Fleisher 123

Some pictures from the one hundredth and twenty third annual student exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial. Click on each picture to see the artist and the name of the work.

Make Like a Tree

It’s wintertime and although I know it’s supposed to be cold, I wish it wasn’t so dark. It was bright and sunny last October when a friend and I took a walk in Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, enjoyed a guided tour, and learned about the trees that populate the grounds. I’ve always loved trees.

I took copious notes on my phone about all the different kinds of trees we saw. But when I got home, I discovered that my app had not saved a single word. I did manage to identify the trees I saw and if you click on each picture here, the tree name will pop up.

Now I am fully aware of of how to spell Ginkgo. But if you click on the images to see the captions, you will notice that the word Ginkgo is misspelled. I chose not to correct it. The gremlins at WordPress already lost this post once before, and I don’t want to risk losing it again by futzing around with it. After all, blogging is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby for me and not an ordeal that makes me want to tear my hair out. Let sleeping Ginkgos lie.

Bartram’s Garden is home to the oldest Ginkgo tree in the United States, planted by the Bartram brothers in 1785. Read more about it here. If you want a complete list of trees and plants at Bartram’s Garden, press here. For a video history of Bartram’s Garden, press here. If you would like to visit, which I heartily recommend, press here.

Diane and Patty at Post

January and February are the bleakest months of the year on my calendar. That’s why I’m happy to be able to reach back into the pile of pictures I took, and interviews I conducted last year, and bring a little color a bleary January. A highlight was Diane Litten and Patty Pickup’s stop on last years’ Philadelphia Open Studio Tour

I met Diane years ago and knew her primarily as an artist who fashioned sophisticated and unique earrings out of silver wire that she knitted on tiny needles. Alas, don’t have any pictures of these remarkable pieces.

I have learned since then that Diane considers herself to be primarily a fiber artist. She’s self taught, unrestrained by tradition, and influenced by whatever she finds interesting. Her work looks complex, but is deceptively simple, polished, inventive, and fun. This is no happy accident; Diane is not afraid to play with her materials to see how far she can push them. Something more of us should do. Here are some pictures.

Brooch and necklace with magnetic clasp
Display piece from a former show.

Here’s some links and info on Diane. Take a look at her Facebook page here. Follow Diane on Instagram here. Take a look at some work she did with Group Motion, here.

Patty Pickup is no stranger to my little blog. Her last appearance on the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours was with polymer artist Terri Powell (ArtSci designs.). This year, Patty was able to make it in person to Donna Kato’s Atlantic Clay Escape, and come home with some new skills and ideas. Here are some pictures of the results.

It looks like the Atlantic City Escape is going to be one of the last live polymer events we’re going to have for awhile. But a bunch of us, including Patty, are working hard to make Virtual Clayathon 2022 a reality.

Happy New Year!

Boris and his best pal Sweety the Stuffed Cat (who apparently thinks it’s someone’s birthday-he’s always ready for a celebration) wish you all a Happy New Year filled with snacks and scritches, and most of all, love. Can’t have too much of that.

Happy Holidays From My Neighborhood

Happy holidays from South Philadelphia! Things have been a bit unwieldy around the house since Boris published his little Christmas story, How the Tabby Got Its “M.” He’s walking around with his tail in the air, and expects us to wait on him hand and foot. Like we don’t do that already, right?

Thinking that I need an excuse to build my character, I have decided to sort out and organize the mishmash of files that have become more unruly with every computer upgrade. They go back more years than I’d like to count, to the days when the Internet had no pictures and some people with dial phones accessed on-line bulletin boards with gizmos from Radio Shack (not what we called it) that emulated touch tones.

But not everything new is an improvement. That’s why I love my neighborhood, especially during the holidays. Besides the abundance of Italian delicacies, the Ninth Street Market and surrounding neighborhood is packed with Asian groceries, Mexican groceries and food purveyors from all over the place. Buying from local on-the-street vendors, bakeries, butcher shops and so forth must be what food shopping was like in years past before everything got sorted and shrink wrapped. I realize that big food is likely here to stay and some of it does make its way into the market. The vendors are in business and they have to make a living. Still, I feel so lucky to have such a treasure within walking distance.

The market’s been around for a long time. Take a look at some older pictures here.

Boris Publishes a Book!


My cat Boris originally wrote this non traditional version of the first Christmas story as a guest blogger. But he wanted to turn it into a little book so human kittens could hold it, turn the pages, and look at the pictures. If you’ve ever shared your home with a cat, you know how persistent they can be.

So after much nagging from Boris, we turned the little story into a little, illustrated book. If you’d like a copy, you can order it here.

And while I have you on the phone, thanks to everyone who attended Fleisher Art Memorial’s Handmade Art Market last Saturday. I pretty much sold out.

Teapots at Fleisher Handmade Art Market

Fleisher Art Memorial’s Handmade Art Market is only a few days away. This Sat, Dec 11 I’ll be vending at HANDMADE with the rest of the Open Studio Potters. @fleisherart’s annual creative market, curated by @allcapstudio!  I was on a teapot making spree earlier this year and will be offering a few of them for sale.

Come hang out and step up your holiday shopping game with beautifully crafted goods by local artists. @snacktimephilly will be performing, @persimmoncoffee will be popping up to sell caffeinated beverages, @pecelndesousa will be selling Indonesian food crafted with love! Event runs from 11am-4pm. 

New Mugs at Fleisher Handmade Art Market

Here are pictures of a few of the mugs I’ll be offering at this years’ Handmade Art Market at Fleisher Art Memorial. If you live in Philadelphia (or are visiting) catch me and the other Open Studio potters.

See more work from the Studio Potters gang on my Instagram account here, here, and here.

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Boris’s first Thanksgiving in a vegan household so there will be no human turkey leftovers for him this year. (Don’t worry. He eats a premium vet-recommended cat food. Cats are carnivores after all.) Still, this little cat has a lot to be thankful for, as do his humans. Happy Thanksgiving to you all

NextFab North Philadelphia

I first wrote about NextFab, which offers membership-based maker spaces, when I toured a branch in South Philadelphia. They opened another branch in Philadelphia North American Street in 2020. North American Street, in the Kensington section of the city, continues to grow as an artist and maker mecca with its old factories and cheaper real estate. It’s already home to the Crane Arts Building, The Resource Exchange, ML Woodworking, and is soon to be home to The Clay Studio.

NextFab has a fiber and sewing studio

A 3D and laser printing workshop

A jewelry workshop

A wood shop

They also offer space for metal working and welding, electronics, and offer access to design software. Plus they offer business incubation services and product development assistance services. They offer different levels of membership for people who are interested in exploring what they have to offer and classes for all levels as well as basic safety instruction. To get started, read their FAQs and schedule a tour yourself.