Esa’s back and she’s closed out Wearable Art Boutique in Winter Park, Florida!

A few years ago, I became friends with the owners of a boutique in Florida called Wearable Art, a cool shop that featured designer clothing, accessories and jewelry. I truly admired the boutique and its artful fabrics and styles. Whenever we were in Florida to go to market for Purple Pelican Gallery, we met for conversations about art and craft since they also owned an art gallery for many years, which led to the opening of the boutique. We shared resources and learned about lines of clothing we’d like to carry in Spooner. I added clothing as an experiment, hoping my customers would like it. The sales that first year were so good I added more and now the Wearable Art section is quite popular, with its own dedicated area in the gallery.

In January of last year, I learned that health issues were causing the owners to retire. They had sold the gallery but offered me their boutique at a very reasonable price. My husband Terry and I bought it and spent February through May getting acquainted with Wearable Art Boutique in Winter Park.

The dream was that I could work the boutique in Florida for a few months in the winter and the gallery in Spooner in the spring, summer, and fall. The reality was, I couldn’t do both. We had a very capable manager in Winter Park but in October, she retired from retail and returned to her own real estate business she had left after the economic crash of six years ago. With the economic turnaround in Florida, demand was too great for her not to work her brokerage full time. That meant I would have to take her place. We could not find a suitable replacement for her (I also had two other employees) and soon the stress of it all overcame me. Terry said the expense and stress of trying to run businesses 1,600 miles apart was not working or making sense and that I had to choose one business or the other.

After speaking with a consultant, who explained our options, it seemed the choice was clear. He said if I was to be successful,  I was going to have to work the boutique business full-time and give up the gallery in Wisconsin. That choice was unthinkable to me. Purple Pelican is my first born and my first love. Since we had an option to be released from our lease in Winter Park, we took it and by the end of March, we had sold most of our inventory and all our store fixtures and closed down the boutique.

When we returned to Spooner in April, we brought with us several thousand dollars worth of clothing and jewelry to put in the gallery.

Now I’m so pleased to be home at Purple Pelican Gallery and having a huge “STAYING IN BUSINESS SALE!”  which is much more exciting and rewarding than the other.

Purple Pelican has suffered somewhat by my absence and I have an excess of inventory that needs to go so I can refresh the gallery with new art for the coming summer. I hope you’ll take advantage of this big sale to get some art or clothing that you have long admired, or if you’re new to my art gallery, you’ll find a reason to come back again and again!

One thing I came away with from this experience, is a good understanding of the fashion industry and many new designers to add to my “Wearable Art” space here at the Pelican. I hope to become your go-to shop for not only interesting art and craft, but also for clothing and accessories you can’t find anywhere else in Northwest Wisconsin.

Wearable Art Boutique was a costly experiment, but I’m not in debt, I have my health, my family, my business here in Spooner, and friends like you! Thank you for your patronage.

Hope to see you soon.



ACRE Show Was Great

Well fellow Wisconsinites, I hope you’re all hale and hearty as we round the corner on winter and head into longer days. Believe it or not it gets better from here. But you knew that didn’t you?

My husband (Terry) and I have been getting geared up for the coming art season by spending the last couple days at the American Craft Retail Expo here in Orlando, Florida buying art for Purple Pelican Gallery.

I think we’ve hit the jackpot this year with several new and emerging artists. I found a new fused glass artist and bought her beautiful clocks and serving ware. You’re going to like her fabulous colors.  I also found five new potters, a metal artist, several new jewelry artisans, and some fantastic Wearable Art designers. I can’t wait to get home and get back in the swing. This coming season will be spectacular.

Speaking of Wearable Art, after careful consideration, a lot of prayer and an intervention from my children…”Mom you’re working too hard!”,  I’ve decided to sell out my Wearable Art Boutique  in Winter Park, Florida and spend all my time in Spooner, Wisconsin. There just isn’t enough time for both businesses, given the distance between Spooner, and Winter Park and my stamina.

Bridget has ‘held down the fort’ beautifully this winter while I’ve been in sunny Florida selling off my inventory at the Wearable Art Boutique and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

The boutique was a wonderful experiment and I’ve had the time of my life, but I need to get my ‘creative mojo’ back and I really am working too hard and spread too thin. So, home I come, and boy am I looking forward to quiet days of painting and restoration and seeing all my friends and patrons.

Everyone (except me) knew I couldn’t do both businesses. Never being one to be told what to do, I needed to find out for myself. So now I know. I can do almost anything, but definitely not everything.

Thank you to all who refrained from being dream killers and allowed me the space to find my limits. I really mean it…you rock and you know who you are. You just nodded and smiled and congratulated me on my superior entrepreneurship. I really appreciate it and I’m all done working my hinney off and I promise never to be bored again!

