When Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum moved to Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall in 2008, they asked city artist Leo Sewell to build a replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch and arm, which had originally been displayed in the park during the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
Leo obliged the children’s museum – with a fun-filled, 40-foot rendition that features everything from toys and skis, to discarded license plates and road signs.
Leo Sewell’s Lady Liberty tribute took three years to plan and construct. (Photo courtesy of Leo Sewell.)
PLAYING IN THE (JUNK) YARD
Leo’s introduction to the joys of junk came early, when he explored the dump near his childhood home. His dad taught him to use tools, and soon he was shaping and assembling industrial discards into wonderful new objects.
Leo constructs a flamingo in his studio. The bird and its partner now grace the lobby of a Florida business building.
A major perk of hosting our Unexpected Philadelphia website is that we get to run happily amok – with cameras in hand – through the homes and studios of our fellow Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, that merry band of artists who have played, exhibited and produced witty, found-object art together since 1992.
So when “Dumpster Diva” Ellen Sall invited us to photograph her South Jersey home last August, we had our beach clothes packed before the phone call ended.
“You expect us to drive all the way to the Jersey shore? Can we come today??”
Ellen and her mom, Bernice Rosenfeld, began making beaded jewelry together in the early 1980s, under the name “By Bernel”. By the mid-1990s, Ellen had struck out on her own, making Fimo clay earrings and pendants that incorporated objects like beads and her own watercolor drawings.
Ellen and husband Robert Sall in the living room of what she calls their “HOE” house – “Heaven on Earth”.
Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or New Year’s to all — and welcome to everyone who recently subscribed to our blog.
SO, HEY – WHERE DID WE GO?
After batting out a record number of blog posts and photos during our pre-election window campaign, we decided to take a holiday break to drag out the old Christmas tree, whip up a spectacular Christmas feast (okay, so we actually ordered it pre-cooked from Wegman’s – we know our limits!), and play in our art studio.
DON’T MISS THOSE HOLIDAY LIGHTS
We’ll be back in late January, but don’t miss South Philadelphia’s great holiday light shows if you haven’t toured them already — next week’s weather will be perfect for strolling…
Over the past several posts, we’ve told you about our new South Philadelphia window display, a do-it-yourself remedy for the pre-election blues….
Twenty-eight smiling artists light up our windows at E. Passyunk & Tasker to remind you that the apocalypse isn’t quite here yet.
And, yes, regular readers of our Unexpected Philadelphia blog and website might recognize a few familiar faces…..
Say, haven’t I wandered through your living room?
This year, we struggled with finding a new topic for our annual holiday window display.
We’d already displayed photos of our South Philadelphia neighbors and of local celebrities from the 1960s….
What was left? South Philadelphia restaurant owners? Current local celebrities? Favorite Philly athletes? (Way too controversial!)
But one topic kept intruding in our heads.
ELECTION STRESS DISORDER
Like many people, we’ve been beaten down by the soul-draining divisiveness in the country this year.
Violence. Name-calling. Corruption. Terrorism. Racial and religious divides. Following the news – particularly the election news – you’d think that the country and the entire human race were sliding down that greased pole to hell.
“Uhm, Dave, do you have the comics?”
And, yes, it even has a name: Election Stress Disorder, and everyone we knew had symptoms.
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.
Patrick and Susan Moloney with one of their ever-ready coffee makers
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.
Linda 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