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Enter library, step into the world of art

Published April 22, 2007


CLEARWATER - Last week was a taxing one, now how about some fun?

The Clearwater Main Library is all decked out for spring with garden art, creative calligraphy, and eye-popping baskets from Rwanda.

Some of the works in the show are for sale; the purchase of hand-woven baskets will help poor Rwandan families.

Baskets from Rwandan Partners

In 1994, Rwandans suffered through a 100-day genocide, which claimed about 800,000 lives.

Rwandan Partners, www.rwanda, is a nonprofit organization formed in 2004 that helps teach surviving women - many raped or widowed - how to weave marketable baskets, bowls and trivets.

The creations, made from sweet-smelling sisal grass, cost $15 for a trivet up to $80 for a large grain basket. Along with the basket displays are pictures of the Rwandan women, with narrative about their lives printed underneath.

Tracy Stone, executive director of Rwanda Partners, said a friendship basket for $40 would typically net the woman who made it $9.10 - that's more than one week's average wage. The rest of the money helps pay for shipping, training and supplies.

"Most workers average less than a dollar a day," she said. "It's a good, fair wage and really helps make a difference in their lives. It moves them to a new level," she said.

The baskets may be seen in the Carnegie Gallery through May 25.

The Florida Gulf Coast Society of Scribes

They are called calligraphers, scribes, and a bride's best friend.

Members of the society of scribes are flaunting their perfect penmanship and artistic skills through a collection of handmade books and wall art.

Ruth Pettis of St. Petersburg is a professional scribe who created a book with rubber stamps and East Indian paper made from bagasse, the fiber from sugarcane.

She calls her creation, The Five Poems of Wang Wei, named after a Chinese poet. It was inspired by her trip to China and took about a hundred hours to make, she said.

"I cut rubber erasers into nearly 300 Chinese characters," Pettis said. "That was the most time-consuming."

The handmade books are on display near the main entrance.

Also, don't miss the calligraphic wall art, displayed in the Osceola Gallery.

Artist and scribe Linda Renc, who owns the Painted Fish Gallery in Dunedin, said many of the artisans took canvas and applied pigmented paste. "It stiffens it up and makes an interesting background that will often suggest something to the artist."

With the colored canvas as inspiration, the artist finishes the piece with a written poem or saying.

The scribes will be exhibiting their works through May 25.

Garden of Art

Safety Harbor artists Todd and Kiaralinda Ramquist have created giggling suns, happy flowers, and Plexiglas tissue people to star in someone's home or garden.

Some are big and bodacious, like the 10-foot tall Big Sun that sells for $377; others are dainty and cute, like the hippy-type flowers, which sell for $34.

Kiaralinda said most of the objects are made from nonrusting recycled aluminum and found glass.

"We shop antique stores, flea markets and garage sales to find ashtrays and dishes and give them new life," she said. For instance, one cherry red flower's glass center was made from the top of a candy dish. The handle became the stamen.

The sculptures are scattered throughout the library and will remain until May 11.

Terri Reeves can be reached at

If you go

Put it in your book

The Clearwater Main Library is at 100 N. Osceola Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 727-562-4970.

[Last modified April 21, 2007, 20:14:46]

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