Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TIE-DYE TO DIE FOR: From the Tye-Die Queen -- and sculptor Lawrence L'Hote

One of Columbia's best-known artists transforms his best-known creations at the Catacombs
 
COLUMBIA, 12/20/11  (Beat Byte) --  Brenda Starr, Homer Simpson.  Arthur Miller, Frida Kahlo.  Hillary Clinton and Judy Garland.  Like many Columbians, I first saw the sculptor Lawrence L'Hote's work enlivening the walls of Lakota Coffee, marveled at the fine-point accuracy of his metallic caricatures, and heard dozens of other people say they wanted Arthur or Norman Mailer or L'Hote's many fabulous takes on the form of the female face adorning their walls at home.

Now, L'Hote fans can liven up their casual wardrobes with his eye-catching artwork on a $12 tie-dye shirt.  A fashion and artistic statement all in one in the Catacombs along with his famous metal sculptures, each shirt is so distinctive the minute you see one, you say "that's a L'Hote.  That's what I saw at Lakota."
 
The tie-dye king of the catacombs, however, is TieDye Queen Karen -- my hostess on the tour -- so well known that people dismiss with her real name altogether.  "Oh, you mean TieDye Queen?  She's great!" several people said to me, as I related my Catacombs Christmas story. 
 
Karen's fave tie dye pieces at her own shop are nearly sold out.  She calls them flock dresses with a handkerchief hem.  They fit everyone, she told me, run $45 a piece, and she can't keep them on the hangers.  Like so many items I viewed, they sell like proverbial hotcakes.   She also welcomes custom orders, proving that tie dye isn't just for T's.
 

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