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!

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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.

 

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South Broad Street Townhouse
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Philip’s Restaurant, South Broad Street How many funeral lunches have I attended there?
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Near Broad and Ellsworth
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Near Broad and Ellsworth. Was this a club of some kind?
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Cigar factory converted to condos,  12 and Washington Streets
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Apartment House Steps.  Lombard Street
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Someone took a wrong turn here, 8th and Christian Streets
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Roots mural on South Street East of Broad. Hidden behind a chain link fence.  For a better view, press here.
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Avenue of the Arts, Broad ad Washington Streets
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St. Rita’s Church, South Broad Street. The huge structure dwarfs the buildings near it.
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Beautiful South Broad Street Townhouse.
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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.

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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

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More Townhouses on South Broad Street, very well preserved and the fronts colorfully painted.
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FMC Tower from the South Street Bridge
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The Liberty Bell one frozen night in December
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From the Rube Goldberg exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Philadelphia. Looks like his prediction came true. Down to the cat.
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I waited until the restroom was empty before taking this picture in the Jewish Museum. Why? I hate answering stupid questions.
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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.
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Looking North from Clymer Street roof deck.
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Christmas Day view from the South Street Bridge.
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South Philadelphia yarn bomb.
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Violin Maker 17th and Pine Street

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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