Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Mural Arts Paid Summer Internship Program

I recently applied to the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's Paid Summer Internship.  I had to write an essay (one of my least favorite things to do) for the application.  When I was doing research for this essay, I snooped around a lot on the Mural Arts website and Mural Farm.  Philly Painting was something that I was totally unaware of until I had to write this essay.  It totally blew me away.  I watched all of the short videos about the project that were posted and a really great Ted Talk about it. These two Dutch guys named Hass and Hahn got a grant to paint like four entire blocks of Germantown Ave. They are known for painting a hillside of favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro bright colors. I really like these guys - they do amazing work and don't think too hard.

The following weekend JB and I were driving somewhere and we made sure to go down Germantown Ave to get there just so we could see it in the flesh.  It's awesome! There's also a lot of weird sculptures and a crazy mosaic fence.  So anyways, I painted my application to look like one of the Philly Painting color swatches, in the hopes that that would increase my odds.  Man, I really love Philadelphia's murals, public art, big stuff, and painting large scale... I really hope I get this internship!

Another thing I saw on the Mural Arts website was the zoo mural that's in progress now.  I remember a couple of years ago when they were accepting submissions for that mural, and I couldn't do it because I was going to be in Poland when all of the important planning meetings would have been happening.  All I can say is, I wish I would've applied anyways!  I am unimpressed by the design of this mural.  I feel like everything looks disjointed with how the scale shifts so much.  I feel like the artist was successful in the shifting scale of the kangaroos, because it feels like one of them is in the foreground.  In defense of this design, it is on the side of a parking garage, so I feel like designing anything would be really difficult with those grey strips breaking everything up.

Gallery at Memphis

I currently have four pieces in a show at the Memphis Street Academy Charter School.  The building itself is probably just as impressive as the show (look at that marble!). The show's opening had a great turn out and I was very impressed with all of the art.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blueprint Magazine

Well, it appears my faux fur animal hides are going to be featured in the Style Buyer's Guide section of the 2013 Summer issue of The Blueprint Magazine!  I've been informed that this issue has Justin Timberlake on the cover and will also have the cast of HBO's Girls featured in it.  This is like a real magazine that you can buy at Barnes and Noble and... the airport!  I really can't even believe it.  I better get crackin' and make a ton more skins before the issue comes out in May!

So basically my faux fur skins will replace those sneakers!  

a couple of sketches from my upholstery class

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My freshly reupholstered child-sized recliner/ONE VERY LARGE DOG

So my 10 week long upholstery class with John Price at the Portside Arts Center is finally over!  And I walked out of that class with a mighy-fine looking child-sized recliner........... but I learned a lot!  Some of the most important things I learned were:
  • All chairs, even the nicest, oldest antiques, are made incredibly poorly underneath the upholstery.  Things that should be symmetrical are not, there's probably a whole lot of wood putty holding it together, it's probably not made out of hardwood, sometimes the whole thing is held together only by staples, and even worse - sometimes cardboard is a really important part of the chair's underlying structure (like in mine... haha).  
  • Removing tacks and staples from the frame of the chair is definitely the most time consuming, labor intensive part of upholstery.
  • There's a kind of spray adhesive specifically for foam that works great and is just as good for your health as Super 77.  It's called Clearco 444.
  • The books about upholstery are that I own (bought them off Amazon a couple of years ago) are pretty outdated.  No modern upholsters still weave webbing, they just use this synthetic burlap called Sagless instead.  It's a lot less work and much less time consuming.
  • I learned about and got to use a lot of cool upholstery-specific tools: button covering machine and this weird thing that tacks down springs called a "clinch it".
  • I learned about a couple of awesome websites from some of the other students in the class: Spoonflower (you can make your own custom fabric designs and get them printed, or buy from a huge amount of pre-made real-unique fabrics) and Van Dyke's Restorers (they sell nice hardware and a ton of replica parts)
  • I now will be able to identify very very odd looking old upholstery tools at flea markets, and probably be able to get them for real cheap because nobody else will know what the hell they do.
  • Pneumatic staple guns are so much more superior than hand held ones.
  • I got more acquainted with my industrial sewing machine, as I sewed the arms at home
  • I now know where to buy large and small quantities of upholstery fabric, sprints, cotton, foam, etc in Philadelphia (Quaker and Katz, respectively).
  • It is possible to staple your finger (I didn't, but I saw it with happen to someone else with my own two eyes).

Of course I forgot to take a before picture... and process shots... but in the second to last photo you can see what the front of the back of the chair used to look like.  You can also see the fabric I used in better lighting.  I personally feel it looks MUCH better tufted and covered in tacky faux leather... 

The installation of the roof structure and painted ceiling synagogue replica in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw

I'm a little late (...probably more like a month late..), but the painted panels I worked on in Poland for the past two summers just got installed in their final resting place, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland!  It's completely amazing to see them displayed how they ought to be - curved - when I have only worked on them flat.

There's been a lot of press about it recently (as it should be!):
Here are some pictures taken by my good friend Krista, who helped install it this past February in the museum:

More photos of the installation, and all the work done in the past two summers, can be found on the project's facebook page and at

Monday, March 25, 2013

birdcage style elevated dog bowl holder

My boyfriend and I went to this antique/a-little-too-expensive-only-because-they-only-have-high-quality-furniture "thrift" store a couple of months ago and he purchased a real nice Windsor birdcage chair similar to these:

I had never heard of these kinds of chairs before, but just the fact that the word "birdcage" was in the name stuck with me.

I've been talking about how I'm going to make an elevated dog bowl holder for quite a while now, which said boyfriend reminded me about quite a few times when I failed to actually make it for 2.5 months, so a couple of weekends ago I finally cracked down and made it.  It's made out of old (aka nicely warm colored) pine boards and 3/8" oak dowels which were shellacked and waxed.  It measures 16" x 8.5" x 10", and there was a great debate about whether or not it was too tall or not.  It may be a little too tall... but it's staying this way!  If anything, I'll just make sure my next dog is a couple inches taller...

I've bought hole saws before (a 2.5" and a 4" probably) and they aren't cheap.  A hole saw as big as those bowls probably would've cost me around $80.  I used a really interesting tool to cut those holes - an adjustable hole cutting drill bit (I'm sure that's not it's technical name) that JB probably got for a buck at a flea market.  It's made for metal but.... whatever wood and metal aren't all that different.  Here's a picture of a much cleaner one than the one I used:

featured blogs

I've recently been featured in a pretty okay amount of blogs!  Here's the list I've got going:

I was featured in those blogs because they accept submissions and of course, I submitted, with the exception of  If you are looking to promote your craft/handmade/diy stuff, here are links to some other great websites that accept submissions: