July 24, 2002 – The artistry of two St. John residents — hand-crafted woodturning objects by Avelino Samuel and paintings and other works in a variety of mediums by Traci Kegerreis — will be showcased at Friday's Da Da Wine Down at Cafe Amici in Riise's Alley.
For this month's last-Friday get together, the focus of the customary tasting and seminar will be on the wines of Kendall Jackson.
The public is invited to stop by the restaurant in Riise's Alley between 5 and 8 p.m. to socialize and enjoy the artwork, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. There is a $10 fee for the optional wine tasting with commentary provided throughout the evening by a representative of Bellows International, local distributor for Kendall Jackson wines.
Door prizes of art, wine and dining certificates will be awarded toward the end of the evening.
Avelino Samuel, born on St. John's East End, learned woodworking at his father's side as they made toys and games they found pictured in craft books. His first instruction in woodturning came at North Carolina Agricultual and Technical State University, where creating a candy bowl sparked his passion. After he received his B.S.degree there, he earned his master's in industrial arts, then returned to the Virgin Islands to teach in that field, something he has been doing for two decades.
His work ranges from traditional furniture such as four-poster beds and curio cabinets to decorative and functional items ranging such as candle holders and rolling pins. He has received first place awards at Arts Alive and St. John Festival fairs and participated in the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklife's re-staging held on St. Croix in 1991 and the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute's 1996 folklife festival, Reaching Out to Our Neighbors.
Samuel is a member of the American Association of Woodturners and recently was awarded a grant to attend the association's annual symposium. His work most recently was displayed at the Turning in Local Woods 2000 exhibitions held at the Cultural Heritage Institute on St. Thomas and at the St. John School of the Arts.
Traci Kegerreis says an openness to experience and to experimenting in new mediums is reflected in the spontaneity of her art. Working in pastel, watercolor, acrylic, handpainted glass, furniture and block printing, she strives to discover new qualities about herself while expressing her creativity.
A fine art graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland with a concentration in photography, she says her experience in and love of that medium provides her perspective in composing her paintings. Her artwork is a reflection of her mood, she says, and each medium brings with it a unique style.
Kegerreis came to St. John in 1993 for a short break after graduating from college — and stayed. She met her husband of six years on the island and their 3-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, was born on St. Thomas. Seeing the Caribbean through Mackenzie's eyes has created added depth to her art, Kegerreis believes.
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