Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Car Free Fridays Success!

We are happy to share the success of our friends at Bike PGH! Their Car Free Fridays initiative has been hugely successful! I am reposted their blog below. Hope to see you all in the bike lane in 2011.

Thank you for supporting Car Free Fridays in 2010!

At BikePGH we’re really happy with the results. A special thanks to the organization and businesses. It is exciting for us to be part of an initiative that involves so many different organizations and businesses with the mutual goal of promoting not driving alone to work. that supported Car Free Fridays this year. 
Be sure to check out the City Paper’s Car Free Fridays webcast. We also started collecting some metrics this year.
  • PARTICIPANTS: 1158 people participated in Car Free Fridays events and activities. 795 people took the Car Free Friday pledge. 178 signed up online.
  • ACTIVITIES: 115 organizations and businesses supported 38 activities in 8 neighborhoods and municipalities.
  • SUPPORT: 15 funding organizations, $54,950 of in-kind support, including raffle prizes worth $2500.
Next year we will launch several initiatives that will encourage even more people to try commuting by foot, bike, transit and car-sharing.
  1. Bike Friendly Employers will launch on February 9th when we will recognize the programs first honorees at our annual membership meeting. This service assists our region’s employers in creating a workplace culture and environment that is friendly to their current bike-riding employees and that encourages even more people to try commuting by bike.
  2. We will launch the long-awaited Car Free Calculator to track the calories burned, CO2e kept out of our atmosphere, and the money we save as individuals and as a region by replacing car trips with biking and walking trips.
  3. We are working with the City of Pittsburgh to plan for, design and install 20 more miles of on-street bike facilities.

The staff of BikePGH thanks you for a great 2010 and we look forward to an even better 2011.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vessels that Echo the Natural World

I just finished installing a new exhibition in SCC's Satellite Gallery in downtown Pittsburgh. The show is called Ron Layport: Vessel Narratives and includes 12 pieces by local artist Ron Layport. 

I have been installing exhibitions at this gallery for about two years. It's a strange but very neat place, part underground, part above ground. It's filled with light and always bustling with foot traffic as it is in the lobby of the Steel Plaza T-station. I love being at the gallery, which is basically a 3-foot deep window display ( there is no public access), because I can work quietly and at my own pace to hang shows. It kind of feels private when behind the glass, but it is an incredibly pubic space. I can watch all manner of folks strolling, or running, to and from the train, and they can watch me hammer nails and adjust lighting. When I need to take a step back and look at the display I end up talking with passers-by and they always tell me how much they enjoy the shows here, how much it brightens their morning to be able to see such amazing art on their daily commute. 

Most of the time I am installing alone. Last week I had the pleasure of the artist's company for two full days. Ron was just as floored by the space as I am—it exceeded his expectations. The fact that all kinds of people pass by, not just museum goers, was not lost on him and he seemed to really enjoy chatting with folks as he used his hands to direct me in lighting his work. I can say with out a doubt that this current show is one of the most spectacular I have installed in this space. The works take full advantage of the light and the space. Below are some choice shots from the show. The full exhibition is also on our website where you can read more about the artist, a fellow Pittsburgher and all around awesome guy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Never New Furniture....What a Find!

This past Friday I went to the I Made It Market in South Side with some friends. While there were many amazing crafters tucked into every nook of the old Ann Taylor shop (even in the dressing rooms!), there was only one booth that attracted my attention over and over again. As I stood by the door to leave, after perusing the fair and not finding quite what I was looking for, I paused. For the first time, after attending many a craft fair, I found something I could not live another day with out. Maybe it was timing, maybe there was something in the air, but most likely it is all due to the amazing, whimsical, and rustic work of Never New Furniture

I snagged a sweet shelf made from a found Coca Cola crate, a quirky little drawer filled with coasters sliced from either a very skinny tree or a very fat branch, and a three-hooked coat hanger made from old wood trim, whose chipping and deteriorated paint was given new life with some subtle color and a coat of varnish to seal in the sexy cracks. 

Zakaria Tefft, a self-taught carpenter, and Meghan McCaffery, an illustrator, work as a team to make one-of-a-kind work from reused materials that is artistic, modern, and functional. You can find their work at WildCard or on their website.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jewelry N'at

I am SUPER excited about a ring I commissioned from Jewelry N'at, a local jeweler who makes Pittsburgh inspired fine jewelry for men and women. And so my excitement leads me to share with all of you the wonders of this work!

Her work has been featured in the September 2010 issue of Pittsburgh Fashion Magazine and is available at the Heinz History Center and Mattress Factory. Even better, though, she will be at the I Made It Market on Saturday, December 4th in the South Side. Check out her brand new inventory or order something custom guaranteed to be ready by the holidays!

