Our Lucky 13th Dumpster Diver House Tour: Carol & Elliot Cole

What happens when a longtime potter with a background in teaching and television takes a papermaking class?

If it’s Philadelphia area artist Carol Cole – with a love of multicultural art and a penchant for found objects – the results probably won’t fit in your stationery drawer….

16_09_16-1-carol-cole-dc_6024Carol’s  “Turn of the Century: 500 Familiar Objects from 1999”  is made of paper pulp imbedded with – yes – 500 real objects ranging from a wristwatch to a wrench.   This outdoor version is cast in fiberglass.


Today,  our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website takes you on a new photo tour – this time to the intriguing home, garden, and studio of Carol Cole and her husband Elliot.

16_09_16-2-elliott-carol-cole-dc_6047Elliot & Carol in their garden

Carol,  as you’ve probably guessed, is a member of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that inspired band of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty,  found-object art together since 1992.

And that 1993 papermaking class led to a whole new direction:   Making large-scale pieces that evoke the ancient,  indigenous art she’s loved since her Tucson childhood.

  16_09_16-3-carol-cole-cm_4186           16_09_16-4-carol-cole-cm_4184

Resembling monumental stone artifacts,  these handmade paper-pulp pieces can be easily lifted by one person.

Carol incorporates everyday objects selected for their color and archetypal shape in her work,  using them in multiples and out of their usual context.


Metal springs,  mulch balls,  floor brushes,  bike tires and buttons are only a few of the unexpected elements in Carol’s work.


 So click here to tour Carol and Elliot’s beautifully detailed American Craftsman home on our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website….

16_09_16-6-carol-cole-cm_4424The art-decked dining room is ready to greet friends.   Their richly colored dinnerware is by former Philadelphia potter Marge Margulies.

 And don’t miss their lush perennial garden,  just a stone’s throw from the Philadelphia border….

16_09_16-7-carol-cole-dc_6202The converted back porch – now a sunny dining and work area – offers an ever-changing view of the garden and the wildlife attracted to the generous feed that Elliot scatters.

We’ll also visit Carol’s airy new Germantown studio….

16_09_16-8carol-cole-cm_4250After 34 years at the now-closed artist studios at 915 Spring Garden Street,  first as a potter,  Carol is happily resettled at the 20 Herman Street Studios.

 As always,  when you arrive at our website,  simply click on any thumbnail photo to scroll through much larger versions of all the photos.   Each large photo also comes with a scrollable caption that shows on non-mobile devices like laptops or desktop computers.

16_09_16-9carol-cole-dc_5978“XXI Century Altarpiece” is Carol’s thoroughly modern take on a medieval tradition.


Want to experience Carol’s art and studio firsthand?

You can meet her during the citywide POST  (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours)  on October 8-9,  when she’ll welcome visitors to her second floor studio at 20 Herman Street in Germantown.   Hours are noon to 6 pm both days.

16_09_16-10-carol-cole-dc_5905Carol sketching ideas in her studio….

Visit Carol’s website or the POST 2016 site for more details.  (And, yes, Dumpster Divers Betsy Alexander and Burnell Yow! will also be hosting an open studio then at their Raven’s Wing Studio, 2301 Naudain Street.)

See you there!

Kate & Dave
Unexpected Philadelphia





It’s Dumpster Diver House Tour Time: Meet Susan & Patrick Moloney

A major perk of belonging to the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that merry band of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty,  found-object art together since 1992 – is that we get to hang out in the area’s most creative homes.

Today our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website takes you on another Dumpster Diver photo tour – this time to the inspiring home, studio, and garden of Susan and Patrick Moloney.

16_08_15 1 Susan & Patrick Moloney DC_3787Patrick and Susan Moloney with one of their ever-ready coffee makers

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The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 12): South Phila. Movers & Shakers

This past year,  we’ve told you the continuing story of a magical 1960s photo album compiled by South Philadelphia nightlife writer and photographer Arthur Tavani.

And we’ve shared dozens of Art’s celebrity photos on our Unexpected Philadelphia website.


Today,  we’re publishing a new set of images showing mid-century business owners and government officials from right here in the neighborhood – and we need your help identifying everyone.

16_07_30 1 060 Verna Trombetta EspositoArt Tavani shakes hands with local photographer Carl Verna.  Mildred Trombetta was the editor and publisher of the South Philadelphia American newspaper,  for which Art was a columnist.  Louis Esposito  (right)  still reigns as a second-generation owner of Esposito’s Meats in the Italian Market.

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Live from the Magic Gardens: Linda Lou Horn’s Cast of Curiosities

Linda Lou Horn always dreamed of becoming an artist.

So when the long-time nurse,  elder care activist,  and gestalt psychotherapist decided to radically change up her life at age 50,  she marked the occasion with a two-mile free fall from an airplane.

16_07_08 1 Linda Lou Horn DC_5561Linda Lou with “Going Nowhere Fast” in her polka-dotted dining room.

 Now the much-exhibited, found-object artist – whose art-and-imagination-filled home we profiled last summer – has landed in a one-woman show at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens through August 28. Continue reading

A Return to the Garden: Michael Martin Mills & Randy Dalton

It’s been five years since we left the Jersey shore for South Philadelphia,  and we have only one regret.   And,  no,  it isn’t the loss of parking or even the beach,  which is always there waiting for us.

It’s our beloved garden,  complete with luscious Kwanzan cherry and Hinoki cypress trees,  bamboo,  river rocks,  dragonflies and those cheeky,  incorrigible weeds.

Fortunately,  we know people – and our blog gives us the perfect excuse to invade their Philadelphia retreats.

16_06_19 1 Michael Martin Mills Randy Dalton DC_8650Michael Martin Mills and Randy Dalton in their summer garden,  2015.

Last fall,  we introduced you to the magical, art-filled home and garden of Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton and his partner Michael Martin Mills. Continue reading

Time for a New Dumpster Diver House Tour: Meet Len & Judy Davidson

Ready for another great artist’s house tour?   Today we’ll meet Philadelphian Len Davidson,  owner of Davidson Neon,  and his wife Judy.

Len is a neon artist and restorer,  writer,  collector,  20th-century cultural observer,  and co-founder of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that merry band of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty,  found-object art together since 1992.

16_06_11 1 Len & Judy Davidson DC_4741(Always up for fun:  Judy and Len Davidson)

Judy Davidson,  his partner in adventure for 50 years,  is a retired counselor familiar to 35 years of students at the Community College of Philadelphia. Continue reading

The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 11C): Linda Hoffman & Bobby Rydell

(Continued from Thursday,  May 26.   Click here to see Part 1,  or here to see Part 2….)

It was 1964,  and still-shy Linda Ferrino  (now Linda Hoffman)  had just been appointed Bobby Rydell’s National Fan Club President.

16_05_31 1 Bobby Rydell Linda Hoffman 2014(Linda Ferrino Hoffman and Bobby Rydell in 2014)

So when Bobby was invited to appear on the nationally syndicated Mike Douglas Show,  she did what any responsible chief executive would do:  She had her mom call school and say she’d be out sick that day.

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