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: 38

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.

Rule the World!

Crafthaus Online Exhibition

RULE THE WORLD

Friends of Carlotta Gallery, Zuerich, Switzerland

What are the adornments of dictators, despots, and the plain delusional? What do they need in order to let their real personalities shine through? What tools do tyrants have to show that they are in charge? See for yourself!

Image above:

Grandpa Wooley

"LOOK", Brooch
Internet photocopy of Gerard Depardieu and Vladimir Putin,
Plexiglas, fabric, imitation leather, yarn, wood, silver brooch

Latest Activity

Joy Ude liked Amber O'Harrow's discussion Day 4 at Arrowmont
12 minutes ago
2Roses posted a photo

2Roses_Secrets_ofthe_Heart

Over the last 20 years the State of California has consistently cut funding each year for arts education in its public schools. Several years ago, arts were eliminated all together. The reaction to this from the artistic community was to raise funds…
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen shared Brigitte Martin's blog post on Facebook
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen shared Brigitte Martin's blog post on Twitter
yesterday
Susan Lee Stephen liked Brigitte Martin's blog post Daniel Agdag - Sketching with Cardboard
yesterday
Randi Harper liked Amber O'Harrow's discussion Last day at Arrowmont
Saturday
Brigitte Martin replied to Amber O'Harrow's discussion Last day at Arrowmont in the group Retracing my steps: Explorations in Fiber Sculpture at Arrowmont
"Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Amber. "
Friday
Amber O'Harrow added 2 discussions to the group Retracing my steps: Explorations in Fiber Sculpture at Arrowmont
Friday
Kelly Marie Novak posted photos
Friday
Brigitte Martin posted a blog post

Jenny Ayrton (UK) - Molten Wonderlands

Jenny Ayrton captures miniature wonderlands in molten glass. Based on often overlooked everyday scenes she creates stage-sets upon which viewers may project their own story. A full-time mum six-days of the week she takes inspiration from the domestic world, often finding that the little things trigger the best ideas; A…See More
Friday
Alena Stukavcova Dolezalova posted a photo

On Screen

Ring, sterling silver, bronze, pyritquartz
Friday
Laura Roberson liked Angelina Ciulik's discussion The MASSC Jewelry Challenge
Thursday
Kelly Marie Novak is now friends with Kimberly Jackson and Kathleen Garrison
Thursday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
"What would people think? Making a ceremonial object for a museum exhibition from unwanted, ordinary "pushke boxes" seemed irreverent."
Thursday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
""Tin, Tzedakah and Seeing the Ordinary" can change the direction of your work. http://j.mp/1nY2CXp"
Thursday
Brigitte Martin liked Amber O'Harrow's discussion Day 4 at Arrowmont
Thursday

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service