My custom "Yinz" ring

Classy Cufflinks

Belt Buckles that make a statement!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Community Service Project: Knit and Crochet Trail Markers!

Come help out and hang out at SCC on November 20th from 10 am - 2 pm for this community service project because it is going to be awesome!

SCC is partnering with artist Alicia Kachmar, the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, and Knit One for a Knit and Crochet Meet-Up in SCC’s main galleries to benefit the Knit Trail Markers Project.

This project offers a unique opportunity for Pittsburgher’s to participate in community service for the city’s newest Regional Park. Knitters and crocheters of all skill levels are welcome to participate in making biodegradable trails markers in red, yellow, and blue. Artist Alicia Kachmar will be on hand to provide instruction and assistance to visitors. For more information visit the Facebook Page!

This event it sponsored in part by Knit One, “A Closely Knit Community.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Living a Crafted Life

By Sharon Massey, SCC Store Manager

In October I went with a few other SCC staff members to the “Crafting a Nation” conference in Washington, DC.  It was great to be immersed in craft dialogue for two full days, and there were a range of topics that have been on my mind since returning home to Pittsburgh. 
One of the panel discussions was titled Living the Crafted Life, which is something I have been trying to do for several years without even realizing it, and now I want to try and make an effort to continue.  Jane Milosch, one of the panelists and a former curator of the Renwick Gallery, mentioned that for every 3 commercially-made items we buy (such as clothing and jewelry), we could buy one artist-made object. We can adorn ourselves with unique, high-quality items, rather than cheaply-made, widely-available things.  
Bryan Peterson, Shaman Brooch, found metal, copper, mixed media
As a jeweler, I already practice this with my jewelry, and I am lucky to have acquired a nice collection of jewelry over the years.  Sure, I could have bought a lot more objects at a cheaper price, but I’m sure most of it would have broken or gone out of style by now.  Instead, I get to take pleasure every morning in choosing a unique piece of jewelry made by a real person, someone who in most cases I have met and whose work will never go out of style.  At some point I can decide to either give this jewelry to a friend or family member, or donate it to a museum collection, but either way I’m not contributing to the cycle of wasteful consumption that our society has begun to take for granted.
Martina Lantin
I practice this idea in other aspects of my life, for example, almost all of my dishes, cups, and mugs are artist-made.  Most of it doesn’t match, but I prefer it that way, because I know each piece was made with care by an individual, and each piece has a story.  I think my soup tastes better out of the ceramic bowl made by a former student, it is more fun to make a martini using my handmade wooden olive fork, and my evening tea is more enjoyable in the mug I bought from an exhibition in NC. 
I bet I get a lot more compliments on my handmade recycled leather handbag than anyone gets for their trendy Coach bag.  Where is that Coach bag going to be in 2 years anyway?  If you care enough to buy things based on commercial labeling, you probably also feel like you have to keep up with the latest trends, subscribing to the cycle of continually purchasing and discarding objects, a victim of style obsolescence.  
Wendy Stevens
The Living a Crafted Life conversation gave me validation for the path I am choosing, and while I have surrounded myself with craft mostly for the pleasure of owning and using handmade objects, this dialogue reinforced the environmental and ethical reasons for living a crafted life.  If you’re reading this blog you probably already agree with me, but I wish that this idea would find popularity with mainstream Americans.  It could significantly change our economy, as well as our environmental impact, and as a bonus, everything would look a lot more aesthetically appealing! 
I plan to continue to live a crafted life, and I’m going to try and make improvements, such as buying more handmade clothing.  For now, I’m educating by example, but I would like to figure out a way to tell more people about the joy of living a crafted life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

IheartPGH writes about Handmade Nation!

Visit IheartPGH to watch the trailer!

Written by Lindsay

Handmade Nation Screening, Baltimore, MD
Handmade Nation is a documentary film about the rise of all things handmade and crafty by artist and filmmaker Faythe Levine.   I first learned about this film at the Craft Congress – a meeting of craft fair organizers – that was first held in Pittsburgh in 2007.  You can read more about the Craft Congress in this New York Times article from December 16, 2007.  Again my path crossed with this film at the Art Activist & Equity symposium which was held at the New Hazlett Theater in 2008.

