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

Meetup in Olde City: Kathleen Dustin, Artistic Development, and the Clowns of Murano

The first Friday of each month is prime gallery trolling time in Philadelphia. I joined some Greater Philadelphia Polymer Art Meetup friends last Friday for a trip to the opening of Kathleen Dustin’s show at the Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia. I took some pictures of our gathering with Kathleen’s gracious permission, but the SD card on my cell phone went South on me so I have nothing to share. If you click on the link, you can see some of the outstanding pieces currently on display.

I don’t know which was more fun-having Kathleen pull pieces out of the case and explaining how she constructed them or listening to her and Beading Yoda discuss their design philosophies. By the way, checkout Kathleen’s newly-designed web site here.

A few years ago, Kathleen gave a wonderful presentation to the Philadelphia Guild  on the evolution of her work.   Which got me to thinking about why it is always a sheer delight to see her work.  Not only is it technically brilliant but there is always a new aspect to it that pushes her body of work to a different level.  Read this Polymer Clay Daily post on the changing focus of her work from representational to abstract.  Then check out these links  from the Polymer Art ArchiveEvolution of Polymer ArtArticles by Kathleen Dustin on the Polymer Art Archive, and Turning Blue into Gold.

Later at a restaurant debriefing session over Italian food and wine at nearby BYOB  La Locanda Del Ghiottone and a bottle of wine from  Pinot Boutique, several Meetup members reminisced about traveling to Venice and to Murano. We all agreed that while Italian glass was beautiful, some of the objects tourists bring back from Murano deserve a place in the permanent glass collection of the Museum of Ugly. I mean seriously.

Don’t forget  Bead Fest Philadelphia this weekend!  Click here for more information.