Artsy Sciency in Arlington


HANDMADE ARLINGTON is a juried arts and crafts show in Arlington Virginia that raises funds for the Swanson Middle School PTA.  This year, more than 45 artists and crafters have been invited to sell their hand made creations to a buying public that keeps growing year after year.


This year, I am proud to say that my  clay colleague and and travel partner to such exotic locales as Damascus (Maryland) the Las Vegas Strip and Puerto Vallarta will be among the artisans and vendors at Handmade Arlington. Encouraged by her friend and mentor, silversmith  Jules Jernigan  Terri will be showing her polymer clay creations which include functional and decorative objects.


Terri’s bracelets are some of her most popular items.  To make them, she layers different colors of polymer into brass forms, bakes, and then carves through the layers.  They are all  unique and one of a kind.  They look great worn stacked together!



Terri spends a lot of time in her day job looking through microscopes at breathtaking miniature vistas and crystal formations that most of us will never get to see.  These influences carry over into a lot of her work which is why it is so different and distinctive.



Besides Terri’s work, you will find potters, fiber and wood artists, jewelers and other crafters at Handmade Arlington.  It’s just one day, April 2.  If you want to go, check out their facebook page for more information.





Friendship in South Philly

I recently taught a class on making friendship bracelets at the East Passyunk Community Recreation Center on the corner of 11th and Mifflin Streets in South Philadelphia.  The building that houses the recreation center site has occupied the site for more than 25 years, but when the City  did not renew the lease with its long-term tenant, the East Passyunk community came together to make the center more accessible to the community and to offer more varied programs and activities.  Read more about this transition here.


Friendship bracelets are one type of handmade friendship token that people have been exchanging since time immemorial. (I first learned to make friendship bracelets in summer camp. But I was not a camper I was a counselor and the kids taught me!)




I thought that sitting around a table and learning how to make bracelets would be a good way for people to get to know one another.  And I think I was right.


The East Passyunk Community Recreation Center is committed to involving the community in its activities and in offering them a space to come together. Friendship bracelet workshops are only one way to do this. To see what else the CRC has to offer, go to their Facebook page.

A Visit to the Masonic Temple

I’ve wanted to tour the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia for quite some time.  Even though there have been Masons in my and my husband’s family and  I used to work in City Hall which is right across the street, I never made the trip.

Then I joined the Cityscape Tours Philadelphia Meetup group that Steve Rosenbach organized a year ago.  When an email popped up in my account announcing an “Almost Free” tour of the Temple I signed up and I’m glad I did.

I arrived at the Temple a few minutes early and Steve was there with a list of names and a hearty welcome.  He was very well organized.  As more people arrived, it became evident that some had attended prior tours Steve had organized and that others were newbies like me.  But everyone was very friendly and the fact that we all had cameras seemed to unite us somehow.  I always feel self conscious when I take pictures in public (you’d never know this I suppose because I take pictures constantly wherever I go if it is legal and does not violate privacy,  propriety or rules of etiquette.)

By way of background, the Masonic Temple was constructed between 1868 and 1873 in the Romanesque style of architecture developed by the Normans in the Middle Ages. The interior took another 15 years to complete and included  It is on the list of National Landmarks.

There are seven lodge halls in the Temple and our group got to see four of them: Ionic Hall, Norman Hall, Egyptian Hall and Gothic Hall.  We also saw the Grand Staircase,  some fascinating artifacts in the attached museum, and some very old portraits of prominent Masons including George Washington. I took a lot of pictures but most of them did not turn out so well.  No matter; it was a fun and interesting time and good company.  To learn more about Freemasonry, press here.

Here are some pictures

Grand Staircase

Entrance leading to Grand Staircase

Outside Entrance

Ionic Hall
Ionic Hall

Gothic Hall

Dedication Cornerstone
Grand Staircase

I just found this interesting image cica 1840 of the site where the Masonic Temple now stands. Part of the Arch Street Church, which was later enlarged and is still standing, is visible.




Phillly Art and Makers News 2016!



DM+D shut down at the end of November after nearly three years in operation. Read more about the demise of DM+D here.

Of the four partner organizations that used the space at 3711 Market Street in Philadelphi, three of them—Public Workshop, the Hacktory and NextFab moved to separate locations.

The  Public Workshop has moved to 4017 Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia.   You can stay up to date on what they are doing by following them on Facebook.  4017 Lancaster is home to a number of other Artist and Maker organizations who are committed to community involvement.  Read more about it here.

The Hactory has moved to 3645-7 Lancaster Avenue,  and are currently taking new members.  Follow the Hactory on Facebook to stay up to date with what they are doing.

In other news, a building project slated for 4050 Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia includes plans for affordable housing for artists and a community room for neighborhood classes. Read more about it here. 

And finally, the Society Hill Playhouse is closing after 55 years.    The reason is similar to  the impetus behind the closing of the 915 Spring Garden Street Artist Studios that I wrote about here.  They Playhouse is being torn down to build condominiums.For more information, press here.