Jennifer Baron and Faythe Levine
Faythe Levine gave a presentation about the inspiration for and her experience working on the film and a book about the project that really stuck a chord with me.  And even inspired me to take a filmmaking class at Pittsburgh Filmmakers last summer.  I left that symposium with a ton of knowledge – Elizabeth Perry gave an amazing presentation on Twitter that made the whole thing make sense.  And hearing Faythe Levine talk about her experience of filmmaking – I think she said something like – and I could be off on this because it was over two years ago  – there was a story to be told about this handmade movement – there was more to it than people just making things and selling them at craft fairs.  Her thoughts really resonated with me as my experience with this blog has been about stories – there are so many stories to be told about not only Pittsburgh but blogging as well.
Faythe Levine will be here in Pittsburgh for a screening of the film on November 6.  This event is cosponsored by the Society for Contemporary Craft and Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  The current exhibit at the society for contemporary craft is – DIY a revolution in Handicrafts.
There is also a Handmade Nation book as well"

Monday, November 1, 2010

One last reminder, I swear!

This Weekend!! Finally, it's here!

HANDMADE NATION Comes to Pittsburgh! Saturday, November 6, 2010, 2pm $8

The documentary film Handmade Nation will be screening at the Harris Theater in downtown Pittsburgh. Presented as part of the Three Rivers Film Festival, Handmade Nation explores the rise of D.I.Y. and the new wave of art, craft, and design. Tickets for this screening are only $8 and include a post-film reception with Director Faythe Levine at SCC's main gallery.

Supported in part by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Handmade Arcade!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brooch of Honor

Check out this great blog review of Robert Ebendorf - an amazing jeweler, teach and person. Bob has done a lot with SCC - including being part of our permanent collection - and we are so happy for him receiving this big award!

Robert Ebendorf, She likes long cut brooch

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Handmade Arcade will be held in Spring 2011!

If you are a Pittsburgher you probably look forward to doing a lot of your holiday shopping at the Handmade Arcade, typically held in November or December. Sadly, this event has been postponed until Spring of 2011. Don't fret! They have a new website that provides a great list of upcoming craft fairs and great places to shop handmade around town!

And don't forget to check back to find out when and where Handmade Arcade will be held in 2011!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bike Meet-Up

We're having a Bike Meet-Up tomorrow at our gallery in the Strip from 12 - 4 pm. 2100 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh PA 15201. We will be joined by Bike PGH, Dirt Rag Magazine and artist Casey Droege. Also Right By Nature is donating dozens of Banana's for everyone to enjoy. MMMM...good!

Bike Hat by Casey Droege!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two RE-POSTs featuring New Works by Kate Mac Dowell

I wanted to re-post these blogs that I found on Hi Fructose Magazine and My Love for You is a Stampede of Horses. These blogs highlight some of the newest work by ceramic artist Kate MacDowell, who is currently being featured in DIY: A Revolution in Handicraft at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh.

Hi Fructose Magazine Blog:

Written by Ken    Friday, 08 October 2010 19:06

Since we last saw sculptor Kate MacDowell back in Hi-Fructose Vol. 15, the artist, well regarded for her worldly travels, has been busy working on a couple exhibitions, all opening this month.  With pieces now on view at Art London with bo-lee gallery, Showoff Paris with Galerie Vanessa Quang and the compelling-looking 'Animal Instinct: Allegory, Allusion, and Anthropomorphism' at the John Michael Koehler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  MacDowell recently sent us a first-look at a few of the pieces that will be on display throughout this month, view them here on Hi-Fructose.




New Work: Kate MacDowell.

I noticed one of my favorite sculptors, Kate MacDowell had new work on the Hi-Fructose blog on Friday. I asked her to share with us some of her newer work as well. As always, Kate was as helpful and kind as ever not only sending over newer work but sharing with us her current installation "Clay Pigeons". Inspired in part by target shooting and the mass extinction of passenger pigeons.
And some shots from a few different angles of her new works:
Entangled (back).
Entangled. (top)
Only You Can Prevent.
Only You Can Prevent (side).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crocheted Coral Reef

