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


Susan earned her BFA in painting and drawing at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 1996.  She painted for a few years,  but wanted to add another dimension to her art – one that would incorporate the intriguing found objects she loved to collect.

16_08_15 2 Susan Moloney Artist DC_3903Susan in the beautifully refurbished basement studio that Patrick built with help from her and a friend.   “It was a scheme against Patrick,”  she laughs.

Following a year off to think about her art,  she began creating assemblages with paint,  wood,  clay,  and found objects ranging from furniture legs,  plumbing supplies and pool balls,  to doll parts,  birdcages and glass eyes.

16_08_15 3 Susan Moloney Art CM_0205Susan’s “Rowing” assemblage was inspired by the Soundgarden song of the same name:  “Don’t know where I’m going,  I just keep on rowing…”   She built the boat and waves from found wood and added discarded treasures from a boat yard.

“I love looking for cool finds at flea markets,  thrift shops and other Dumpster Divers’ homes,  or even beside the railroad tracks,”  she says.

16_08_15 4 Susan Moloney Art CM_0322A close-up of Susan’s tenacious one-armed rower.   She creates her signature people from Sculpey clay or paper clay – a technique she learned from fellow Dumpster Diver Linda Lou Horn.


Patrick was born in Limerick,  Ireland,  and toured that country as a bass player for a heavy metal band,  before coming to America in 1993 to play with the metal band Frostbite.  Now director of plant services for the Acts retirement communities,  he plays on a traditional Irish hurling team.

Patrick on his way to a hurling match – and as he appears in Susan’s  “Sanctuary”  in his role as protector against toxic people and situations.

The couple met in 1999 at Philadelphia’s The Plough and the Stars pub,  where Patrick recalls,  “Susan was the hostess with the mostess.”  They were engaged two months later,  and married in Ireland in 2001.


They purchased their Montgomery County home in 2002 near Patrick’s job,  and started their on-going remodeling process.

16_08_15 7 Patrick & Susan Moloney DC_3761Patrick and Susan in their refurbished living room.   When Patrick took down the bad brown paneling ,  Susan meticulously replaced it with a rag-rolled paint finish.

 Patrick ripped out the kitchen’s brown metal cabinets on Day 1,  along with its drop ceiling and fluorescent lights,  and they added upcycled cabinets,  a handbuilt countertop,  and new flooring.

16_08_15 8 Patrick & Susan Moloney DC_3877The playful dining area features vintage furnishings and a white pantry cabinet that Patrick built and Susan painted.

In true Dumpster Diver fashion,  Susan notes that their furniture is a mix of trash and thrift store finds and inexpensive Ikea purchases,  expertly blended with original art by Susan and others.


So join us as we explore Susan and Patrick’s home and her treasure-filled studio…

16_08_15 9 Susan Moloney Studio DC_3929Susan’s clay modeling and sewing area.   Is any work area ever this neat – even for the photographers?

16_08_15 10 Susan Moloney Art CM_0526A detail from Susan’s  “Deadeye”  nails those days when you feel like everyone’s target.


And don’t miss the couple’s backyard greenhouse,  created from dozens of donated – and stripped, glazed and painted – window frames….

16_08_15 11 Susan Moloney Greenhouse CM_3343Susan designed the fun and practical greenhouse,  prepped the windows,  and built it with Patrick’s help.


Click here to see dozens more photos of Susan and Patrick’s home on our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website.

Once there,  you can click on any thumbnail photo to scroll through much larger versions of all the photos.   You will also see a caption under each photo if you are on a non-mobile device like a laptop or PC.

16_08_15 12 Susan Moloney Art CM_0184         16_08_15 13 Susan Moloney Koo Koo DC_3968“Captive” (left) and “Koo Koo the Bird Girl”:  Two more of Susan’s assemblages that deal with relationships,  growth and otherness.


So, did we mention that a major perk of being a Dumpster Diver is that we get to hang out in some pretty great homes and yards?   Susan and Patrick have the perfect backyard for grass-starved South Philadelphians like us….

16_08_15 14 Dave Hammock CM_9919Dave test drives the backyard hammock during a recent Dumpster Diver meeting.

 ….although Dave characteristically handled it with a bit more aplomb than Kate….

16_08_15 15 Kate Hammock DC_9922Fail!

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