Magic in Pittsburgh

I met Bonnie Hagyari at the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild retreat last fall and was  so impressed with her work that I took a ton of pictures  including progress pictures  as she created “Bad Hare Day.” (See the rabbit in the group picture). Here are detail photos of her finished work.  Open each image to get the full impact of her artistry and attention to detail.

 

A Bevy of Beauty at Bok

Bev Beaulieu, proprietor of  Bevy of Objects, is one the artist entrepreneurs I met  during my tour of the Bok Studios in October.

BevyofObjects

Bev graduated from  Tyler School of Art and then headed to New York City where she interned with David Yurman, worked as an apprentice goldsmith, and served stints as a jewelry designer for Alexis Bitar, and Ippolita.   After returning to Philadelphia, she designed watches and jewelry for Modern Bands, Inc. and co-founded Beech Hall with Tyler classmates Wade Keller and Danielle Kroll to design and market home goods and fashion accessories.

Then she opened Bevy of Objects where she designs and sells fine jewelry and offers CAD design service working with ethically-sourced and recycled materials.

IMG_20181014_154450

A Bevy of Objects is located on the fifth floor of the Bok building.  I noticed the great light as soon as I entered her spacious studio.   Bev wanted a studio  on the fifth floor because of the light and the huge high school windows let in plenty of it.   Like the other artists I spoke to,  she had nothing but raves for the Bok developers who  worked with her to make her studio as comfortable and as functional as possible.  The biggest restriction they imposed on her was that she could not alter the black boards which, to her, was not a problem at all.

IMG_20181014_154510IMG_20181014_154530IMG_20181014_154601

Bev lives in the same neighborhood as Bok and relishes the fact that she can walk or bike to her studio.

IMG_20181014_154614

If you are in the market for a special piece of jewelry you really should check out A Bevy of Objects.  You can shop the web site or work with Bev to make a custom design.

To find out more about Bev Beaulieu and A Bevy of Objects, check out her Instagram Feed and her Facebook page.

Philadelphia’s Fabric Row

I feel so lucky to live in a City where I am within walking distance from wonderful shopping districts with a genuine historical significance.  Of course there’s the 9th Street (Italian) MarketJeweler’s Row, and the Reading Terminal Market.   But one of my favorite areas is Fabric Row  is located on Fourth Street below South Street. Even though  I don’t sew much,  I love window shopping on this colorful street.  There’s always something to see.

 

According to the Philadelphia History Museum’s web site, Philadelphia’s bustling fabric row on South Fourth Street ran through the heart of a Jewish immigrant neighborhood. Peddlers hawked dry goods from pushcarts and sidewalk stands. Successful vendors opened family-run shops. Dressmakers, shoppers, and tailors flocked to this area of the Queen Village neighborhood to purchase fabrics and notions for their customers and families.  

There aren’t as many fabric stores on Fourth Street as there used to be. Times change.  People are not sewing as much as they used to. (Although home sewing has moved into a new phase.)  New businesses are popping up among the fabric stores  including independent fashion stores,  shops selling hand made goods and the wonderful  Kawaii Kitty Cafe.  It is still a thriving, vibrant area.

 

 

Visit Fabric Row the next time you visit Philadelphia.  In the meantime,  here are some more pictures  I took on walk down Fabric Row when the weather was much warmer!

trimsteel ponypushcartold cash registerclearance salebarrel of fabric boltsadlers

 

To learn more about Fabric Row at Hidden City Philadelphia, the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia and the Fabric Row web site.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Bowls

It’s cold in Philadelphia.  Not as cold and windy like it was in Boston when I lived there  in another life, but cold enough.  Cold enough to use the oven to bake bread and roast vegetables and fill the house with cozy smells.

Part of the fun of making cozy food or food to share with friends is serving it in dishes you made yourself.  If you made a lot of dishes, you might even persuade your friends to take home a bowl or a mug.  I made a few bowls at The Clay Studio last summer and then used them to serve lunch to some friends.

 

They got to take the tricornered  bowls home.  Maybe I’ll make some more of these next summer.

December January in Philadelphia

The Some pictures I took in December and January during Philadelphia walkabouts.

