negative. Whether it be joy, love, hope and strength, or sadness, emptiness or loss, I try to capture that essence of spirit and communicate it to the viewer. Each piece is an expression of our basic humanity.”

Mixed-media artist Anne Schroeder began creating her kaleidoscopic collages of feathers, shells, bones, old maps and other found objects a few years ago when she was called on to frame a feather headdress from the Amazon. While working on the headdress, her calling snapped into clarity and Schroeder knew she wanted to create art using feathers. She began creating her feather collages, often mounted on old Florida charts and framed with old lobster trap wood—nods to growing up in the Florida Keys. Schroeder is quick to note that the exotic feathers used in her work are naturally shed by the avian inhabitants of parrot rescue groups and bird aviaries and that her purchase of the feathers helps pay for the care of these birds.

See the work of these and more than 100 other fine artists and craftspeople at the Sarasota Craft Show, December 6-8, 2013, at Robarts Arena.  The show, now in its fourth year, features high-quality work in ceramics, decorative fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed-media, paper, wearable art, wood, painting, sculpture, furniture and photography by the nation’s top artists.  Tickets are $9 per day; $8 for seniors; $5 for students; and $12 for a three-day pass. Children under 10 are admitted free. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, December 6, and Saturday, December 7, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, December 8. Robarts Arena is located at 3000 Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota.  Free parking. For directions or information about the venue, please call 941-954-2496.  For more information about the artists and event, call 845-355-2400 or visit www.sarasotacraftshow.com.

            The Sarasota Craft Show is presented by American Art Marketing, run by New York-based artist and gallery owner Richard Rothbard and his wife Joanna. The couple produces fine crafts events in the northeast, including the Berkshires Arts Festivals, the American Fine Craft Show in Brooklyn, and the Contemporary Art Fair and Art Off the Main in New York City.