Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Philadelphia Craft Show

AYLOR and I went to the Philadelphia Art Museum Craft Show on Sunday. This is a highly competitive, juried show of museum-quality crafts. Not many $10.95 hand-thrown coffee mugs, but lots and lots of $1200 pots $650 jewlery, and $4000 baskets.

I thought of our own Cyborg Mermaid when I saw the brooch on the left. Didn't think to get the name of the artist, sorry.

I've been to the Craft Show before, but it's been several years The last time I went, I was amazed by the amount of decorative but unwearable clothing: woven bark gloves, or stained glass ties, for example. None of that this year. Major categories seemed to be baskets of various types (most decorative, rather than usable), jewelry, ceramics, art glass, art clothing, and figures or dolls. A little furniture, a little sculpture, and decorative fiber, and that was about it for categories.

I got fewer pictures than I wanted, and I'm not all that happy with the ones I got, mainly I think because a lot of the beauty of these objects is in their wonderful, almost bottomless detail, and the camera doesn't capture that well, especially not the 3-D quality of it.


The workbench on the right looks like a normal, somewhat messy workbench, but all the tools and other items on it are ceramic sculpture. Everyone finds this kind of trompe l'oeil fascinating, and the booth was very crowded. This technique reminded me a little of Claes Oldenburg's 'soft sculptures' from the 1960's.

Ray Gross Studio

This artist does decorative work in fiber, basically very fine macramé, including abstract works, 'paintings' like the one on left (I think that's a reproduction of a Frieda Kahlo or Rousseau painting, but I can't place which), and reproductions of various orchid species. Marvelous detail and texture, that the camera doesn't capture well.

Ed Bing Lee


L. Balombini
,, of Blue Hill, Maine, makes fanciful figures using polymers, built around basket-like vessels.

There was a lot of figurative art at the show, and 'dolls' made of a variety of materials. Some used natural material, such as twigs, for their visible frames. Others were filled with other, smaller dolls, leading to something with the flavor of a Hieronymus Bosch painting: skeletal figures, half-clothed in flesh, with other creatures interpenetrating their bodies, but with a flavor of whimsy, rather than horror.

I kept noticing how often the human figure and the human face kept recurring, in jewelry, in dolls, in sculpture. I really think that humans find nothing as interesting as the human face and the human form.

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