Autumn Means Color!

Boris is sleeping more these days which tells me that the days are getting shorter. Soon it will be Halloween which is also my 30th wedding anniversary. I don’t think that Boris will care much unless he gets a treat and chin scratches. My husband is bit more romantic than I am which is good because he brings me down to earth a little and this makes me more grateful for all the things I have.

Now the best way to hide things from my husband is to put them in plain sight.  Which is why my anniversary gift to him has been hiding out in the living room all these months and which is why I can post it on my blog which never reads.  It’s one of Dr. Ron Lehocky’s hearts that he sells for the Heart Pin Project and I got it at Synergy this summer.  I met Ron, too.  A lovely man.  Part of the auction proceeds from Clayathon 2018 are also going to the Heart Pin Project.

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Speaking of kids and crafts and Autumn and October,  part of the fun of the season is pumpkins: both hunting and decorating.  I helped at the Fleisher Art Memorial’s Pumpkin Painting event at Palumbo Recreation Center in South Philly and got paint on my clothes, face, cell phone, pocketbook and hands.  It all washes out.  Eventually.

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I also got to accompany Mom, Bubbe, Pop, and the Step Potato and the Step Banana to a real live pumpkin patch!

 

08.IMG_20171021_152003We went on a hay ride and pet the animals in the petting zoo.

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But mostly I wandered around the pumpkin patch.

 

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Tarpaper Technique

 

I am having a good time in the pottery studio experimenting with the tar paper technique.   The items below are white earthenware in different stages of finishing.  The tar paper supports the soft clay slabs and allows you to make all kinds of crazy shapes. Of course I have to see how far I can push it.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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Beware of sharks in the slip bucket!

 

Last Summer Class at The Clay Studio

I spent my last class at The Clay Studio this Summer glazing and glazing.  We have to have everything off our shelves and ready to be fired by the end of the week.  And because it was the last class, we all brought food to “celebrate.”  Since it is a morning class, I brought doughnuts. Or I had planned to bring doughnuts.  I made the mistake of leaving them in a plastic bag on the counter last night.   When I got to them this morning, they were crushed to crumbs and there was a hole ripped in the bag.  The culprit?  


BOORIS!

BORIS!

Boris came to live with us exactly one year ago and he has gone from a timid, scared jumpy cat who sleeps all the time into a little feisty feline felon.  This is his house now and he is not about to let us forget it.

On to the pottery

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The above pieces are white porcelain with underglaze surface decoration.  They’ll get glazed with a clear satin matte glaze.

The pieces below are nerikomi fired at cone 6 and unglazed.

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TCS

I plan to take more classes at The Clay Studio, but in the Fall, I am returning to Fleisher.

Back to The Clay Studio

I have been dreaming about working in porcelain clay ever since I stopped going to The Clay Studio  almost 25 years ago.  I love the pottery studio at the Fleisher Art Memorial  and plan to return, but they only fire earthenware and terra cotta, no stoneware and no porcelain.

So I signed up for a hand building class at TCS and am on my way to porcelain bliss.  I spent last Tuesday digging into a bag of porcelain clay and making pinch pots, a soap dish and a little sculptural piece.  There are so many new things I want to try that I have to remind myself to breathe.

I feel so lucky to have two great pottery studios so close to me. The Clay Studio is another Philadelphia treasure.

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Artspiration 2017

This year’s Artspiration Community Festival at  Fleisher Art Memorial was a blast.  I worked at the Color Wheels table helping kids and adults make seed bombs with clay and wildflower seeds and helped out at the Open Studio pottery table.  There were plenty of free activities for kids including face painting, mural painting, spin art pictures.  Philly Typewriters was there with two tables of portable machines  and the younger attendees were lining up to try them.  

Here are some pictures

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We enjoyed music and dancing throughout the day.

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The Color Wheels van wore a big party hat to celebrate its 5th birthday.

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A decorated seed bomb

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Texturing the clay for the seed bombs

What I’m Doing this Summer

Last month I went to a Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary Series lecture called Jewelry Design with Hratch Babikian.    And that’s how ended up registering for a Pendant making class at Fleisher Art Memorial.  After seeing examples of  Babikian’s work

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including his deftly-formed chains and exquisite clasps, I think this class is one I should not miss.

The class will  cover making jump rings and connections, design, forming and forging. For a full description of the class and registration information, press here.  To see more examples of Babikan’s work, press here and here.

That’s not all that’s happening.   Fleisher has a new jewelry studio  with a custom-made table with eight jewelry stations.

