Today, on the fifth floor of a colorful building on 12th and Arch, in an unfurnished room with a single floor-to-celing window, I saw a 52 foot long whale. Made of felt. Entitled Mocha Dick after the great whale the inspired the novel of the like-sounding name, this baby was the brainchild of one Tristin Lowe. It has a nylon inflatable core, “like a bladder,” our guide said, and an air pump that keeps Mocha Dick from exhaling. It turns out that this air pump can be unpredictable, and after a recent power shortage M.D. was out of commission for 3 days. Luckily enough, I was able to witness Monsieur Dick in full form. With such a large peice, it is difficult to stand back and take the whole of it in, which adds to its impressiveness. I was told Lowe likes to go big. Mocha Dick is big.
What I found equally impressive was the zoom-in. Mocha Dick is covered in barnacles, with zipper and straight stitches running down its sides. One section of the felt looks like it had been run over many times to make a gash. I swear, in the right light, if you squint, you can just make out the words “Ishmael waz here”. But in all seriousness, this was an awesome work. Lowe designed the piece and managed the artists from the workshop who contributed to the sewing.
I stole some pictures from this wonderful blog, whose authors did a much better job of describing the artist, his work, and the details of Mocha Dick.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum is only $3, and they have cool exhibitions going on all the time. The FWM website. They offer apprenticeships and residencies, too.
If you’re a freshman, or an upper classman-come-early, you make have seen 40 or so newbies walking around campus appreciating art. It’s a fantastic new pre-orientation program called Penn Arts.
This is what they’re up to.
I think we can all take a cue from these eager arties and EXPLORE ART IN PHILLY!
I suggest checking out Gallery 339, Philadelphia’s only Fine Art Photography Gallery. And it’s free (bonus!), and close- 21st street (double bonus!).
Hello, My Name is Alix.
I was not completely joking in the first post about busting out the Popsicle sticks and glue. Give me some yarn, dried macaroni, 5 toothpicks and dab of Elmers, and I’ll make you a masterpiece. But I feel it is high time I dipped my toe into a more refined type of art. Just so I can show those high achieving 2nd graders what’s what. So, I signed up for a class at the University City Arts League.
There, I learned that the world of pottery comes with a new vocabulary set. Repeat after me:
Earthenware: a material used in ceramics (officially, 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin, 32% quartz, and 15% feldspar… feldspar?)
Wedging: like kneading, but without folding the clay over itself. It’s a way to get the air bubbles out and made the clay workable
Slip: clay that has been thinned with water
Bisque: fired pottery that is unglazed
But as you advance, there’s also “engobe”, “underglaze”, “cheese hard”, and “jiggering”. yeah, now you want to read on. Continue reading
The Quakers of UPenn are gearing up for a very creative year in 2009-2010! The “academic theme” is Arts and the City. That means that any and all of us can show off our artistic sides (and we know we’ve got them)! Preforming arts groups will have the opportunity to show in unusual venues (next to the button? outside Steitler?), and hopefully more of us will pick up our paintbrushes, or loosen up our vocal chords and join in. I myself will break out the Popsicle sticks and glue; 17 years since preschool and I bet I can still whip up a rockin pencil holder. Just like riding a bike.
Not only will we be letting loose our creative juices, artists from around the city are joining in! There will be tons of art events all over campus, and throughout Philly. Did you know you can go on a sculpture tour? Who wouldn’t want to know how this piece was thought up… And there will be more artist speakers, like last year’s Zoe Cohen. Plus, we can join the Mural Arts Program, and really leave our mark on the city!
You get the jist. This year, it’s all about creative expression. But it’s not just about exposing ourselves to more art, or showing off our talents (though that is a big part!), a big goal of this year is fostering creativity and appreciation of creativity. How to do that? We’re thinking the first step is sharing thoughts, ideas, opinions about art. Establish a dialog between all us Penn students… a diaBLOG, if you will.
So here is the place to get connected to the “art scene” (or just more Popsicle stick-wielding Quakers). We invite anyone who experiences art to come and write about it, share your experience with the rest of us. This way, performances, gallery showings, craft fairs and art classes won’t just go in one ear and out the other. They’ll go in your ear, come out your fingertips, through the blog-o-sphere, into all our eager eyes and get jumbled up in our brains where the influx of artistic expression will make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or brooding and angst-y. Depends on the type of artistic mind you have. So! Find out about art, share it with everyone else.
End of story.