Back to Beading

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I’ve spent more time sitting lately which gives me the excuse I’ve been looking for to crack open the Delicas and tackle geometric seed beading for the first time.  A year of ignoring pain will give you a nasty case of tendonitis.   And while I may never run another marathon,  I never ran one before I donned the knee brace and that’s something.

 

 


My friend Ellen gave me a copy of Jean Power’s Geometric Beadwork, Volume 2.  I had already salivated over Beading Yoda’s geometric beadwork interpretations and was ready to try some of my own.  I bought the last copy of Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Vol.1 at Blue Santa Beads I had already watched most of the videos from Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork channel on YouTube, but reading the book helped make them crystal clear.

 

 

This small pagoda bracelet was fun to make.   I like the idea of adding bead increases to a simple peyote stitch and watching the beads take on a sculptural shape.

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The zigzag motif is a bit more challenging if only because of the sizing issue.   How many beads to string to make a bracelet to fit your wrist?

 

 

McKinnon suggests that if you make something the wrong size, you can try tailoring it into a new design which is what I did here.

But Jean Power solved the sizing problem for me with the suggestions she gives in  Volume 1 of her book which arrived at my door a few days ago.    Here’s what I’m working on now:wp-15446623155023578396489338834750.jpgwp-15446623137027786546207895851293.jpg

I love McKinnon’s books AND Power’s books.  You need all of them because if McKinnon does not answer a question, Power will and vice versa.  And there is plenty of free information on YouTube and the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Blog.

And I made myself two bead-on-it boards!  I looked all over for instructions.  There is a tutorial on YouTube that uses hot glue.  I tried it and could not for the life of me make a board that did not look like a piece of, well you know what.  Lumpy and sloppy.  Who wants to bead on something like that?  Then I found the video I link to below.  I resisted watching it at first because it is more than two hours long.  But it’s so long because the makers show the assembly of one of their boards from beginning to end-every nail driven and every staple stapled (including the ones they pull out and do over).  But you can fast forward through all of that and learn how to make yourself a nice beading surface.

More Handmade for the Holidays

 

 

Look at these great ceramics from my fellow open studio potters at Fleisher Art Memorial.  You will be able to buy these and other wonderful things at Handmade for the Holidays, Saturday December 8, Fleisher Art Memorial 719 Catharine Street Philadelphia PA  11:00 am to 5:00 pm

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Denise Branco

Bas Relief sculpture of the exterior of Pat’s Steaks, a real South Philadelphia Institution!  It measures approximately 8 by 14 and is beautifully framed.

One-of-a-kind teapot by Marjorie Waxman.  She’ll be selling mugs too.

Cynthia Bayer’s  boxes for  your holiday treasures.  These are great for candy, cat treats and jewelry.  Give as a gift or use as a gift container.

 

Ornaments and goodies galore from Sandrine, Pat and me.

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Handmade for the Holidays

 

Join me at Handmade for the Holidays December 8, 11 am  to 5 pm at Fleisher Art Memorial. The Open Studio Potters group will be selling functional and decorative ceramics lovingly crafted in Fleisher’s pottery studio in South Philadelphia.  One-of-a-kind ornaments, mugs, bowls, trinket trays, soap dishes and more. Each item is made from earthenware clay and decorated with food-safe glazes.  There’s something for everyone on your gift list.  Prices start at $5.00 and most items are under $20.00

 

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I will be  posting  more  work from the Open Studio Potters on my Instagram Feed.   See work by Pat Caughey here,  by Marjorie Waxman here and by Sandrine Sheon here.

Fleisher Art Memorial is located at 719 Catharine Street Philadelphia, PA 19147

Happy Thanksgiving!

BorissaysYum!                                       Boris wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving.

POST at Bok 1

Last month I visited the Bok Makerspace which was on the South Philly list of participants in the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).  

Bok Technical High School was a vocational school that opened in South Philadelphia in 1938.  Thousands of students passed through Bok’s doors learning trades like brick laying, plastering, plumbing, machine building, tailoring, and hairdressing until the school closed its doors in 2013.

The Bok building is massive. That’s a cardboard model in the above picture. It takes up an entire city block and the interior is 340,000 square feet.   The surrounding neighborhood is made up of  mostly residential row houses.   The  residents were understandably concerned about what would happen to the building.

They need not have worried.  In 2014, a developer named Lindsey Scannapieco proposed converting the former high school into a  space for creative entrepreneurs.  The neighborhood liked her ideas  and her efforts were lauded by Inge Saffron, the Architectural Critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer.   Read more articles about the transformation of Bok here and here.    

While Bok  is thought of as a space for artists, it is really so much more as I learned on my visit for the POST tours.  All of the artists I talked to came from the surrounding neighborhood and almost all of them were business people in creative fields. 

I hope to profile some of the artists I met during the tour and show you some pictures of their spaces.

The Art of Steel in Kensington

I wrote last week about Wayne Cambern’s show at the Boston Street Gallery.   While I was there,  I got a tour of the building that houses the gallery and met the owners, Jeff Harris and his wife Maria who are artists themselves.

