October 12 – November 12, 2017
Opening Reception: October 13, 2017, 6-8 pm
I. Beyond the Bed Covers curated by Laura Petrovich Cheney, featuring Rachel Farmer, Ariel Jackson, Faith Ringgold, Luke Haynes, Kim Fox, and more.
II. Nancy Storrow, N.Y. Member, drawings.
III. Dani Dodge, National Member, video and sculpture exhibition.
I was obsessed with shoes when I was in grade school. In second grade my teacher sent a note home saying that I need to concentrate more on school work than on drawing shoes all over my papers, books, etc. ALL OVER. Every kind of shoe, really, but I especially loved to design high-heeled shoes. I think I got them out of my system back then because the thought of heels now makes my spine ache. I am a sensible shoe gal - all clogs and Birkenstocks for me. I need to not have to think about my shoes (or clothes) and pretty much be able to do anything no matter what shoes I'm wearing - scoot, walk, coffee date, work in my studio, take care of the chickens - whatever...
I also have come to really dislike shopping and I crave the idea of a uniform so I'm working towards simplifying my closet and drawers and freeing up physical - and mental - space. This is not a novel idea - there are countless blog posts, organizing tools, and self-help books on how to declutter your life. HOWEVER I'm a fan of clutter and cool, old stuff (and tons of it all over my house) - but I'm not a fan of a lot of clothes and shoes so this is the one area I can tackle.
I am also a huge fan of seeing how and where other makers/creators/artists work. I love to see their studios and tools and get the feel of what it's like when they do their thing.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO THESE SHOES.
I met Eddie Shaw at the Contemporary Craft annual Out of Hand event where I was doing a tin workshop. He was there demonstrating sandal making in advance of a class he was going to be teaching later in the summer. It took me approximately 35 seconds to fall in love with his leather apron and his selection of hand tools. I started daydreaming about becoming a shoemaker. Short of asking him to take me on as an apprentice I asked if he'd consider making a pair of sandals for me (I was going to be out of town during his class) and he agreed.
I went to Eddie's home on a Tuesday and he had told me to plan for about an hour of time to measure my feet and make some decisions together about the sandals. We hung out on his back deck and I drank my coffee and smelled the stargazer lilies in bloom while he worked his magic. One of my favorite stories when I was young was The Elves and the Shoemaker. I loved the little outfits that the shoemaker made for the elves. Also - I learned this: a shoemaker makes shoes; a cobbler repairs shoes. Anyhow...
**I took pictures of this first visit on my grandma-sized iPhone. Stick around for the photographs of the second visit wherein Matt Dayak took dreamy pictures with his real camera. You can spot the difference from space**
After he had the soles measured and cut he then had to figure out where all the straps would go and that was a very detailed process that he needed my cooperation on so he said "put that thing down and pay attention!" (which I did - so no pictures of that part). The final steps on the first visit entailed marking the soles for where the nails would go and choosing what material I wanted for the actual SOLES of the sandals - the part that will touch the ground. I chose the thickest car tires he had on hand. Not kidding - car tires. He had a nice sort of traditional neoprene sole material but I am hard on stuff so I went for the heavy duty option. I want to be able to get miles and miles out of these.
After one hour and 20 minutes he was done with me so we made an appointment for Friday for me to come back and could I please bring him two bottles of the neatsfoot oil I get from my hardware store in Mt Lebanon? Of course I could.
I didn't realize that Friday was another working visit. When we arrived he had the sandals pretty much made but he needed to make a few final measurements and put the buckles on, etc.
It's Sunday morning now and I have worn the sandals constantly since Saturday morning. They are already forming to my feet and they're soft and getting lovelier by the minute.
And here's the thing that gets me - he charges $80 for these which includes everything. All his time planning, all the materials, all the labor - and you get a pair of sandals made to fit your feet. If you would like to have him make a pair for you he is in Squirrel Hill and he would love to work with you. I can put you in touch as long as you promise to tell him I sent you.
I have been a fan of what Brent and Josh have been doing at their farm in Sharon Springs since I watched their TV show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" which aired back in 2010. I admire their tenacity, dedication to their community, their love of wild things, and their terrific style.
