The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 6 - November 10, 2010


The Studio is bursting with turtle art

From the November 10, 2010 Issue

Clockwise from bottom left, Robert Johnson,
Christine Predd, Regina Gurland and Debra Rigdill
show their turtle art.

As of Nov. 6, more than 75 artists had answered the call for turtle-themed art for the annual artsHOP silent auction at The Studio at Gulf and Pine on Nov. 12 and 13.

“People want to participate because it’s a community event and they don’t want to be left out,” Deborah Webster, co-coordinator with Rhea Chiles of the show named Calling All Turtles.

This week’s featured artists who have submitted work are Christine Predd, Debra Rigdill, Regina Gurland and Robert Johnson.

Predd is a textile artist who uses fiber and stitchery to create art. The average piece is 18 by 20 inches, but she has made pieces as big as 40 by 40 inches.

“I started as a traditional quilter in 1986 and started doing textile art in 2006,”she said. “I use the same techniques as I used in quilting.”

She and her husband have lived in Anna Maria city for 10 years. She sells her art online at

Debra Rigdill went from pastry to pottery. She is a retired master pastry chef, who spent 28 years at the Gainesville Golf and Country Club. After moving to Bradenton with her husband, Dexter, she worked for Publix, which sent her to the new stores from here to North Carolina to teach employees how to make pastries.

“Through the years, I have always done pottery on the side,” she explained. “When I retired, I set myself up in a studio and put my name out there and did show after show.”

Rigdill does primarily raku, but also does pot fired, horsehair and stonewear. She can be found in galleries and boutiques locally and in New York, London and Massachusetts.

Regina Gurland, a retired school lunch dietician from Long Island, N.Y., has worked in clay for 30 years.

“My husband worked in New York City and only came home on the weekends,” she recalled. “I was getting bored and took a ceramic class one night a week and I loved it.

‘There was a student show at the end of the semester, and the teacher entered one of my pieces and it took first place. Then I set myself up at home with a place to work with clay.”

After retiring to Longboat Key, Gurland bought herself a pottery wheel, but then switched to hand building. Her work can be found at Elizabeth Steven Gallery in Sarasota, and she has won numerous awards in shows locally and in North Carolina, New York and Iceland.

Robert Johnson, of Anna Maria, lived in Key West for 22 years before moving to the Island six years ago. He is a full time oil painter and runs an art gallery in Maine during the summers.

“I do a lot of wildlife, nature and marine art,” he said. “When I lived in the Keys, I spent a lot of time diving and swam with turtles and photographed them. I’m a big fan of Turtle Watch.”

His work can be found in local galleries and shops.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper