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Bemidji artist showcases work at Art in the Park

Melissa Paul looks at one of the mosaic lazy susans featured in the Tumbled Glass Studio tent at Art in the Park Saturday. Kayla Prasek | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - As vendors from all over the United States peddled their pottery, jewelry, photographs and paintings, Virgene Tyrrell sat in her tent enjoying the breeze off Lake Bemidji as passersby checked out her mosaics.

Art in the Park, now in its 45th year, started Saturday and will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in Library Park.

Tyrrell runs Tumbled Glass Studio and is showing her mosaics for the first time at Art in the Park.

"I've shopped here for several years," Tyrrell said. "It's a terrific art show."

This is Tyrrell's second art show since moving to Bemidji with her husband Chuck three years ago. She participated in the 2011 First City of Arts Studio Cruise, which she plans to participate in again this year, she said.

"When we moved here, I hoped to be part of the art community," Tyrrell said. "Bemidji has such a wonderful art community. It's impressive."

Tyrrell and her husband Chuck took a class in stained glass 12 years ago, and while Chuck continues to work with stained glass, Tyrrell wondered what would happen if she worked with the leftover broken glass.

"I tumbled it in a rock tumbler to make it softer and realized I could make mosaics," Tyrrell said. "From there it just kind of expanded and became my passion."

Her inspiration comes from both nature and geometric designs, Tyrrell said.

"There are a lot of turtles in my designs," she said.

Following their retirement from more than 30 years of teaching blind children in Kansas, the Tyrrells moved to Bemidji.

"We retired up here three years ago and built our dream studio on Turtle Lake," Virgene Tyrrell said.

While Tyrrell is a new exhibitor to Art in the Park, Saturday's weather brought out first time shoppers like Melissa Paul, who was browsing Tyrrell's mosaic tables, trays, mirrors and lazy susans.

"It's a beautiful day," Paul, of Park Rapids, said. "We decided to come and do something different today."

While entrance to Art in the Park is free, the Bemidji Community Arts Center, which hosts the event, has freewill offering boxes set up at both ends of Library Park.