Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Philadelphia Story, Part II: Around 40 Shades of Gray

As we mentioned this past Sunday, there was just too much ground to cover in one posting, so we're taking another swing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show today. Longtime readers know we like to showcase gray hair periodically. At first we thought we'd 'save' several of the artists and collectors for a separate 'Fifty Shades of Gray' posting at some unspecified time in the future, but neither of us really liked separating the people from the experience, so we decided against that. Besides, this is a favorite topic of ours.

Before we even got inside, this was one of the women who greeted us at the door.

Here's Deborah Kermode, who runs Kermode Woodturning together with her husband, Jerry.

Here's Biba Schutz, wearing one of her many fabulous creations.

Here's Dona Look, who, along with her husband Ken Loeber, makes wonderfully delicate jewelry. (She's wearing one of their creations.)

Jennifer Heller Zurick, with two of her willow bark baskets in the background.

We kept running into Candace (left) and Debbie (right). Debbie bought the Katie Mawson anemone scarf referred to in the previous post.

Our demographic - aka Women of a Certain Age - tends to flock to craft shows. Once we get over the "have to have what everyone else has" mindset of our youth, we learn to seek out what we really want. So it's no surprise that there is a smaller (though noticeable) youth contingent at craft shows. At places like this, we WOACA are in our element, with our "peeps", our "posse", so to speak.

As we were chatting with English artisan Annie Neill,we met local artist Diane Littman, who had a long mane of great grey hair.

Jean ran into her friends Laurie Feinberg and her charming husband, who are both collectors and appreciators of art and hand crafts. They had just gotten back from the SOFA (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art) exhibition in Chicago where they were told that SOFA New York (a highlight of our spring calendar for at least three years running) has been cancelled, in what seems to be a worrisome trend among the more serious art shows.

We met this wonderful duo at Joy Raskin's booth. While we were admiring their style, they were admiring Joy's beautifully crafted utensils and agreed that her email moniker (spoonladyjr) suited her perfectly.

We last met these three ladies at the New York Arts of the Pacific Asia Show where they were trying on modern silver Thai necklaces from Lee Chinalai that we coveted (or rather, covet). It was fun to talk to them again, and it was obvious they were having  a blast.

Elaine Unsicker designs pieces that resemble finely knit, slinky chain mail. The silver color of her metal top highlights Elaine's short grey haircut. Her gentleman friend is wearing one of her ties.

We ran into metalsmith Christy Klug in her signature platinum pixie cut, wearing one of her pieces - a Japanese-influenced neck plate whose center line references the horizon line on the ocean.

We met Betty Moore, a fellow craft lover, and fell in love with her look. When we complimented her on her stylish knitted headwear, she said it was made for her by a friend who had since passed. What a wonderful memento.

We had to show you Betty's hair, too.

Several times we crossed paths with this great threesome, each wearing a very interesting piece of jewelry. On the far left is Patti Bleicher, who owns Gallery Loupe in Montclair, New Jersey, known for its style-forward innovative work. The woman next to Patti made the terrific brooch she's wearing.  We were both intrigued by the necklace on the lady on the right. It resembled little train cars filled with giant red plastic lumps of coal. Our description is odd, but the necklace was great.

Did we mention that the show's proximity to Reading Terminal Market is just one of the many reasons we keep coming back? Jam-packed with restaurants, carry out and green grocers, the space is a treat. Food offerings run the gamut from authentic Pennsylvania Dutch desserts (shoe-fly pie and sand tart cookies) to French crepes, from Sushi to Indian, from Chinese to East Coast seafood. Although we usually manage to find common ground (Jean doesn't eat meat; Valerie doesn't eat crustaceans), this time, we split up. Valerie had crepes at a French eaterie that mirrors stereotypical French dining in the two most important ways: the great food and the condescending service. Jean had the lobster and crab bisque at the counter of Pearl's Oyster Bar and engaged in two of her favorite past-times: people watching and eating! While walking back to meet Valerie and buy some Pennsylvania Dutch Whoopie pies to take home, she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw this sign in one of the markets.  It was the spit and image of DeeDee, her crazy Bombay rescue cat, she of the big head, great round yellow eyes and peek-a-boo personality.  Delightful!

Raise your hand if you thought our opening picture looked a bit dubious. Good for you! If you are old enough to remember Duck and Cover, the government's plan (plan???) for the protection of children at school should the Russians nuke us, you might also remember Pravda, the Daily News of the then-Soviet Union. Pravda means The Truth - not Daily News - which was kind of funny because, as was pointed out to Americans over and over again back then, Pravda often printed photographs that were patently not the truth. Raise your hand again if you remember your newspaper running before and after Russian photographs - before and after major retouching. So the above is our attempt at a Pravda photo. As usual, we didn't take enough photos of ourselves together (where is Annie Liebovitz when we need her?), so we photoshopped this one. See if you can find any "errors" in the picture, and write us to let us know. (Hint: Sunday's picture was The Truth. No, really. It was.) [This is how we find out if you read the blog, or just look at the pictures.]


  1. WOW! I would love to see that show. The necklace on Biba Schutz is awesome.

  2. Is there a prize for immediately noticing that you had smushed two photos together? You need to hire a minion to follow you around just to take photos of the two of you. I always enjoy when you showcase the many styles of grey hair - it gives me inspiration for that time when (or if..) I decide to stop colouring mine.
    I think I would have gone a bit nuts over all the fabulous jewellery at this show.

  3. I noticed! (and I read the whole thing). Still thought it was a cool photo:)

  4. What's a little centre seam between friends? I love these grey-haired highlights from the show so much!

    I have never coloured mine and enjoy my super-cropped-and-spiky 'do - it's a privilege to often be able to often forget that grey hair is still so much a "thing," and its celebration is wonderful.

  5. What fun. I want to go next year. I lived in Philly for 20 years and since our loft was a block away from the Reading Terminal, at 10th Street, I did all my shopping there. Ah --- Bassett's ice cream.