Introducing Sharon Massey, Store Manager at the Society for Contemporary Craft.
 Last weekend I went with a few other SCC staff members to the “Crafting a Nation” conference in Washington, DC.  It was great to be immersed in craft dialogue for two full days, and there were a range of topics that have been on my mind since returning home to Pittsburgh. 
One of my favorite topics was discussed during the Crafty Science conversation—the “Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project.”  This is an installation that combines a traditional feminine handicraft (crochet), environmental awareness (the endangerment of the world’s coral reefs), math (hyberbolic geometry), and community (the reefs are crocheted by any interested community members).  The result is a huge, beautiful, handmade installation of a yarn coral reef.  The project was created by sisters Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute for Figuring, and has been created as “satellite” reefs in cities across the US, as well as Europe, Australia, and Africa.
"Crochet Coral and Anemone Garden" with sea slug by Marianne Midelburg.
Photos © The IFF by Alyssa Gorelick.
As a novice crochet enthusiast myself, I was excited by the images of the reefs, complete with bizarre color combinations and complex variations on the hyberbolic patterns, creating endless shapes and forms.  I was also excited by the images of community involvement that the project generates—grandmothers crocheting with their grandchildren, couples crocheting together, artists working next to people to never realized they could contribute to a work of art.  I am inspired to get my hooks out this winter and start crocheting some hyberbolic forms!  Who knows, maybe one day Pittsburgh will host a hyberbolic crochet coral reef.
Orange brain coral with urchins.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Re-Post: Featured Crafters Ursula Minervini and Jon Poliszuk

I am really excited to re-post this interview by Baltimore By Hand with Ursula Minervini and Jon Poliszuk of Pellinore Press. Why? Because many years ago when I was a young thing going to college in Baltimore I was given the opportunity to curate shows for a couple of months at a coffee shop. My good friend Larry Scott, an amazing artist, wanted a break from it so he could focus on his work. I had the distinct pleasure of inviting Ursula and her friend Molly Winston to have a show. They were both attending the Maryland Institute College of Art and studying printmaking at the time. It is wonderful to see her having such success doing what she loves! I'm not ignoring Jon, I just don't know him. So kudos to Pellinore Press! Keep up the good work!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cycle to the Strip District

Since 2009, BikePGH’s Car Free Fridays has been challenging commuters to find alternative transportation options, focusing on one neighborhood or municipality every month. Just a bike ride or walk away from SCC, Lawrenceville will be highlighted during the month of October.  To coincide with Bike PGH's Lawrenceville feature, SCC is hosting a Bike meet-up at our main gallery space on October 23, from 12 - 4 pm. Representatives by Bike PGH and Dirt Rag magazine will be present to chat with visitors about their programs, products, and cycling in Western PA. Fiber artist Casey DrogeThe Store. will be in the gallery demonstrating the creation of her amazing, handmade bike accessories, available for sale along with a wealth of other bike-related craft items in The Store.

Ceramic plate with bike decal by Justin Rothshank

Other great places to visit during your bike trip to the Strip:

Pittsburgh Public Market: Located between 16th and 17th Streets on Smallman Street in the Strip. Everything you need and want all in one place. Come and get it - the goodness of locally grown food, fresh-baked goods, handmade crafts - everything’s here.

Enrico Biscotti: Great restaurant and bakery with to-die-for giant cookies for only $1

Penn Mac: 2012 Penn Avenue, everything Italian including huge vats of oil and vinegar that you can pour yourself.
Wholey's: Fish and meat market, only for the hardcore grocery store shopper.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This  is a complete re-post from the I Made It Market blog!!! What a great review by Nina!

If you haven’t had a chance already you should definitely go and check out the DIY : A REVOLUTION IN HANDICRAFTS at the Society of Contemporary Craft in the Strip District.  Seriously CHECK IT OUT!! It opened a few Fridays ago and I made it to the opening ( there were some YUMMY CUPCAKES) and I haven’t had a chance to write about it. Luckily, the show is up until March 26, 2011. It is a MAJOR  exhibition which includes works by 15 contemporary artists from the US, Canada, and England. It is not just handmade goods but items/art that explore issues relating to politics, environmentalism, community and a redefining of a producer/consumer relationship.
I loved SCC’s alternative exhibition space EAT: An Art Space About Food. The work shown is by Lauren Venell of Sweet Meats. This San Francisco designer  formed Sweet Meats to share her concern with environmental and social responsibility.
recycled dyeing ingredients.
DIY is not a new hipster thing – it evolved out of the need for cost-saving lifestyles. DIY (or “Do It Yourself”) emerged in the US as a concept in the 1950s and took root as a definitive subculture in urban centers during the 1970s and could be identified as an international movement by the 1990s.
While there are  AMAZING work from all over- Tugboat Printshop has their AMAZING piece 
“America the Beautiful” in it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It says, "I want to be formal, but I'm here to party."

Have you ever thought to yourself, "gosh dern it, I've got nothing to wear." Well, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you may want to give this place a look.  I found Alt.Kilts on the Dude Craft blog. They make custom kilts and kilt accessories for men, women and children. They also support Give Kids the World - a charity that helps kids with serious illnesses. The designs are great and the ability to choose different things like pockets or utility loops and choose your fabric makes these really special, plus the price is very reasonable.

I rather love this accessory belt. 

Fabulous Denim and Leather Kilt