For more on Handmade Philly, visit handmadephilly.wordpress.com.
For the full photo shoot click here.
Easy Recipe for Collaborative Casserole
by Lynne Rabchuck
3 cups of creative juices, freshly squeezed from at least two artists
8 oz. “variety pack” of mutable matter (This recipe calls for fabric, yarn, wire, shoes, wigs, makeup, and sundry accessories)
A pinch of photographers
A sprinkling of sunlight and shadow
Models of many shapes and sizes
Prep Time: Variable – 15 minutes to 15 years
Directions: Combine all ingredients and bake for at least 5 hours. Serves everyone. (for more creative recipes contact firstname.lastname@example.org) ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
by Jim Tressel
I arrived at the address at the designated time and found myself confronted by a warehouse upon which an elaborate mural had been painted. My eyes couldn’t make sense of the designs, but a cryptic meaning flowed in over my widening irises, then ebbed out again. I rang a buzzer by the door and waited. After some moments a woman’s face appeared behind the reinforced glass. She wore a hat like a strawberry cut in half, point pointing upward. Little metallic hairs radiated from the surface of the hat and shifted mysteriously and synchronously. She opened the door and, with a flourish of her hand, indicated that I should follow the yellow line painted on the floor. I followed the line up some steps and through a dim hallway, past immense metal doors which seemed to hide mammoth blocks of silence. I followed the yellow line through several turnings and finally up a set of narrow wooden stairs. The room awaited me.
“Are you afraid,” she asked…she pulled the straps of the straitjacket tight behind my back.
“Yes,” I said. She smiled as she lowered the rubber gas mask over my ears and down around the back of my head.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “They are only fancies. They can’t hurt you. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. You are to become one of them for a while, to keep them company.”
I nodded my head and heard my breath rasp through the mask’s filters. The door opened, then closed. A warm electric light suffused the room, and they were everywhere visible, climbing the walls like ivy, hanging from the ceiling like bats, growing like strange mushrooms and brilliant sea anemones from the floor. My gaze seemed to animate them, and soon the room was filled with a quiet shuffling and mewing. The fancies closed in upon me from all directions, draping their tendrils over my shoulders, twining themselves around my legs, and caressing my forehead through the rubber mask. My fear grew at the strangeness of it all and my inability to move, to ward them off in any way. I stood there trembling as they gathered around me like a multicolored cloud. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. The fancies seemed to crawl gently into my mind. They crawled into my memory of the dingy subway ride I had just taken. They covered the subway car’s harsh lines with their curvy brilliance. They followed me through my recent memory, spilling out of windows and doorways, bubbling from dented trashcans, snaked gloriously from distant smokestacks. Soon I felt my fear dissolve. As they whispered to me, I was no longer confined. Though still straitjacketed, I had broken free of myself. ￼￼￼
Rachel Blythe Udell (Soft sculpture installation) has been working primarily with fibrous materials for the past five years. Her work addresses how yarns, fabrics, clothing, and other materials can be used not only as formal elements to inform texture, shape, fluidity and plasticity, but also to evoke emotions that are sometimes difficult to put into words. She lives and works in Philadelphia. More of her artwork can be seen at her website: www.racheludell.com.
Lynne Rabchuk: “Unstudied, I cannot read patterns, but experience “happy accidents” when working with fabric. Modifying and re-imagining articles from my closet, I end up with unique creations I’m proud to call my own. The brand is called Visible Seams and celebrates mistakes as well as a handmade rather than mass-produced aesthetic.” This photo depicts a few pieces of a complete tree ensemble which includes moss panties, bark and leaf bras, leafy tank and sleeved-shirt, bark mini skirt, thigh-highs and garter, grassy jacket and hood, branches, and leaf mask; all of which fit in a zippered duffel backpack resembling a tree trunk. Contact: email@example.com
Ellen Bonett (installation design, photographer) member of Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia Chapter and Midwives Collective: I want to engage my audience. My art is not just a reflection of myself; it is a culmination of universal ideas and perceptions translated into different media. The public plays a necessary role in the translation, because my work is mainly abstract. If the audience can assimilate a personal reflection in the work, then I have achieved my objective of inspiring community interaction. I am gradually combining all of the elements that excite me in my work – recognizable 3D objects, abstract forms and color into larger installations.
Ruth Schanbacher (Creative Director) is drawn to fantasy costuming and sets, as an extension of her love of soft sculpture, toy design and plushies. The events she produces have a strong participatory community component. So much so, that sometimes there is no “audience” because everyone is involved at some point. Almost everything Ruth does is collaborative. For her, art is all about interacting with people and motivating them. She categorizes her style as contemporary primitive folk art. Member of Women’s Caucus for Art. Community Coordinator for Handmade Philly. More of her artwork can be seen at her website: www.ruthschanbacher.com
Allison Ostertag: I’m a photographer of non-human subjects: birds, plants, landscapes, animals, bikes, art cars and buildings so this event was a great way to try new things and play around with willing people in a fun environment. All of my photos deal with bright color and composition and the handmaking movement is something I’m very passionate about, so this photoshoot was right up my alley. I enjoyed the break from working alone to collaborate with other makers and think creatively. I didn’t know what to expect going into the shoot, and when I realized we were going to dress up in whatever outfits and accessories as we could put together, I was psyched. It shows you what amazing things can happen when you get motivated creative people together.
Jeanne Lombardo is a medium explorer, whose favorite creative outlets are jewelry, wire art, decoupage, mosaics and mixed media. She makes unique housewares and party ware which are available for purchase at Square Peg Artery and Salvage in Philadelphia.
Dana Henry has a split center mind. Daytime, she uses her rational, optimistic mind as a writer, reporting on urban sustainability and the related handmade movement in Philadelphia. At night, she indulges her perverse, twisted mind in the creation of flesh eating gnomes, pornographic purple monkeys and washed-up, brandy sipping show bunnies made out of aluminum and polymer clay.
Veronica Selig is a stylist focusing on sustainable, eco-friendly, vintage clothing. For the photo-shoot, she provided personal styling: hair and makeup and some of the wardrobe and accessories. www.v-luxe.com
Jim Tressel: Mystic. Writer. Musician, contributor to sound projects Horsey and Science & Justice. Shelly Rabuse: From her Main Line studio, designer Shelly Rabuse creates unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry - drawing inspiration from current trends and the world around her. Working with a wide array of materials - from silver and gold to silk, semi-precious stones, and vintage finds - each piece of jewelry takes on a life of its own. Many of the elements she works with are limited edition - from vintage crystals, pins, and pendants to beads purchased on trips to Europe. Samples of her work can be viewed at www.no27collection.com
Taryn Zychal (Product designer) is the mastermind behind Recycling Zychal, an upcycling company exclusively dedicated to rescuing and repurposing broken umbrellas into stylish and functional softgoods. The line consists of items for the home, ladies, men, cats and most notably, dogs, for which she makes her wildly popular rain coats. The Upcycled Umbrella Dog Rain Coats have been featured on national media outlets such as The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Treehugger, Inhabitat, Fox News, GRID Magazine, CityPaper, Philadelphia Weekly as well as many local Philadelphia news resources. Recycling Zychal is planning to expand the line to even more practical and fashionable products this year which will all be made using broken umbrellas that are collected or donated. To donate your broken umbrella, host a broken umbrella collection bin or to learn more, please visit www.recyclingzychal.com