Posts Tagged ‘industry’

I am attracted to the reuse of old factory spaces.

Recently I was introduced to a new one, The Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. It was the Walkin Shoe Company, founded in 1887, and renovations have smartly kept reminders of the old factory. A line of industrial sewing machines caught my eye in particular. I worked in sewing factories for more than a dozen years, and used probably 2 dozen or more types.  But these were ones I was completely unfamiliar with, as they were for sewing shoes.

I will include pictures of their holiday decor utilizing shoe lasts, thread stands, and other factory items.

There are many models for art centers.  Walk In was founded by Albert R Evans, Jr, of Evans Delivery Company. It also takes advantage of partnerships with Schuylkill County Education Council and Penn State University for art classrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. There are artist’s studios, exhibition space, offices, and a future museum on the first floor dedicated to local industry. The rest of the facility was completed in 2013.

http://www.walkinartcenter.org/

I am most familiar with GoggleWorks, in Reading, PA, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. This is a very large art center in an abandoned Willson Safety Goggles factory. It includes artist’s studios, a gift shop, cafe, movie theater, 3 large exhibition galleries, offices, and classrooms — from hot glass, to carpentry to ceramics.

http://www.goggleworks.org/

 

And I have visited the granddaddy of them all: Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.

http://torpedofactory.org/about-us/overview/
I’d appreciate your comments on other centers of this type.

Haven?

Posted: April 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Haven?

This is the other piece I got into “Me Myself and I” at Some Things Looming Gallery in Reading. The opening is Saturday April 12, 1-4 PM, at 526 Washington St., Reading, PA 19601. Since the concept of the self portrait was a broad one, I submitted this work. I worked in the steel industry for a number of years, and can identify with the feeling of a house dwarfed by the mill. The city’s downtown as distant as Oz.

Small Pour

I am trying to make some smaller pieces to get ready for Fair in the Park, Pittsburgh’s premier art fair, on Sept 6, 7, 8. This is a smaller version of hot steel pouring with a background of steel mills (made of found papers) and Pittsburgh’s bridges.

Blue Abstract

This started with a photo I took using my phone while walking. What caught my eye was the composition – all of those blue angles and shapes in the old Heppenstall factory building in Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh).
I got it printed on cloth with the intention of cutting it up and collaging it.
But the composition resisted being cut up. So I left it whole, and decided to “thread paint” it. To answer the usual questions: yes, it takes a long time. I can finish an area approximately 3 by 3 inches in 2 and a half hours (an evening’s work for me). Yes, it takes a lot of thread. Thousands of yards of it. Sometimes I have a “thread emergency” when I need a certain color, and have to take the 30 minutes drive to Joann Fabrics. But I do enjoy it. It really feels like painting. A lot of the same principles apply. I analyze an area first, then stitch in the accent colors, letting the threads connect between the areas. After that I stitch the main color or colors in an area. That covers up the connecting threads from the accent areas.
And of course, finally, I add my found objects, little treasures that caught my eye while I walk 10,000 steps a day.
The size is 14 x 20 inches.

Sky Fire

This is new work I just took to Trinity Gallery in Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh). I now have 5 pieces there. They have just hired a new publicist, and are getting ready for an opening April 6 of new works by Matt Gatto.
For this piece I pieced together altered fabrics for the buildings, and used fused plastics bags for the “fire” in the sky. I added interesting found objects. At this point I consider telephone books to be “found objects.” They litter our streets several times a year. The paper is very strong, though, and good for stitching and collaging.
The size is 12″ x 12″ x 1.5″

There are Many Steps Between Then and Now

I recently finished this piece, There are Many Steps Between Then and Now. I have created several contemporary art quilts based on Hayley Lever’s 1923 painting entitled The Allegheny Valley. But this one is the loosest interpretation. I changed the size ratio, the buildings, bridges, and generally got more creative, including with the found objects. I took it to a critique a few weeks ago, and another artist pointed out a problem with a major shadow. I came home and ripped out all of those stitches, and re-created the shadow in the right place. I also punched up the first bridge a good deal. I like it so much better!

Excited Sky is based on a painting by Hayley Lever, “The Allegheny in 1923.” Materials used: fabrics, antique lace, silk cord. Methods: free motion quilting, hand embroidery. Size 19 x 22 framed.  On the right is where the David L Lawrence Convention Center is today. This was created for a customer, and it is already hanging on her wall.  She reports that she is enjoying it a lot!