Why The Long Face?

Sad to be leaving Pittsburgh.

As you can see, I had another night with Brigitte and we went to the Pittsburgh institution, Sarris, where we had the most gigantic banana splits I've ever seen. Delicious! I'm not really sure why I look so glum in that shot, but I'll put it down to being sad about leaving what has become a favourite city where I've made a lot of friends.

Sarris is a remarkable place in the suburbs of Pittsburgh which sells not only very fine ice-cream but also fantastic chocolate-covered salty pretzels and any chocolate you can imagine. It is somewhere between Wonka's chocolate factory, the soda-bar in "Happy Days" and a trashy mall It houses a neon rainbow, a chocolate castle and sells a menagerie of soft toys...

 

Neon Rainbow

 

Chocolate Castle

 

If You Go Down To The Woods Today

 

One of the brilliant things about Pittsburgh is the interconnectedness of the craft scene there. It is a very big and dynamic city with a tiny population; it has frequently been voted "the most liveable city in the USA" and part of this is down to the presence of several major universities, the availability of relatively inexpensive property and the presence of several very important museums, such as the Carnegie and Frick museums. The more recent additions of places such as The Warhol, The Mattress Factory and The Society for Contemporary Craft have given cutting-edge artists places to show their work and all of these institutions have very active education programmes, many of which are available on reduced-price or free scholarships. 

Brigitte is, of course, one of the movers and shakers in this interconnected group and when I was introduced to James Thurman and his new wife, Umut Demirguc Thurman, it was unsurprising to hear that they would be having breakfast with her the next day! In a strange turn of coincidences, James was at school with Julie, who is the landlady of the rooming-house in which I was staying in Bloomfield, one of the more arts-based suburbs of the city. We went out for a meal to the excellent Church Brewhouse restaurant, a restaurant and micro-brewery in an old church.

 

The Church Brewhouse

My last class at the SCC was also this week. It was a class for people between school and university who were wanting to build up their jewellery skills. Yet again, I was amazed at how much these people wanted to learn and we covered loads of skills, from soldering tricks and tips to accurate pattern transfer on the first day, then stone-setting with various techniques on the second. 

 

Final Class

During the time that this class was running, I had a chance to finish the piece I started last week, my Pittsburgh Piece made from screws, washers and white-metal wire picked up in the city. It needs a bit more of a polish, which I will do when I get back to my own workshop.

 

Pittsburgh Piece - 1

 

Pittsburgh Piece - 3

 


 

Carrie Furnaces, Braddock - 09

 

On the very last day - the day after the banana splits with Brigitte - I went to visit a disused blast-furnace with the husband of my non-metalsmithing friend, Elizabeth, the esteemed historian Kirk Savage. Carrie Furnaces are now preserved as a national landmark but have been left much as they were when they were shut down in the 1980s and although the visit was an organised tour, there is nothing tarted up about the decaying buildings and it is possible to wander about fairly freely within the tour route. The great thing about the tour was that we were taken round by someone who had worked most of his adult life in the place until it shut, which gave an immediacy to the place, a real feel for what the factory had been like when operational:

 

Carrie Furnaces, Braddock - 60

 Gary, our tour guide.

 

Carrie Furnaces, Braddock - 44

Our urban explorations should have continued in the afternoon with a visit to the now-disused Westinghouse particle accelerator, the first particle accelerator ever built but a monumental thunderstorm which lasted several hours - and allowed me my first chance to hear, see and smell lightning striking at close quarters as it struck the garden fence opposite my house - put a stop to that.

 

Fortunately, I'll be back again next year.

 

Bessemer St

 


 

Home again! Back to Brighton and the usual rubbish I photograph...

 

Liberace Ken

Views: 39

Tags: alexander, brigitte, contemporary, craft, dauvit, jewellery, jewelry, justified sinner, martin, pa, More…pennsylvania, pittsburgh, scc, society, us, usa

Comment

You need to be a member of crafthaus to add comments!

Join crafthaus

Comment by The Justified Sinner on July 23, 2012 at 6:52am

I could never eat another one. Not before next year, anyway!

Comment by Brigitte Martin on July 22, 2012 at 5:40pm
You are hilarious. And you have certainly seen places in Pittsburgh that I STILL need to visit!

Readers: The real reason Dauvit looks so glum vis-a-vis the Banana Split: I challenged him to an eating contest. I have never been able to finish off that particular ice cream dish (though I came close). I challenged Dauvit to finish his, and if that should happen, I'd by him another one. The prospect of this gluttonic experience made him strongly reconsider returning to Pittsburgh. Ever.

A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

Arriving at this message is the goal of this traveling exhibition opening at the SNAG conference in Boston 2015, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA - Aug 19 - Sept 20, 2015, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX - Oct 16 - Nov 15, 2015, Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD - Dec 11, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016, Brooklyn Metal Works, Brooklyn, NY - Feb 5 - Mar 4, 2016, Thomas Mann's Gallery I/O April 1 - June 25, 2016.

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....

OFF TO THE RACES:

Rachel and Brigitte got started on their own cooperation. Follow along and comment.

Latest Activity

Stefanis Alexandres liked chesley williams's photo
4 hours ago
Stefanis Alexandres liked chesley williams's photo
4 hours ago
The Justified Sinner commented on The Justified Sinner's blog post Texas!
"Indeed! I am already looking forward to seeing you all again."
6 hours ago
Leisa Rich posted photos
8 hours ago
James Thurman commented on The Justified Sinner's blog post Texas!
"We're so happy that you had such a wonderful visit!  It was truly jam-packed with everything that we have to offer!  Many new connections and lots of potential for future adventures..."
8 hours ago
James Thurman liked The Justified Sinner's blog post Texas!
9 hours ago
Leisa Rich posted a status
"Thank you to Crafthaus for providing the opportunity to apply for the micro project grant. I am so excited to have won for Invisible:VisAble"
10 hours ago
Leisa Rich commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post The Wondrous World of Nelly Saunier: Gaultier’s Plumassière Extraordinaire
"These are so very fabulous! "
10 hours ago
Emily Shaffer posted a status
"I've started a blog to share my journey with jewelry artist, Cara Romano. Check it out at www.contemporarycraftforward.com"
yesterday
Emily Hickman liked Robert Villamagna's photo
yesterday
The Justified Sinner posted a blog post

Texas!

I've just got back from almost a week in the Lone Star State which I was visiting on the invitation of my friends and colleagues, James Thurman and Umut Demirguc Thurman. What a trip! Based in Denton, Dallas, the main reason for my visit was to speak to the students at the University of North Texas and to work with them on a couple of practical workshops. Before…See More
yesterday
Rameen Ahmed posted a photo
yesterday

Instill - Material Matters 2014 - The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, UK

INSTILL- material matters offers an opportunity to experience the recent works by MA postgraduates from The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, one of the most important and internationally renowned contemporary jewelry programs in Europe.

Crafthaus has been privileged to show work from the graduating jewelry classes of the Birmingham City University for the past 5 years in a row. Thank you Professor Astfalck for this wonderful opportunity!

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service