Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War at Clayathon

I am cleaning out my workshop for two reasons.  The first one is to clear out things I will probably never use like all that novelty yarn that looked so pretty at the time, and all those unopened stamp pads that I acquired from various rubber stamping conventions,  goody bags and sales too hard to resist.

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Yarn

These items and many others are now packed in bags on my workshop  floor, ready to be taken to Clayathon for the Junque Table.  This is my second reason for clearing things out.  Because clearing out your workshop is so much easier if you know that your former treasures will find new life with someone else.

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Wire

The Clayathon Junque Table is a time-honored Clayathon tradition and the brainchild of Sherman Oberson, a serious collector of Junque, oddities, taxidermy and various art supplies.  Sherman invites Clayathon attendees  to sort through their supplies and bring anything from the “unwanted” category, the “no longer needed” category,  and the “OMG what was I thinking? category” to Clayathon where he and his crafty pack of  minions sort through everything,  The really desirable or costly items go into the auction.  The remainder go to the Junque table and are covered by a white sheet until the moment when Sherman whips the sheet aside, bellows,“Cry Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war!” and retreats to a safe place while frenzied Clayathoners pick the table clean.

Here are some other things I am bringing for the Junque table:

 

Clayathon runs from April 4 to April 11 at the Seaview Resort in Stockton, NJ.   It’s sold out,  but I will be posting pictures.

Pottery Surface Design

I made two pieces this year that I actually like.  Imagine that!pot

This one’s going into the  fundraiser for Clayathon.  It is hand built (using the tar paper technique ) and stands about 9 ” tall.  The surface is screen printed, painted and carved.

This next one, also slated for the fundraiser, is hand built earthenware, screen printed and painted and is about 7″ wide at the base and 11″ tall to the top of the lid. It is perfect for a cookie jar.

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The last piece is a failure.  It went into the bisque fire looking like this:

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and came out missing a side piece.  I decided to glaze it anyway.  I like the surface effect  but this one goes into the reject pile.  I kept the pattern, however, and am going to attempt this one again.  It’s about 14″ tall.

 

Peyote Triangle Patterns for Dummies

I start off with a confession. I am horrible at following patterns. I am not making this up. OK, I can follow sewing patterns because they are all flat on the table and you have a basic idea of what you are supposed to come out with. But I could never pull off a paint-by-number picture when I was a kid and my first attempts at origami went into the trash can.  I can, for the most part,  follow simple beading patterns.  (In fact, one of my first published articles was a beading project.)  But unless I can count beads easily, I am lost.  This means I am mostly ok with loom graphs, Cellini Spirals, bead crochet and  flat peyote graphs.  So I learned how to make a peyote triangle with little trouble.

When I began to salivate over  beaded kaleidocycles, (you can read all about them and download a free pdf  from the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork website here) and wanted to try making one,  I hopped over to YouTube to learn how to make peyote triangles. ( VPBiser has an excellent video tutorial here.)  But for the life of me I could not figure out how to make anything more interesting than a two-color basic  triangle and I wanted some more exciting variations for my kaleidocycles.

After making a few peyote triangles, I began to notice some patterns emerging.   I figured out how to make a three-color pyramid! (See chart below.  I am assuming you already know how to make a standard peyote triangle).

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You can use the same reasoning to make a two-color pyramid.  If you simply alternate colors for each row, you can make a striped pattern.(See kaleidocycle picture in the bottom row.

 

 

 

You can see that for some triangles, I merely beaded rows in different colors much like you would crochet granny squares.    For the  triangles in the  bottom left-hand corner,  I started the triangle with white Delicas for the first two rows and began adding red Delicas in the third row.  From then on,  I added a red Delica whenever I could see that it would be totally surrounded by white Delicas.  This gave me a lovely chicken pox pattern.   If you double click on an image, you can view it full size.

I realize this might not be clear to some people, but the real aim of this post is to encourage you to find new ways to solve problems even if you think they’re over your head.  That’s the only way we learn.  Now that these peyote triangles make more sense to me, I think I’m ready to start tackling some more complex designs.

Fleisher Student Show 2019

Did you know that Fleisher Art Memorial is the oldest community art school in the US?  And that the  121st annual exhibition of student work opened there on February 15th?  With offerings that include works on paper, painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewelry, the work seems to get better with every year.

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The 121st annual student exhibition closes on March 15, 2019.

 

Open Studio at Art-Sci Designs

What inspires Terri Powell, the creative force behind Art-Sci Designs?   Terri spends her days wearing a lab coat and peering into the microverse through a high-powered microscope.  She spends  the rest of her time creating  wearable Modern Artifacts from  a wide range of materials that include polymer, metal, glass and any other materials she might pick up on her world travels.  (Last destination Portugal; coming up: Colombia).  She also develops  recipes for some incredible mixed libations  which she shares (along with  the occasional restaurant review) on her blog The P&P Drinking Company.   I’m sure I’m leaving something out.

I visited Terri at her open studio a couple of weeks ago and she turned me loose in her studio which she did not bother to clean up before hand because creativity is not an orderly process.  (Something I already knew).

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Table

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earrings

I didn’t get as many good pictures of  the finished work as I would have liked but you can see plenty of pictures on the Art-Sci Designs webpage here.

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And  I suggest that you follow Art-Sci Designs on Instagram here.  There is always something surprising and delightful to behold.

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!

trimsteel ponypushcartold cash registerclearance salebarrel of fabric boltsadlers

 

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.

winters red ruffle cascade neckpiece

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

winters woodland ruffle cuff

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

 

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.