 

img_20190111_152004545_1280x720
South Broad Street Townhouse
img_20190111_152300066_1280x720
Philip’s Restaurant, South Broad Street How many funeral lunches have I attended there?
img_20190112_140316473_1280x720
Near Broad and Ellsworth
img_20190112_140350557_1280x720
Near Broad and Ellsworth. Was this a club of some kind?
img_20190112_142702650_1280x720
Cigar factory converted to condos,  12 and Washington Streets
img_20190115_142352035_1280x720
Apartment House Steps.  Lombard Street
img_20190116_160027798_1280x720
Someone took a wrong turn here, 8th and Christian Streets
img_20190105_161739238_1280x720
Roots mural on South Street East of Broad. Hidden behind a chain link fence.  For a better view, press here.
img_20190111_141845598_1280x720
Avenue of the Arts, Broad ad Washington Streets
img_20190111_142208231_1280x720
St. Rita’s Church, South Broad Street. The huge structure dwarfs the buildings near it.
img_20190111_142250046_1280x720
Beautiful South Broad Street Townhouse.
img_20190111_150646795_1280x720
I took the next 4 pictures in the vestibule of a South Broad Street townhouse. The house has not been altered inside too much except for the obligatory paneled bar in the basement.

img_20190111_150650310_1280x720

img_20190111_150706096_1280x720
The floor tiles resemble many of those in Philadelphia City Hall which were made at the Moravian Tile Works and date from the 1890’s

img_20190111_150710869_burst001_1280x720

img_20190111_151231857_1280x720
More Townhouses on South Broad Street, very well preserved and the fronts colorfully painted.
img_20181111_135934088_burst001_1280x720
FMC Tower from the South Street Bridge
img_20181123_194202213_burst000_cover_top-01_wm
The Liberty Bell one frozen night in December
img_20181202_122321004_1280x720
From the Rube Goldberg exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Philadelphia. Looks like his prediction came true. Down to the cat.
img_20181202_131103906_1280x720
I waited until the restroom was empty before taking this picture in the Jewish Museum. Why? I hate answering stupid questions.
img_20181217_155054498_1280x720
Ghost Bike Memorial, 11th and Spruce Streets. Emily Fredricks was killed on her bike when a trash truck crossed the bike lane without looking. I hope there will be less of a need for these memorials in the future.
img_20181221_214334856_1280x720
Looking North from Clymer Street roof deck.
img_20181225_171113295_1280x720
Christmas Day view from the South Street Bridge.
img_20190103_130643756_1280x720
South Philadelphia yarn bomb.
img_20190105_160531873_1280x720
Violin Maker 17th and Pine Street

img_20190105_160541341_burst001_1280x720

 

Elise

I wanted to write a more comprehensive post on Elise Winters who died earlier this year, but I find myself too sad to write much of anything.  So let me say that if I remember Elise for anything, it is not for her artistic ability, and her innovative spirit (which would have been more than enough).  And not for her advocating for the acceptance of polymer as a serious art medium. Not only did Elise start the Polymer Art Archive Blog,  she persuaded the Racine Art Museum to establish a permanent polymer collection.   This was a huge accomplishment.  Finding a museum to take a collection is a more difficult and expensive proposition than most people realize.  But this is not why I will remember her.

The pictures that follow are from a trip Elise made to Philadelphia in 2005 to give the Philadelphia Guild a slide show on her development as an artist.  She showed us some of her first attempts at making art that were far less accomplished than the work she was known for.  She told us that most artists have day jobs, or a parent or spouse with a credit card.  She told us not to be discouraged and to keep on making art.