 

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Fleisher is also offering a cold connections jewelry class this Summer.  For a description and registration  information, press here.   And they will be adding more equipment to the jewelry studio in the future and offering more  metal and jewelry classes.  

But wait, there’s more.  If you’ve always wanted to learn Shibori dying, the Japanese technique where you fold, twist, stitch and dye fabric with indigo,  Fleisher is offering a class this summer with fiber artist Marie Elcin.   

 

 

And be sure to check out Fleisher’s web page for information on classes like kiln-fired glass,  Art Quilting and many others.

119 Years is a Long Time

That’s how long the Fleisher Art Memorial  has been holding its annual adult student exhibition.  At the time of the first show, the US was at war with Spain.  The average yearly salary was around $450.00.  There was no income tax.  Pennsylvania Hospital offered a horse-drawn ambulance service.  City Hall and the Broad Street Subway were off in the future and the Fleisher Art Memorial opened and started offering art classes to the people of Philadelphia.   The Annual Exhibition closes on March 24.  It’s worth a visit.

For more information, press here.

A Melange of Topics Including Melange!

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I needed cinnamon.  My favorite spice store, The Spice Corner,  had closed.   I didn’t feel like running up to Reading Terminal and pre packaged spices from the grocery store were out of the question.  That left Melange, a tea and spice store at 11th and Pine Streets in Philadelphia.  Melange has been open for a couple of years but I had never shopped there before I stepped in that November afternoon.  When I asked if they carried cinnamon, proprietor Boris Ginsburgs  steered me to a shelf that held Saigon cinnamon, Sri Lankan cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon.

“Could you explain the difference between the three of them?”

Boris launched into an explanation that was concise, lucid, and which branded him as a tea and spice nerd. Maven would be a better description.  I ended up buying small onamounts of all three varieties intending to try them in different dishes.    And I will go back to Melange when I need more spices because they have such a big, reasonably priced assortment.

Boris Ginsburgs knows his tea and spices.  Just read through the Melange web site if you want a tea and spice education.  Better yet, go to Melange and buy some new spices to try.

 

 

In other news,  I raised a little money for the Fleisher Art Memorial  by running a make and take bracelet table at their annual Holiday Craft Fair.   I also contributed a piece to Fleisher’s semi-annual fundraiser, Dear Fleisher, 4 x 6  inches of  Art.

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   More than 300 artists contributed work to the fundraiser.   All the work  is  priced at $50.00 and  the artists remain anonymous until the work is  sold. The polymer  piece I donated  went home with a buyer.

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Where Satellite Dishes Go to Die

 

Color Wheels

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I volunteered to help in the ColorWheels mobile community art program  run by the Fleisher Art Memorial and participated in my first program on Saturday outside the Donatucci branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. After helping to set up the ColorWheels tent, I and other volunteers helped  the neighborhood kids make Gelli prints using leaves we found on the sidewalk and supplies from the ColorWheels art van.  It was a lot of fun and the kids jumped right in picking out paint and leaves, and turning out prints that twe hung up to dry for them.

We ended up closing a little early because it started raining.  Still, it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

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Tunnel Vision and Tunnel Visionaries

Tunnel vision.  The very term makes me think about the recent UK decision to leave the European Union, the Trump supporters who want to build a wall and the old folks in Russia who want to return to the glory days of the Soviet Union when your neighbor could turn you in as a traitor but at least you had a steady job.   This week was one of those rare occasions where art and politics collided to make a pun for me and that pun involved tunnels.

Tunnel vision is a  genuine physical malady where  peripheral vision is lost.  Tunnel vision is also an idiomatic term used to describe when a person is looking at things from a very narrow point of view.   There is no dearth of people  suffering from tunnel vision these days.  Good peripheral vision is essential when killing cockroaches or keeping an eye on small children. Tunnel vision is dangerous.  It makes it difficult to pass a slower car safely. You trip over things.  And it makes birds more likely to poop on you because you never saw them coming.    

And so, to anyone with tunnel vision who is reading this, you have been warned.

And now for the good tunnel stuff.  The Queen Street Tunnel is a plain, soulless expanse that stretches between Front and Swanson Streets and under I-95. Artists Pat Aulisio, Marie Elcin, and Miriam Singer decided that it needed some art to liven it up.  So they helped their students at the Fleisher Art Memorial make large drawings and screen prints and then invited volunteers to help wheat paste the art  onto the walls of the tunnel.   

It sounded like a good excuse to get messy so how cold I resist?   The improvement is remarkable. Does that make those who developed the project tunnel visionaries?  I think so.  

Here are some pictures.

 

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The Bernie  bird