New Paintings From Arlene Groch

I first met Arlene Groch through the polymer clay world, and I’ve posted her work on this blog as well as on the Philadelphia Guild’s blog after she asked me to post the story of how she covered a fake deer head with a houndstooth check cane at the request of her son. (I couldn’t resist titling that post The Deer Clayer.) I knew that Arlene had dabbled in abstract painting in the past, but during the pandemic, she attacked it with a ferocity that is, well, Arlene.

I’m going to shoot off my big mouth here. Some people purport to take up abstract painting because they can’t paint, and abstract painting gives them a way to cover a canvas without taking responsibility for the final result. Their work is meh. But not so with Arlene. Her paintings draw you in and engage you. It’s no accident that she’s already sold a few and won an award. Her paintings deserve to be seen and enjoyed.

Cosmos 40″ X 40″ $1500
Summer Glory 3′ X 4′ $2500
Spring Fling 2′ X 4″ $2500
Cosmos 3’X4′ Sold. 2021 National AAUW Art Contest National Winner,
Cosmos 5′ 28” square – gallery wrapped; $1500

No Turning Back – 3’x4’ Framed – $6500
Untitled. Sold

Arlene is represented by Nashville North Galleries, in Linwood, NJ. The prices shown are those set at the Gallery unless otherwise noted.  Prints of all of these paintings are also available on archival paper, painted with archival paints for $95 each. They are matted and suitable for framing.

If you like the work but don’t want a painting, Arlene is in the process of having her work printed on high-quality note cards which she will offer for sale. If you are interested in anything here, contact her gallery or let me know and I will pass on the information.

A Visit to Elfreth’s Alley

Years ago, I met a woman who, for a time, owned a house in Philadelphia’s Elfreth’s Alley. She liked the house she lived in but said she never got used to total strangers peering in her front windows and knocking on her door at all hours.

As the nation’s oldest, continuously occupied residential street, Elfreth’s Alley is a tourist attraction. Not a manufactured tourist attraction. Elfreth’s Alley, located in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia is the real deal. The people who live there are not historical reenactors, and the houses are privately owned, not part of the National Park Service. I’ve always wanted to explore Elfreth’s Alley more closely, (I pass by it on the way to The Clay Studio), but I am reluctant to go snapping pictures of people’s houses without an invitation. And then the invitation came. A flea market of antiques and crafts to support the Elfreth’s Alley museum, complete with guided tours.

I was pressed for time that day and didn’t have a lot of time to stick around, but I did manage to take a lot of pictures.

Plenty to do after you’ve been to Elfreth’s Alley

West Philly Porchfest

I ventured out of my Bella Vista neighborhood this week to visit my friend Patty who was participating in an event called West Philly Porchfest. I’d never heard of Porchfest but it seemed like a fun idea and a safe way to enjoy music and festivities after hiding inside all winter because of the coronavirus.

The West Philadelphia neighborhoods of Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, Squirrel Hill and Walnut Hill are filled with large houses dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unlike my neighborhood of Bella Vista, many of these houses have large, covered front porches which proved to be popular gathering places for musicians to perform. Porchfest started in 2016 as a way to devote one day, the first Saturday in June, to give any group who wanted to perform the opportunity to play a two hour set if they could find someone to volunteer a porch. A West Philly Porchfest Organizing Committee was formed and set up a Porch/Musician connector group on Facebook so interested parties could find one another. Once the match is made, the porch host registers with the Porchfest site, gets put on the schedule, and is included in on-line and paper maps that show where and when the bands will preform. On the big day, the audience grabs maps and trolls the neighborhood to listen to all kinds of music. What could be better?

Dreaming Thomas playing on Patty’s front porch.

You didn’t need a porch to play

All ages and all kinds of music. West Philly Porchfest is already on my calendar for June 4, 2022. With a little luck, we’ll all be back to enjoy it.

Magnetic Clasp for Polymer

Here’s one of my favorite clasps for polymer necklaces. It’s a rare earth magnet, hidden in a side bead. You open the clasp by sliding the bead open. It’s strong and because it’s not located at the back of the neck, it’s not constantly tension and in danger of opening. Who said that necklace clasps had to be on the back of the neck anyway? Put them where they will work. They should be either part of the design or blend in.

All of these beads are hollow except the black ones in the back, so the necklace is very light. It’s also comfortable to wear because the tube in the back rests comfortably against the neck.
And here’s the clasp. It’s not baked into the clay. I used black Apoxie Sculpt to fix it in place. That stuff is strong! I would have to break the bead to get the magnet out.
The clasp bead closed. I would have liked to have had no visible seam on the bead but that proved impossible for me. But I can say that so far, no one has been able to tell that there was a hidden clasp in the bead until I showed them.

for a great selection of rare earth magnets, try K&J Magnetics.