I will remember Elise for her great generosity of spirit.  And that will keep on living long after everything made of clay crumbles.

winters11winters12winters13winters141.jpg

Update:  I received a more complete obituary from Bruce W. Pepich,  Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Racine Art Museum.  To read it, press here.  The Museum also supplied two images of Elise’s work.

winters red ruffle cascade neckpiece

Red Ruffle Cascade Neckpiece, 2009 Polymer and acrylic paint 9 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 3 5/8 inches. Racine Art Museum, Gift of Elise Winters and Sherwood Rudin

winters woodland ruffle cuff

Woodland Ruffle Cuff, 2008 Polymer and acrylic paint 3 x 4 x 4 1/8 inches. Racine Art Museum, Gift of Elise Winters and Sherwood Rudin

 

Photo credit: Penina Meisels

 

Ann Roantree, Designer and Weaver

I met Ann Roantree when I toured the Bok Building back in October. One of the first things Ann told me  about herself was that her father was a master quilter. This certainly must have inspired her love of textiles.  She showed me a lovely black and white modernist quilt her father made toward the end of his life.  She keeps it in her studio as a memento.

1

With a background in art and graphic design, Ann started weaving about 15 years ago when  she took a class and was hooked immediately.  But textiles were already in her blood;  her father and  grandfather were versed in needle arts and made everything for the family.   Ann learned how to knit and sew early on.

6

Today,  she designs and weaves one-of-a-kind and limited edition rugs, runners, wall hangings, and textiles. Ann has exhibited at the Philadelphia Craft Show and area galleries.   Her spacious and airy studio  holds three looms crafted of hardwood maple, supplies, and a showroom area with examples of her work.    Like so many of the artists I met  during my visit to Bok,  Ann jumped at the chance to rent a Bok studio because of Bok’s amenities and management, and because Bok is walking distance from her house.  I loved wandering around her colorful studio,  Enjoy the pictures.

234578

To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website, www.roantreeweaves.com,  and follow her on Instagram.

Happy New Year!

 

This is the best old Mummers video I have seen to date.  It’s from 1930 but it looks contemporary.

From the website:  Old film of a New Years Day Parade in Philadelphia, USA on January 1, 1930. This is raw footage from the early Movietone sound cameras. This footage is particularly neat because most parades of the time were captured from a far distance. Worked on footage and sound a bit. Amazing!”   

I agree!

 

And do check out Guy Jones’ channel on YouTube for more incredible videos.

For more Mummers posts from this site, press here.

 

How the Tabby got its “M” by Boris Killmousky Baskin, Orange Tomcat and a Tabby in his own right.

 

This week’s post is by a guest blogger,  my cat Boris.   He invites you to share it with any human kittens you might know.  And if the idea of a feline guest blogger is strange or offensive to you, I invite you to suspend your disbelief in the spirit of the season.  

My name is Boris and I want to share an old, old story with you.   I am a cat of the breed orange tabby house cat. BoriswithanM

All tabbies have stripes, but not all striped cats are tabbies.    We tabbies have one distinguishing feature which is found on tabbies the world over.  We have the letter “M” on our foreheads.  See the “M” on my forehead?

The story of how tabbies came to wear the “M” has been the subject of human debate down through the years.  But cats have known the reason all along and have passed the story down to each succeeding generation so that all cats would know of our connection to the man “who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.”

Once upon a time, a long time ago, Mary and Joseph fell in love and got married. And guess what happened?  They had a baby-a little boy and they named Jesus.  The family lived in the little village of Nazareth where Joseph worked as a carpenter.

(I must warn you here that the in the cat’s version of this story, Baby Jesus was born before his family got to Bethlehem.  There was still a Christmas Miracle at Bethlehem, but things happened a little differently in the cat’s version of the story. But I trust the cat’s story way more than the human version.)

3marycouldnot comfort

The truth is that little Jesus was a fussy baby.  He was no angel, or at least that’s what his father Joseph said. Now, Joseph and Mary loved their little fellow very much despite the fact that Jesus cried all the time.  He started crying from the moment he woke up and he cried himself to sleep every night. Mary and Joseph tried to comfort their little boy, but it was not to be.  There was simply no escaping it.    Little Jesus was a fussy baby!

1FussyJesus

“I’m sure he’ll outgrow it,” Mary tried to reassure Joseph.   But deep inside she was not so sure.  “It’s probably going to take a miracle,” she told herself.  “We need a miracle,” she said aloud to nobody in particular.

Baby Jesus heard her and stopped crying for a bit before resuming the wailing that had become the background to the lives of Joseph, Mary, and their immediate neighbors in the town of Nazareth. Now you might be thinking a Christmas Miracle. Maybe. Keep on reading!

