A Post on POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours)

One of the best times you can have that’s legal and for all ages (except maybe the very young who tend to run, grab things and knock stuff over) is visiting working studios of Philadelphia Artists during the two weekends of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Most artists love to talk about their work and the Open Studio Tour is a great way for them to reach out to the public.


This year I went with some friends to visit the artists in the studios at the 915 Spring Garden Street Building.  It’s an old factory with light filled spaces,  old beaten down wooden floors and an old industrial cage elevator that is very steampunk.


Janell Wysock‘s fiber art hangs in the hall.


imageA peek into Janell Wysock’s studio



Emily Squires Levine   (foreground, polymer vases) was showing in ceramic artist Peter Cunicelli’s studio (see his work in the background.)



Jorge Caligiuri‘s work is worth a trip to his studio.  He traveled to Italy to study the art of fresco making and is one of the few artists in the US currently using this technique in his work.



imageRachel Constantine



imageRobert Sampson




imageRobert McNellis


I didn’t try to take pictures of the artwork because most of these artists have web sites which display it much better than I could.   Press here for a directory of artists in the building.    And be sure to check out the web sites of Susan O’Reilly and Nari Kim, two artists whose work I especially enjoyed.

Going Bananas in South Philadelphia

I wrote about my neighbor Bob’s urban garden last summer when the growing season was at its height and the plants were multiplying like crazy.  Now, however, it is autumn and  the frost is almost on the pumpkin metaphorically speaking.


The flowers in Bob’s garden are winding down the show.




Not as colorful as it was last July?


And yet,  there are bananas growing on a tree outside my South Philadelphia home.  Who would have imagined such a thing? And in late October!

Dyed in the Wool

In my never ending quest for thrifty crafting, I decided to buy some white Ice Wool yarn from a knitter who was thinning down her stash.   Why white?  So I can dye it any color I want.  Now I admit that I will not be able to match a yarn dye lot exactly, but if I want to make something of a certain color, all I have to do is color the yarn.  I’d already been doing this with white roving for felting.

1 Before Yarn and bowl water and vinegar

I remember my mother dying things in the washing machine with RIT dye.  And I have seen my fiber friends work magic in vats with purchased professional dyes or even dyes that they have made themselves.

2 Soaking

It’s a lot easier to dye yarn in a microwave oven, especially if you’re doing small amounts like I am here.  I tied the skein in the picture above so it would not get tangled and I soaked it for about a half hour to 45 minutes in warm water so it would be more absorbent.  I added about a tablespoon of citric acid to the water.  You can also use vinegar.  This softens the yarn and  will help the dye set when you add it.

3 Food Colors

Wilton’s food color makes a great dye for natural fabrics like wool.  You can also use Kool Aid but you won’t have the range of colors.

4 Add dye

I like to add dye with a wooden chopstick.   A little goes a long way.   Another method is to mix the dye with water in a separate container and add it to the big container.   This will give you a more uniform dye job.  Remember to wear plastic gloves if you don’t want to dye your hands as well and be sure to cover anything that the dye would stain.  Which is pretty much everything.  I’ve used a clear Pyrex bowl to hold my project, and that’s what I recommend to you.

5 In microwave

Microwave on high for 8 minutes at a time and then remove from the oven.  You can add more dye at this stage.  And be careful because the bowl will be hot!  Use oven mitts.  You don’t need to cover the dye bath.

6 After first heat

I went for a hand painted kind of look

7 All color absorbed from Water

Let the wool sit for about 15 minutes.  Keep repeating this process until the water is clear.  Let the dye bath cool and squeeze (don’t rub or wring- you don’t want felt) the water out of the yarn and hang up to dry.

8 Dyed Wool

The finished product.

October in North Carolina


I’m a city girl but there’s something about the feel of grass under my feet that takes me back to some happy days from my childhood: Running through the woods, catching frogs and letting them go and watching the fireflies at night.


Sometimes the landscape is so surreal it looks like a painting


White Socks knows where all the good bugs like to hide



Gracie forages for food.



I like to lie on my back and watch the sky through the trees


Until the sun falls from the sky

What’s Going On in My Workshop

Click on the picture below  for a panoramic view of my workshop. IMG_8878

I’ve had the kiln going with more glass fusing and casting   adventures.  image I made these pieces from frit that I cast  in molds

image These pieces are made from cracked and broken beads

image Here are some more.   Can’t wait to bezel these with beads or metal.  Speaking of metal, look at this. IMG_8880

Door hardware.  I had thought the two pieces on the left were copper or brass but after cleaning them, I think they might be tin.   They offer some possibilities for found object focal pieces

Here’s one that I’ve sawed in two.    IMG_8881


I’m getting ready to anneal a batch of beadsimage in the kiln image and then make something from them.

 Last but certainly not least

IMG_8879Cleaning up!