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.

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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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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

Welcome to Our New Dumpster Diver House Tour: Isaiah & Juia Zagar

It’s spring house tour time!

If you follow our Unexpected Philadelphia blog and website,  you know we’ve visited  nine inspiring, art-filled homes belonging to members of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that warm and wacky band of artists and collectors who exhibit,  socialize and produce witty,  up-cycled art together.

Today we’re heading to South Street to visit the home, gallery and visionary art environment of the couple who initiated us into the Divers’ magic circle:   famed mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar and his wife Julia Zagar,  owner of South Street’s iconic Eye’s Gallery.

16_04_25 1  Julia & Isaiah Zagar DC_1778_(And,  yes,  if you guessed that Isaiah and Julia have a few mosaic walls in their home then,  well,  you guessed right….)

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Tracking Philadelphia’s Trolley Lama: Joel Spivak

Last summer,  Unexpected Philadelphia toured the home and studio of architect,  artist,  author and community activist Joel Spivak and his artist wife Diane Keller.

16_04_11 1 Joel Spivak & Diane Keller DC_4227(Joel and Diane in their art-and-imagination-filled South Philadelphia home.)

Joel,  a co-founder of that merry band of found-object artists known as the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  is also the inspired originator of Philadelphia’s National Hot Dog Month celebration, leading tours to classic hot dog stands and giving away hundreds of hot dogs each July to confused-but-happy pedestrians around the city.

INTRODUCING  THE  TROLLEY  LAMA

But Joel has another avocation:   Known among the Dumpster Divers as the “Trolley Lama”,  Joel is the co-author of two photo-packed books on Philadelphia trolleys and trains:

16_04_11 2 Joel Spivak Books(“Philadelphia Trolleys” and “Philadelphia Railroads” by Allen Meyers and Joel Spivak for Arcadia Publishing)

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In Memory of Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton: The Blue Grotto

Last fall we introduced you to the art-filled home and fabulous gardens of Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Randy Dalton and his longtime partner Michael Martin Mills.

16_02_10 15 Michael & Randy 8560(Michael Martin Mills,  left,  and Randy Dalton in their always summery dining room.)

And,  yes,  you can still tour their house and garden on our website,  and read the blog post about them here.

RANDY’S  BLUE  GROTTO

But Randy had a magical surprise up his always blue sleeve – one we planned to interview him about later this year:   His Blue Grotto art environment.

16_02_10 1 Randy Dalton Blue Grotto CM_7495(Randy’s Blue Grotto contains hundreds of blue lights,  sculptures,  found objects, 
photos and more,  in support of his  “Do Blue!”  campaign for the arts)

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Ready for a fun new Dumpster Diver house tour? Meet Ellen Benson…

It’s tour time again!

Over the past 8 months,  Unexpected Philadelphia has taken you to 8 inspiring, art-filled homes belonging to the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that warm and wacky band of artists and collectors who exhibit,  socialize and produce witty,  up-cycled art together.

Today we’re heading to the home and studio of Ellen Benson,  sister of Divers’ co-founder Neil Benson,  whose house we’ve already visited.

16_02_05 01 Ellen Benson Wall DC_2211(Ellen in her living room with what she modestly calls “The Wall”.
About a third of the work is hers; the rest hails from around the globe.)

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Dumpster Divers at Dupree Gallery Thru Jan. 30

If you follow our Unexpected Philadelphia website,  you’ve toured eight wildly creative homes and studios belonging to members of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that merry band of found-object artists who prove  (in the words of co-founder Neil Benson)  that “Trash is simply a failure of imagination.”

16_01_12 01 Diver Dupree Show DC_1152(Divers take to the walls of the Dupree Gallery.)

And now through January 30,  you can experience their work firsthand at Philadelphia’s Dupree Gallery in Queen Village.

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