This is why I'm SO excited to announce that they are now selling my Custom Tin Address Signs!
I owe it all to Jodi at The Vinge for agreeing to have coffee with me one rainy day years ago. As I often say - it's always worth it to ask.
My favorite new find is this batch of molds that came from the Jeannette Glass Company, which was in operation in Jeannette, PA from 1887-1983. This article has tons of information on the factory and its history along with great photos, some of which I'm including here.
I spent most of yesterday digging through a giant crate of these molds, bringing them home, scrubbing them clean, and drying them in the sun. For me this was a pretty perfect way to spend a day.
I don't know exactly what my plans are for this batch but I have some ideas brewing. When I started painting in earnest about fifteen years ago I was really into repeating dots. I don't sign my artwork on the front (another story for another time) but my unofficial signature became three dots in a row. I have always loved polka dots and lines of repeating dots and singular circles. I'm starting to work with dots again but in my tin pieces. (See also my instagram #workerbirdcollectsdots ) These molds fit perfectly within the things I'm seeing in my head these days.
If you've been following along at home you know that one of my favorite jobs EVER was at Churchview Farm where, among other things, I helped run the Summer Farm Dinner Series for three years. We worked with some of Pittsburgh's best chefs to create a magical dining experience on the farm. I loved every minute of getting to know the chefs and their staffs and learning about foods I'd never imagine. And the sweet, lovely time of sharing food with one another was pure joy for me. So when it came time to decide what sort of event I should put on for FULLTIME it seemed a natural fit to emulate - on a much smaller scale - what we had done on the farm. (Also: Dan Rugh of Commonwealth Press basically - but thankfully - bullied me into it).
Let me back up a bit - FULLTIME is a multi-day, city-wide collection of individually planned events created by separate hosts and promoted unilaterally as a single unit - with the goal of highlighting the wide array of creative culture and entrepreneurial spirit modern Pittsburgh has to offer.
Serendipitously I am currently working with Trevett Hooper on his upcoming restaurant, Pie for Breakfast. So it made perfect sense to ask him to host the dinner with me and we'd tie it in with the official launch of PFB. Fortunately he agreed. While he and his sous chef, Tom Lonardo, worked out the menu and drinks I collected everything I'd need to turn our home into a makeshift-but-intimate restaurant.
I spent three days gathering tables, linens, dishes and glassware, folding chairs, a fire pit, and various other supplies; also mowed the grass, cleaned up after winter, tidied up the house, and washed the baseboards (!) - who does that on the regular?
For over four hours on that Wednesday my house was filled with so much love, laughter, food, drink, more laughter, music, and more love. I'll take that FULLTIME.
Thanks go to:
Steven Foxbury - for his inexhaustible patience with - and support of - me
Trevett Hooper - for giving space to my ideas and for feeding our bellies and souls
Dan Rugh - for your good ideas, your bullying, and your folding tables
Shannon Rugh, Kelly Sanders, Heather Damron - for your folding chairs (and your friendships)
Tara Rockacy - for your dinner supplies and ever-loving support
Lisa Krowinski - for taking the shorties so we (I) could misbehave with abandon
Sam Ginsburg - for your sweet texts and photos
Sonja Van Dijk - for your cute water bottles and your patience with us as neighbors
FULLTIME crew - for being the best around
FULLTIME is a five day, city wide collection of individually planned events created by separate hosts and promoted unilaterally as a single unit - with the goal of highlighting the wide array of creative culture and entrepreneurial spirit modern Pittsburgh has to offer.
Chef Trevett Hooper, a James Beard Award nominee, has been known for his commitment to sustainability, long before it became trendy in Pittsburgh. He has served antibiotic-free meat since 2009, long before touting the practice became the politically correct conventional wisdom.
On 4/20/16 I will be hosting an intimate dinner in my home with Trevett Hooper at the helm. A limited number of tickets are available here.
I will be at the Three Rivers Arts Festival from June 3-7 in Booth 83 - Gateway Plaza. Come drink iced coffee with me!
This 26" x 17" map is heading to the American Folk Art Museum Shop in New York City. I am beyond thrilled to be working with them and will post pictures soon when I visit the shop in early April.