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

Friday, September 24, 2010

National Sewing Month

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month?! Apparently this special designation came into being in 1982 with a decree by President Ronald Reagan. 

September is a time to empower the home sewer in all of us, a time to appreciate the hand-stiched, and the money saved by doing it yourself. Now is a time to look at those bare windows and say ENOUGH! A time to take that bag of good will clothing and cut, baste, applique and edge yourself a new something. And don't limit yourself to sewing, there is a whole world of needlecraft out there. 

The DIY and Alternative Craft fiber scenes have been going strong for quite a while. From craft fairs, to stitch and bitch circles, folks love to use fiber. Over the past few years it has become plain that many of these alternative makers are moving into the Studio Craft realm. Employing a variety of media and techiques suc as embroidery, cross stitching, latch hook, and other needlecraft's, these makers are exploring contemporary art practice the is socially engaged.  Their works reflect contemporary issues of globalization and the environment and explore personal questions of identity and sexuality. 

Two makers that particularly exemplify this are Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching and Julie Jackson of Subversive  Cross Stitch. Sublime Stitching was founded by Austin-based artist Jenny Hart in response to what she considered an overabundance of outdated embroidery patters and complex instructions. Instead of waiting for the craft industry to produce something new, Hart took the bull by the horns and created her own patterns and all-in-one non-traditional embroidery kits. 

For Julie Jackson, Subversive Cross Stitch began as a form of anger management. Pairing traditional, decorative cross-stitch imagery of flowers, hearts, bunnies and birds with phrases such as "Get Lost!" and "Life Sucks, The You Die." Jackson's kits allow crafters to take a more sarcastic, unconventional approach to an otherwise traditional craft. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Feast for the Eyes!

By  Laurel Coniglio, SCC Volunteer

Watch the tourists at the Penn Mac cheese counter on a Saturday morning. It seems that everyone knows that The Strip is Pittsburgh’s place to eat well, including us neighborhood folk who love good food. As often as possible, I come down and shop for groceries, get a hot sauce slathered vegetarian burrito at Reyna’s, and head into Enrico Biscotti for a sweet treat.  

And the food fun doesn’t stop when I come in to work at the Society for Contemporary Craft. You see, we take our position at the end of the historic Produce Terminal building very seriously, and we have dedicated an entire gallery space, EAT, to art about food.

The Produce Terminal was the heart of Pittsburgh’s wholesale produce marketplace and now that the Pittsburgh Public Market has revived that history to some extent it is befitting that we use this space to feature artists who focus on food in their work, connecting our artistic community with the neighborhood’s historical purpose.

The first time I walked into the SCC I noticed that they had a nice kitchenette in the gallery next to the office. Unfortunately, it looked as if they had a raging Friday-afternoon staff party and had neglected to bring the garbage bins out.There were beer bottles and soda bottles everywhere, as well as pizza boxes, Chinese takeout, and a half-eaten box of Hostess chocolate doughnuts. Looks like they had fun, I thought to myself, but as I leaned in closer I saw that all of the “trash” in the kitchen was actually handmade! 

All of the bottles, which looked like plastic, were painstakingly blown out of bright green glass, down to the hand-drawn product labels with perfectly minute lettering. The entire space, filled with an artist’s comment on what we consider garbage, was thought out to the tiniest detail, in flame-worked glass, paper, and cardboard. This installation, titled The United State of America: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Crappiness, highlighted the work of internationally recognized local glass artist Matt Eskuche and addressed issues of individual wastefulness and irresponsibility.

The current EAT gallery exhibition, Stuffed Full, is in conjunction with the new main exhibition, DIY: A Revolution in Handicrafts. Featuring the work of California artist Lauren Venell of Sweet Meats, visitors will come to find a glass front, refrigerated case filled with meat...plush meat, that is. Lauren uses 100% recycled fleece and dyeing ingredients to created stuffed meat pillows such as pork chops, bacon, ham-bone and steak. In this installation the labeling and pricing of the products is done according the actual total cost of the meat being represented, including the environmental, human health, and other hidden costs associated with manufacturing and agriculture.  

While retaining a sense of humor that draws in the viewer, these installations are serious comments on issues such as food safety and security, consumerism and consumption, and human’s relationship to nature and agriculture.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's only 3:30 and we're ready!

Wow, getting ready for an art opening is always hectic. From labels, to touch-up paint, lighting and signage, there are a million things to remember! We have a very organized system for approaching all these task that we call a Punch List.
Punch List

We were lucky enough to have participating artist Allyson Mitchell in town all week as she built her installation, Hungry Purse. 

The show looks great, it's always such a relief. Hope to see you there. The opening is from 5:30 - 8pm in our location at 2100 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Can the Strip Get Any Tastier?

It sure can! As you may know, SCC is located on one end of a long warehouse lovingly called the Fruit Auction Building. Our building spans from 16th St to 21 St, where we are. The Strip is home to lot of great food vendors and right on the loading dock of our building we've had La Prima Espresso, pizza and wholesale fruit and veggies. But now there is more. The Pittsburgh Public Market is having its soft opening this weekend and it is located at the opposite side of the dock as SCC in the Fruit Auction Building. It's Grand Opening! on Friday September 10 (the  same night as our opening!).

Neighbors in the Strip transformed this space into an incredible market with all kinds of vendors! Here is a little bit about Pittsburgh Public Markets,

"Pittsburgh’s last public market house was demolished in 1965 to make way for development on the North Side, greatly reducing the opportunities for local farmers,
vendors and artisans to showcase their wares and for consumers to enjoy the freshness, variety and uniqueness of the food and merchandise grown and created in our region. Seasonal farmers markets, craft fairs and, to a large extent, the Strip itself, have helped to fill this gap, but even more was needed."

Vendors will include places we know and love, like the East End Brewery and La Prima Espresso .