Ready for a New Dumpster Diver House Tour? Meet Ellen Sall

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.

17_02_22-1-ellen-sall-dc_6644“You expect us to drive all the way to the Jersey shore?  Can we come today??”

BEADED  BEGINNINGS

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.

17_02_22-2-ellen-sall-dc_6564Ellen and husband Robert Sall in the living room of what she calls their “HOE” house – “Heaven on Earth”.

She also manipulated wire to create everything from menorahs to miniature chairs.

BORN   AGAIN   LAMPS

Then,  one day,  she fashioned a larger chair from found objects like pots,  pans,  an electric fan and a light,  and christened it her “Electric Chair”.   A brand new business – Born Again Lamps – was launched.

17_02_22-3-ellen-sall-studio-cm_9015Ellen at the entrance of her  Born Again Lamps  studio in Philadelphia.  That’s her “Tea for 2…6, 8, 10” lamp  (complete with a hat-box shade)  at left, and “Espresso Yourself” at right.

Soon she was exhibiting at the Philadelphia Furniture Show and at the Art Rider holiday craft show at New York’s Park Avenue Armory.

17_02_22-4-ellen-sall-lampsLamps just wanna’ have fun:   At left is a piece from Ellen’s “Phoney” series,  shown above a lampshade crafted of jewelry,  trinkets and stitches on wire screen.  At right is “I Can’t Make Up My Mind”,  with her lighted,  color-changing hat.

Before long,  an Ellen lamp appeared in Elle Decor,  Delta Sky magazine did a feature on her,  and people like Sally Jessy Raphael,  Reem Acra and Christopher Lowell bought her work.

KEEPING  US  IN  STITCHES

For beach days when her studio power tools are not handy,  Ellen works with bead collage,  embroidery  and gel pens on photographs, found objects and old linens – a process she likens to creating stream-of-consciousness graffiti.

17_02_22-5-ellen-sall-artAt left is an embroidery in progress.  And,  yes,  the beaded rat trap at right is actually worked on a real Victor rat trap.

THE  TOUR  STARTS  HERE

So,  click here to join our Unexpected Philadelphia photo tour of  Ellen’s art-filled home and studio.

As always,  when you arrive at our website,  you can click on any thumbnail photo to page through larger versions of all the photos.    You’ll also see a scrollable caption under each photo if you’re on a non-mobile device like a PC or laptop.

17_02_22-6-ellen-sall-studio-dc_2098Ellen in her light- and fun-filled space at the Mill Studios,  in Philadelphia’s Manayunk section.

Enjoy!

Kate & Dave

 

 

Flip the Script (Part 4): Beat the Election Blues, Dumpster Diver Style

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….

16_10_21-1-vote-tasker-side-dc_8280Twenty-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…..

16_10_28-3-window-dumpster-diversSay, haven’t I wandered through your living room?

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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

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

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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