Jeff works in  wood and steel stock.  His massive sculptures fill half the gallery and his studio and workshop are in the rear.    The building itself has an interesting history.   Built in the 1880’s, it housed a coffee roasting factory that supplied the US armed forces during both world wars.  Kensington used to be full of factories  Now, many of those former factories are finding new lives as art galleries and artist studios.

Jeff started out as a photographer but soon moved on to other mediums.    He told me that his first love was wood and he still works with the material.  But he found it too limiting for what he wanted to do, so  he started working with steel stock.

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Steel Stock

When I saw Jeff’s work I assumed that I’d find torches in his workshop.  How else could he get those bends and shapes?

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The answer?  A big vise and some simple tools.  No heat except to weld pieces together.

 

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Jeff’s vise

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Jeff and Maria also give painting classes on the second floor of the building although they are more for fun that for “serious” art.  For more information, go to the web site, to http://www.artwithspirits.com.

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Take some time to visit the Boston Street Gallery And for updates, follow the Twitter Feed

Wayne Cambern at the Boston Street Gallery

Two weeks ago, I hopped the Market-Frankford El to the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia in search of the Boston Street Gallery.  The Boston Street Gallery is about a mile from the York-Dauphin El stop.  I had occasion to visit this neighborhood on a regular basis in another life, but I had not back for many years.  It certainly has changed.

 

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I went to the Boston Street Gallery to attend the opening of a show called Lyrical Perceptions which includes work by Wayne Cambern.   I met Wayne at the open pottery studio at Fleisher Art Memorial.   Like me, he was getting back into pottery after a multi-year hiatus.  But his primary interests are drawing and painting.   So I jumped at the chance to see his other work when he told me about the show.

 

The urge to make art has been with me for as long as I can remember.   I love color, design and craftsmanship in its many manifestations.  I hope this quest to make something that qualifies as art speaks to the viewer. –Wayne Cambern

My big regret in writing this post is that my pictures simply cannot convey the mastery of Wayne’s drawings and portraits.   In order to get the full effect, you will have to visit the show which runs until December 1, 2018.  In the meantime, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Haunting in South Philly

This week, I started watching the new Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. I read the book when I was barely into my teens  and it made quite an impression on me.  Later on, I saw a film adaptation, The Haunting, which is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen.  Black and white and not a bit of gore or violence in it.  I wasn’t as fond of the remake which seemed  formulaic, and more funny than scary.

South Philadelphia has some haunted history too, although you won’t find a lot of information on tourist sites.  Serial killer H.H. Holmes met his demise at Moyamensing Prison which is now the site of the Acme Market at 10th and Reed Streets.   I don’t know whether he wanders the store after it closes for the night, nor do I want to know.

On the brighter side, South Philadelphians take any occasion as an excuse to decorate their front windows and Halloween is no exception.  From pumpkin painting festivals to pots of chrysanthemums sprouting up in curbside planters, South Philly is ablaze with the colors of  Autumn this time of year- just in time for Halloween.  Here are some pictures.

 

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This Week

A bunch of pictures from this week

Wind Challenge Matthew
Matthew Borgen

Caught the  Wind Challenge Exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial

Took pictures of the many mushrooms that have popped up in my neighborhood after last week’s rain.

Flowers are beautiful even when they’re dying

Helped kids paint pumpkins at Palumbo Recreation Center

Some Pottery in Progress

Saw some new (to me) Murals

And met some incredible artists and makers at Philadelphia Open Studio Tours at the Bok Building.  This deserves its own post.  Stay tuned,

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Last week, a reader warned about the application of a  toxic herbicide called glyphosate to wheat crops rendering all but organically grown wheat safe to eat.  I decided to read up on glyphosate.  The Food Babe blog  pointed out the dangers posed by this chemical, citing a report by a group called Food Democracy Now.  (Read the report here.) But the Snopes.Com site argues that the report’s information is false.  I am not a chemist and cannot do my own tests.  I will say that the discussion of the scientific methodology used in the report seems vague, (compare the testing done to determine the link between smoking and lung cancer), but I do not know whether this comes from an intent to deceive,  poor writing, or an editorial decision that the reader would not understand a more thorough discussion of the testing procedures used.    I have not come to a conclusion.  I am presenting this information so readers can draw their own conclusions.    

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Boris does not care about any of this apparently, 

The Atlas of Tomorrow

The Atlas of Tomorrow is an interactive art installation located on South Street between Broad and Thirteenth Streets in Philadelphia.   I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

This is how it works:

Instructions
The Instructions

Wheel
The Dial

StreetView
Numbered Stories Posted on the Wall

 

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The Story the Pointer Selected for Me After I Spun It.

Mural

Credits

 

 

Consider Contemplate

 

To learn more about The Atlas of Tomorrow, press here.  To learn more about Candy Chang, press here.  To learn more about the Philadelphia Mural Art Program, press here.

October is Mural Arts Month