One afternoon, during a rare moment of quiet (Jesus had finally fallen asleep for his afternoon nap) Joseph received a letter.

“Oy vey iz mir,” he exclaimed plopping down onto a chair clutching the letter in one hand and rubbing his eyes with the other, “Oy gevalt!”

“What’s that,” Mary asked, “a letter from your mother?”

“Worse,” Joseph replied, “it’s a decree from Caesar Augustus.”

“Caesar!   What does he want with us?”

“We have to register for a census,” Joseph informed her.  He handed the letter to Mary so she could read it for herself.

“They expect us to drop everything and go to Bethlehem?” she cried, “Why Bethlehem of all places, that must be 80 miles from here!  Don’t they have any place closer?” Baby Jesus started to stir.

“Honey,” Joseph explained patiently (although in truth he was a little exasperated) “you knew I was descended from the house and family of David when you married me.  Bethlehem is my hometown.  We’ll leave in the morning. The donkey passed inspection last week so we’re in good shape for a long road trip.

Mary sat down and reread the letter

“Bethlehem!”

Baby Jesus woke up and resumed his relentless crying.   Mary stroked his cheek with affection. “Sweet Jesus,” she said to him, “you don’t know the half of it.” 2BabyJesuscriedall the wa(2)

If you were to ask Mary about the trip later, she would tell you that it was no picnic to travel 80 miles on the back of a donkey with a fussy child and a husband who is more interested in making good time than his wife’s personal comfort.   But I digress.

 

 

shepards2

 

The family passed fields of shepherds watching their flocks by night.  They waved to Joseph and Mary as they went by.  Baby Jesus cried all the way to Bethlehem.

 

 

 

Therewasno roomat the inn

Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. The tired donkey plodded to the motel where Joseph had made reservations. Mary Jesus and the donkey waited outside while Joseph went to check them in.  Joseph came out frowning. “They lost our reservations,” he told Mary

“Lost our reservations!” Mary exclaimed, “what do we do now?”

 

“There’s a stable out back”, Joseph replied, “the clerk said we can stay there.”

Stable

 

Mary wasn’t happy with the situation, but at least Jesus’s crying would not disturb the other guests.

 

The stable wasn’t empty; however, it was home to several animals including a confused cow, a curious sheep, and a big old orange Tomcat.

 

.

 

StJoseph.jpg

There weren’t any beds in the stable for them to sleep in.  Joseph was so tired that he curled up on the floor and fell asleep immediately.

Crabbybabyjesus2

Mary could not sleep because Baby Jesus started crying. He was crying because he was tired and he was cold and hungry.   Mary fed him and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and put him in the manger which was lined with straw and just the size for a little baby to sleep in.

swaddling

But Baby Jesus just cried and howled.  The curious sheep and confused cow moved to the back of the stable to escape the noise.  The old Tomcat looked down on the scene from his perch high in the stable rafters and wondered what he could do to help.CatLooksDown

Many humans think that cats are aloof and uncaring, but this is not true.    Cats can be very loving and tender to humans who bother to understand them and listen to what they are saying.  And this brings me to the first Christmas miracle.  The old Tomcat wanted to help so badly that he began to talk!

“Hey lady,” the Tomcat meowed.  Mary looked around. “Who’s that?” she wondered.  “Up here, lady, I’m up here!” Mary looked up and saw the old Tomcat.   She had never heard a cat talk before and was a little apprehensive.

“Hey lady,” the Tomcat meowed, “I have comforted countless litters of crying kittens in my day.  Do you want me to help your little boy get to sleep?”

“Mr Cat,” Mary replied, “with all due respect, I must be at my wits end to be answering you-I have never met a talking cat before.  I would be so grateful if you could help my little boy get to sleep.  It has been a long journey. Do you know a lullaby?”

“Not a human lullaby,” the Tomcat answered, “but I know a cat lullaby that has never failed to comfort a fussy kitten.  Let me try to sing it to your kitten.”

catcamedowntherafters

The old Tomcat roused himself from his perch in the rafters and made his way down to the manger. When he reached the manger, the old Tomcat flexed his strong back legs and leapt inside.  IMG_5887“Mama,” Jesus cried, startled.  Mary jumped and almost shooed the cat out of the stable.  And it’s a good thing she didn’t because then, something magical happened!

