Diane and Patty at Post

January and February are the bleakest months of the year on my calendar. That’s why I’m happy to be able to reach back into the pile of pictures I took, and interviews I conducted last year, and bring a little color a bleary January. A highlight was Diane Litten and Patty Pickup’s stop on last years’ Philadelphia Open Studio Tour

I met Diane years ago and knew her primarily as an artist who fashioned sophisticated and unique earrings out of silver wire that she knitted on tiny needles. Alas, don’t have any pictures of these remarkable pieces.

I have learned since then that Diane considers herself to be primarily a fiber artist. She’s self taught, unrestrained by tradition, and influenced by whatever she finds interesting. Her work looks complex, but is deceptively simple, polished, inventive, and fun. This is no happy accident; Diane is not afraid to play with her materials to see how far she can push them. Something more of us should do. Here are some pictures.

Brooch and necklace with magnetic clasp
Display piece from a former show.

Here’s some links and info on Diane. Take a look at her Facebook page here. Follow Diane on Instagram here. Take a look at some work she did with Group Motion, here.

Patty Pickup is no stranger to my little blog. Her last appearance on the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours was with polymer artist Terri Powell (ArtSci designs.). This year, Patty was able to make it in person to Donna Kato’s Atlantic Clay Escape, and come home with some new skills and ideas. Here are some pictures of the results.

It looks like the Atlantic City Escape is going to be one of the last live polymer events we’re going to have for awhile. But a bunch of us, including Patty, are working hard to make Virtual Clayathon 2022 a reality.

A Walk Around Bok Part 1

I feel as if I am getting behind in my blog posts although I’ve been posting regularly. It’s just that there’s so much going on around me that even if I don’t feel particularly inspired lately, there’s no shortage of creative people around me. That and my penchant for taking pictures everywhere I go.

If you’re anything like me, you love to peek into other people’s creative spaces. Every year, The Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, or POST, gives me the chance to do that without feeling like too much of an interloper. This year, I went back to the Bok Building in South Philadelphia to see some new art studios. WC Pottery sure got my attention!

WC Pottery is aptly named because potter Erik Wright set up a working pottery studio in a small bathroom in the Bok Building. Maybe he played a lot of Tetris as a child?

I live in a small house and I know a thing or two about working in small spaces. But WC Pottery’s space is a model of efficiency beyond what I would have thought possible. I was impressed.

Not an inch is wasted. There’s a sink, a glazing area, and storage, too. And some very attractive pottery you can see on Erik’s Instagram site here and web site here.

I’ll be writing about more artists I met on this years’ POST tour. Stay tuned.

Another Post on Post (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours)

I posted last year about attending the Philadelphia Open Studio Tour  of 915 Spring Garden Street.  This huge building used to be owned by the Reading Railroad.  For the past thirty years, however, it has housed around 100 artists and their studios.

No more. After a minor fire at 915 Spring Garden in early September of this year, and the City Department of License and Inspections conducted a post-fire examination and found numerous  City code violations-so many that  L&I ordered the artists to evacuate and to stay out of the building until the code violations are corrected.   The building has been closed indefinitely. For more information,  press herehere and here.

Unless the artists have binding contracts with the owners/managers of the building, which I doubt, my guess is that the building will be sold to a developer and turned into condos or apartments leaving most of the artists in an untenable position. Inquirer columnist Inga Saffron wrote an excellent article on the closing of 915 Spring Garden Street and the difficulty artists face finding studio space in a tight real estate market. You can read her article here.

For this year’s open studio tours I headed to 1241 Carpenter Street– a big old factory building right in my neighborhood. When I  walked into Stella Untalan’s studio, (Be sure to click on the links to her incredible art.  There was a reason I was hanging out in her studio! ) she was having a lively discussion with Steven Krupnick who bought the building forty years ago and operates a business there.  It turns out that he is determined to maintain this building as affordable space for artist studios.   This is not how these things usually go. The neighborhood was pretty bad 40 years ago and for someone to buy property in an area like 12th and Carpenter, maintain it (which is what you do when you are not a speculator), pay it off and not sell it  to developers so artists can have studio space is a tremendous contribution to the City. I cannot fault people who buy property and sell it at a profit, but I greatly admire people like Steve Krupnick who give back to the community.   The City of Philadelphia owes him a debt.

1241 C

1241 Carpenter Street is a big old factory building.  Some artists from the Spring Garden Studios were able to find space in 1241 Carpenter, but by no means all of them.  There is now a waiting list.




Tim McFarlane’s cards outside his tiny studio.  Click the links below to see his work.

PD Packard5

PD Packard is a print maker, watercolorist and book artist from Brooklyn, NY.  She  led a hands-on shibori dying workshop.  Check out this post about her on Seth Apter’s Blog.

PD Packard4

Here’s my shibori-dyed paper.

PD blogs herself and she teaches.  I have one friend I think I could talk into traveling to Brooklyn and trying a class with me.

Stella Untalan Studio

Stella Untalan’s studio

Stella Untalan1

Stella Untalan from 365+1 #drawing a day


MeganMcManus1Megan McManus and  her whimsically deviant faux fingernail sculptures.  She is also a painter,

1241 C Hall2

Jim Loewer4

Jim Loewer  (I will do an in-depth post on him in the future)

1241 C Hall

1241 C5

I can never resist a self portrait.

Seriously,  I saw a lot of beautiful work on this tour and got to visit and and speak with many incredible artists.  Here are some more:

Tim McFarlane 

Colette Fu

For a full list, press here.

Thank you artists, thank you Steven Krupnick and thank you POST sponsors!

A Post on POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours)

One of the best times you can have that’s legal and for all ages (except maybe the very young who tend to run, grab things and knock stuff over) is visiting working studios of Philadelphia Artists during the two weekends of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. Most artists love to talk about their work and the Open Studio Tour is a great way for them to reach out to the public.


This year I went with some friends to visit the artists in the studios at the 915 Spring Garden Street Building.  It’s an old factory with light filled spaces,  old beaten down wooden floors and an old industrial cage elevator that is very steampunk.


Janell Wysock‘s fiber art hangs in the hall.


imageA peek into Janell Wysock’s studio



Emily Squires Levine   (foreground, polymer vases) was showing in ceramic artist Peter Cunicelli’s studio (see his work in the background.)



Jorge Caligiuri‘s work is worth a trip to his studio.  He traveled to Italy to study the art of fresco making and is one of the few artists in the US currently using this technique in his work.



imageRachel Constantine



imageRobert Sampson




imageRobert McNellis


I didn’t try to take pictures of the artwork because most of these artists have web sites which display it much better than I could.   Press here for a directory of artists in the building.    And be sure to check out the web sites of Susan O’Reilly and Nari Kim, two artists whose work I especially enjoyed.