Soaking up the Positive Vibes

Hunting & Gathering


Valerie Bernhard had suffered a rare complication during her pregnancy called HELLP Syndrome, when her little guy, Arthur Guy arrived to the world early at 35 weeks—she had to be treated in ICU and then transported to a hospital that could potentially prepare her for a liver transplant. Slowly, Valerie physically healed, and her and her husband Karl vowed from then on to live a more mindful, present lifestyle. “Karl played ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young on the car ride home from the hospital and I will never, ever forget it,” she says. “I had a very hard time understanding what had happened, why I got so sick at such a beautiful time in life, but most of all, I felt so cheated that I couldn’t be the one to bring Arthur home and missed the first two weeks of his life.” Craved for a more creative and brighter outlet, the Bernhards packed up a U-Haul in New Orleans and moved to the beaches of Sarasota—honoring their vow as a family to fully enjoy every moment life has to offer. Valerie now spends her sunny days on the Gulf as a graphic designer, screen printing mindul messages on Turkish textiles for her tasteful brand for the tropics, Art Guy Workshop.

“Quality and authenticity led my search to a family-owned company with more than 40 years of experience in the textile industry.”  Her Turkish towels, also known as peshtemals, are imported from Denizli, Turkey—the granddaddy of towels—versatile enough to provide an ultra-soft pat down after the shower with the option to also use as a yoga mat topper, spa swathe, comfy blanket for the beach or trendy spread at a park picnic. Handmade of 100% cotton to be super absorbent and dry quickly, they’re also extremely light weight and fold (or roll) down nicely to take with you wherever you go. Art Guy’s bestsellers include the Low Key towel in either red, aqua, gray or black, sporting the simple mantra, ‘HERE IS GOOD’. For some added company and potential napping, the Siesta double size towel is basically the california king of towels, stamped with the gentle reminder, ‘YOU ARE HERE’. And if you just need to create some space for your bum for a little meditation outdoors, the round circle Lido towel comes in nautical stripes of navy/beige or turquoise/charcoal. Beyond the luxe linens, covet beachy and functional hobo bags, coconut sarong buckles, kids’ ponchos with fun little hoods and swaddles for babies/toddlers.

“I used art to heal and grow as a parent, wife and friend. Art Guy helps me every single day to remember how fortunate we are to have this moment and this day,” Valerie notes. Her journey to recovery and discovery has become her contribution to remind those around her to “live in the present when you can.” Because really, in the grand scheme—it’s 'ALL GOOD'.

Keep a look out for Art Guy Workshop hitting the streets at upcoming markets in Sarasota, St. Pete and Tampa soon, with plans for national yoga festivals in the future. But for now, fill your cart with positive peshtemals to go with the flow from its artful online boutique.

Photos courtesy of Art Guy Workshop.

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