 

 

The old Tomcat started to purr.  And he purred.  And he purred. Baby Jesus stopped crying and tried to grab the old cat by the ears.  “Kitty!” he gurgled, delighted. BabyJesusStoppedCrying.jpgThe old Tomcat laid down next to Jesus and continued to purr.     Baby Jesus cooed and nuzzled against the old Tomcat whose low, deep purrs felt soft and warm and comforting to the little baby in the manger in a strange city so far from home.  And Jesus and the Tomcat fell asleep. Mary continued to watch them until she fell asleep, too.BabyJeseswas asleepatlast

Mary woke up a few hours later to check on Jesus.  She looked into the manger and saw the old Tomcat curled up next to Jesus with his big paws wrapped around him.  Baby and cat were fast asleep.

catandbaby2

When Baby Jesus woke up the next morning he laughed and smiled instead of his usual fussing and crying.  Mary and Joseph were delighted.  “This is the miracle I was praying for,” Mary exclaimed, “Thank you, thank you, Mr Cat!”

Now, you might expect that a talking cat would say, “You’re welcome.”  But that old Tomcat never said another word.

Mary was so thankful that she took the old Tomcat in her arms and kissed him on his forehead.  (The old Tomcat didn’t really like being picked up and he usually scratched anyone who tried, but he made an exception for Mary.)   And there on the old cat’s forehead, she left an “M” for Mary.  Mary was so grateful that to this day every tabby forehead is marked with an “M.”   See?

And there you have the story of the first Christmas from a cat’s point of view.  Not many humans know the real story, but we cats have kept the story alive for all these years. Share it with all your human kitten friends.

Have a Happy Christmas.  I hope you get lots of snacks and toys to play with and have a Christmas miracle all your own.

Love, Boris

Boris.jpg

 

 

 

Back to Beading

wp-15446623145427652803132265183946.jpg

I’ve spent more time sitting lately which gives me the excuse I’ve been looking for to crack open the Delicas and tackle geometric seed beading for the first time.  A year of ignoring pain will give you a nasty case of tendonitis.   And while I may never run another marathon,  I never ran one before I donned the knee brace and that’s something.

 

 


My friend Ellen gave me a copy of Jean Power’s Geometric Beadwork, Volume 2.  I had already salivated over Beading Yoda’s geometric beadwork interpretations and was ready to try some of my own.  I bought the last copy of Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Vol.1 at Blue Santa Beads I had already watched most of the videos from Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork channel on YouTube, but reading the book helped make them crystal clear.

 

 

This small pagoda bracelet was fun to make.   I like the idea of adding bead increases to a simple peyote stitch and watching the beads take on a sculptural shape.

wp-15446623159842852804795605134682.jpg

The zigzag motif is a bit more challenging if only because of the sizing issue.   How many beads to string to make a bracelet to fit your wrist?

 

 

McKinnon suggests that if you make something the wrong size, you can try tailoring it into a new design which is what I did here.

But Jean Power solved the sizing problem for me with the suggestions she gives in  Volume 1 of her book which arrived at my door a few days ago.    Here’s what I’m working on now:wp-15446623155023578396489338834750.jpgwp-15446623137027786546207895851293.jpg

I love McKinnon’s books AND Power’s books.  You need all of them because if McKinnon does not answer a question, Power will and vice versa.  And there is plenty of free information on YouTube and the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Blog.

And I made myself two bead-on-it boards!  I looked all over for instructions.  There is a tutorial on YouTube that uses hot glue.  I tried it and could not for the life of me make a board that did not look like a piece of, well you know what.  Lumpy and sloppy.  Who wants to bead on something like that?  Then I found the video I link to below.  I resisted watching it at first because it is more than two hours long.  But it’s so long because the makers show the assembly of one of their boards from beginning to end-every nail driven and every staple stapled (including the ones they pull out and do over).  But you can fast forward through all of that and learn how to make yourself a nice beading surface.