Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Over the winter break, I have been teaching Urban Sketching workshops at Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando, FL). The classroom is located in a strip mall on the corner of Conroy Windermere Road and Apopka Vineland Road above a pizza shop. I have four students to start and my main objective is to get them out of the studio to sketch on location every day. Trish Eakin the owner of Treat House Cafe and frozen yogurt shoppe (8935 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando FL.) gave us a warm welcome and invited us to sketch in her shoppe which was right downstairs. She has a table set up in front where children can work on crafts projects. Trish explained, "My dream when I built Treat House was that it would be a warm comfortable place for students and artists to relax, study and create."
The shoppe opened on Valentines Day in 2014, so it is a little less than a year old. Trish used to operate three locations of TCBY as a franchise. One of those yogurt shops was right in Universal Studios. She had a staff of up to 13 people at the time to keep the shops operating. Unfortunately the shops couldn't stay open since they couldn't sell enough yogurt. She decided to create her own yogurt shop using her creativity and experience to come up with something new. She decorated the shoppe herself making it feel like a seaside rustic retreat. She put in the weathered woodwork and picked out furniture from antiques shops. Every choice reflects her personal rustic aesthetic.
Trish's Treat House is right across the street from the Chain of Lakes Middle School. When the school has it's big pride day, she had the schools band perform on the back patio of her shoppe and 15% of all yogurt sales went to school programs. Her cozy shop allows her to feel much closer to her local community. I hope to return to sketch the next Pride Celebration.
When my class arrived, there was a family at the table and scissors and cut paper on the table made it clear that snow flakes had been created recently. Dozens of snowflakes were suspended from the ceiling. My student Ali took to sketching the shoppe with gusto. Steve, an Elite instructor sketched the vintage Coke machine giving it a forced perspective to make it look immense and ominous. On the first day we only focused on the line sketch and then on the second day, we used color on the same sketch. Trish worked behind the counter, likely crunching end of the year numbers. She later had to work on one of the yogurt machines, taking it apart and replacing what looked like the mixing blades. Since she is the only person in the shoppe, she has to be a Jack of all trades. Support local entrepreneurs, operating a small local shop is a challenge when huge chains undercut prices.
When our sketches were done, Trish took pictures of us all holding our work.