Floor to Ceiling Art Offered at La Fille Gallery
La Fille Gallery has only been open since June, but already Klein, who owns the gallery, is busy throughout the area with her unique blend of artistic interpretation and artisanal skill, creating beautiful living and work spaces for residential and commercial clients.
“This year has been huge. We’ve been so busy,” she said.
Since Klein is so often out of the gallery, working her magic at homes and businesses, the gallery is open only on weekends, Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. As spring approaches, she hopes to have the gallery open for more hours, and, in the meantime, she or one of her staff is available by appointment. They are also open during downtown special events like Silver Bells.
Klein’s enthusiasm for all the many facets and features of her current business is infectious. She clearly loves what she does. Her earliest memories are of creating art, a passion she has followed throughout her life. Studying with skilled artisans in this country and aboard, particularly in Italy, and taking those abilities to the next level has given her an unusual panoply of skills. She describes herself as a combination of an artist and a chemist, constantly experimenting, adapting and evolving both her techniques and her artistry.
La Fille is a showcase for her finishing techniques. As customers browse through its rooms, they will see that each wall, floor and ceiling features a different approach to decorative finishes. Each is unique and beautiful; the only problem is choosing which one to use.
She says, “I learned from true craftspeople, and then I took those techniques further by constantly experimenting with what I learned. I’ve always liked to change things up and create new versions of old ideas.”
Klein has lived and worked in many areas of the country and the world. Most recently, she worked out of a small studio in Old Town and before that in her home in Westphalia. However, she came to realize that if she wanted to work with clients in the area without doing so much traveling, have the kind of space she needed and be in an area with more exposure, she’d have to move. Debating between opening a shop in Grand Rapids or in Lansing, she opted for Lansing and began looking for a new space.
Ultimately, she found the building on Michigan Avenue, which was built in 1910 as a lumber supply business. Most recently, it was known as the Mill Supply Building.
It was a gamble. A huge building, it needed extensive renovations if it was to serve as Klein’s studio and gallery. She says, “I just didn’t know if I was making the best decision. I went back and forth on whether it was the right thing to do. Finally, I said to myself, ‘I need a sign telling me what to do.’ I lifted up the lid of an old toilet upstairs and staring back at me was a painting of a wise old owl. That did it; I told myself, ‘I’m going to do this.'” Now Klein has owls throughout the space, paying silent tribute to the owl that inspired her decision.
With 10,000 square feet and three floors to restore, renovate and reimagine, it may have been a labor of love, but a labor no less. Friends, relatives and co-workers worked from November till June to create what has become La Fille Gallery.
Currently, the gallery employs seven on a regular basis, a number that can swell to as many as 27 depending on the number and complexity of projects.
One of Klein’s specialties is working with carved concrete, with which she can recreate an array of different finishes. In a home she is currently reinventing, doors which were originally inexpensive, hollow core and factory-made now look like heavy, wooden doors that one might see in a much more regal setting than a suburban home. The “iron” hinges are ornate and impressive. And they’re made with concrete, as are the heavy “wooden” beams throughout the room. Even the ceiling, which looks like a finely etched metal ceiling is concrete. Are the floors marble? Actually, no. And the walls aren’t expensive textured wall paper either. The whole room is luxurious, comfortable and yet imposing, all perfected by Klein’s artistic eye and technical expertise.
In this case, Klein was given carte blanche and supplied furniture, cabinets, carpet … everything. She has suppliers with whom she works that she trusts for their excellence. Other items, like furniture and lamps, she sells in her gallery.
Klein is able to work on smaller projects but loves to set her imagination free on larger areas. The artwork she displays in her gallery is for sale, and she also does art on a commission basis. Basically, she can completely transform a space from floor to ceiling and everything in between.
“I like to get to know the person I’m working for, see what they wear, see what they like, find out who they are. Then I can make something just for that individual or family that will really suit them.”
Klein is also available to work in commercial environments.
Recently, Robb & Stucky International, Florida’s largest interior design studio and furniture gallery, chose Klein as their featured artist for their new 60,000-square-foot design center and art gallery in Naples, Fla. The new design center, which will premier in March 2013, will offer the largest selection of original Tiffany Klein art in Florida.
Whether in Florida or locally at La Fille or the Lansing Airport where one of Klein’s signature concrete pieces — weighing 600 pounds — is displayed, it’s best to see Klein’s artwork in person. Some pieces, however, can also be viewed on the La Fille website.
Something new, something different, something no one else has, something just for you …. Klein can make it happen.
La Fille Gallery
336 E. Michigan Ave.
Phone: (517) 526-7150
Author by Jane Whittington | Photo by Thomas Shaver