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See you in April!


WE Made it to Florida

Well we’re here and I’m so glad. It was a hard three-day trip with both cats refusing to eat or poop. I think they had begun to fear we were going to live in the van and by the time we arrived they were so relieved they forgot to be freaked out. They both ate a hearty dinner, pooped and then slept on my lap like traveling was business as usual for them.

Bridget is crankin’ along just fine without me for now and she’s getting ready for the Fall rush, seeing all our friends for the final days of color change and the beginning of our favorite holiday season.

Lots of new things in for the Autumn and with Christmas season just ahead, we’ve bought some new things just for this time of the year. Stop in and say hi to her and encourage her in her work. She’s the best custom framer around and a pretty good ‘jack of all trades’. I often have referred to her as ‘a girl with a tool belt’.

I’ll be flying back for special events and hope to see you all for the Ladies Night Out in November.



Four Days to Blast Off!

Four days left here at my gallery in Wisconsin and crazy days they are. Tomorrow is the beginning of the fourth Art Meander and I’ll have no time to think about the exodus because it’ll be ‘all hands on deck’ for the next three days. I’ll be painting in my open studio with demonstrations Friday night and Saturday. I’ll be trying (keyword ‘trying’) to finish the last two of six fashion illustration style paintings for the Wearable Art Boutique in Winter Park.

Sunday will be ‘packing’ day and Monday at 5:00 am heading south to Winter Park.

My dear friend MB King will be joining me at Wearable Art in Winter Park, Florida at the end of October to help get this boutique up to its best so that it reflects my vision of feminine beauty.

She’s a fashion designer and dresser of the * ‘first water’. I have waited a long time to work with her and am so blessed to have her on board at Wearable Art Winter Park.

* ’first water’ : Of the highest quality.


first waterFrom the gem trade. The clarity of diamonds is assessed by their translucence; the more like water, the higher the quality. This comparison of diamonds with water dates back to at least the early 17th century, and Shakespeare alludes to it in Tymon of Athens, 1607. The 1753 edition of Chambers’ Encyclopedia has this under an entry for ‘Diamond’:

“The first water in Diamonds means the greatest purity and perfection of their complexion, which ought to be that of the clearest drop of water. When Diamonds fall short of this perfection, they are said to be of the second or third water, &c. till the stone may be properly called a coloured one.”

Remembering my Blog!

I’ve finally found time for blogging but feeling a little silly. I went to WordPress to build a new blog and found out I already had one…OOOPS. I forgot I had built this blog back in 2011. Well a lot has happened since then. I’ve restored dozens of paintings, photographs and even a one hundred year old theater curtain. A highlight of the restoration projects was an original John Young Roberts ‘Santa Fe Trail’ study that I cleaned. I felt so grateful to be able to bring such a treasured and valuable painting back to life.

Last February we bought a Wearable Art Boutique in Winter Park, Florida. I know…who gets to do this kind of stuff, right? Well I’m so blessed and happy to be a serialpreneur as one of my friends calls me. We’re getting ready to head out to Winter Park next Monday to spend the winter and get intimately acquainted with my little boutique. I’ve been to a couple buying shows and made three trips there since my purchase in February, but I still feel like I’m a newbie.

Here at the Purple Pelican, Bridget is rising to the challenge of managing the gallery all winter without me here. She did a great job last year and even was able to decorate the shop and get it ready for the summer season totally on her own. She’s a keeper!

My latest artistic endeavor is a series of fashion illustration style paintings for the boutique in Florida. I will have four finished originals on display for the winter down there and sell prints to my customers here and there. Did I mention we bought a wide format giclee printer? I know…who gets to do this stuff, right? I offer giclee printing to my customers at a square foot charge and I’ve done several photos on canvas for other artist/photographers. Did I mention that I love my job? The piece below is one of my latest paintings for my new boutique. Her name is Kemi. (Keemee)

Kimi  More Later…

Picture Framing

From time to time, I will be introducing you to the various products and services from Purple Pelican Gallery. From our carefully restored century-old building in downtown Spooner, Wisconsin, we are an artist-owned gallery that features not only the finest in fine art and craft, but also incomparable custom picture framing and art restoration services that equal anything you’ll find in much larger metropolitan areas including the Twin Cities and Chicago. We have the area’s most experienced picture framers who also happen to be artists which makes all the difference in the world when it comes to composition, that is, putting together the picture you want framed with the right moulding, matt board, glass and your room color, lighting, and decorating scheme. Right now, we have a special on all picture frame projects at 20% off the regular price. This special runs through December 3rd so you can have it in time for Christmas. Please call ahead or bring in your picture or photo. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM.

This entry was posted on November 13, 2011. 1 Comment