Category archives: people

One day I was shooting outside of Talula’s table, a lady walking towards me with a big warm smile : ” Hi, you must be Jie? I’m Bri from Fig Kennett.” That’s how I met Brianna, Director & Managing Editor of Fig Kennett Magazine.

 

What did you do before you joined Fig? 

I have a background in Corporate Marketing and spent my early career in the Banking industry doing Online Advertising. When I had my first baby, I wholeheartedly stepped away from full time work and became a stay-at-home mom. It was such a beautiful and fulfilling time for me. I cherish those years and consider them integral to shaping me into the person I am today. It was during those years at home that I decided to switch careers and pursue something creative that would make my heart skip a beat. I fell in love with photography & graphic design and started my own photography business just before joining the Fig team. I love that new seasons of life bring new opportunities. It is my current job with Fig that feels so full circle for me. I can apply all my previous skills and passions into one role. More than that, it feels incredibly rewarding to play a small part in helping the economy of this town that I love. It’s truly a privilege to help showcase all the talented business owners and community members that make Kennett so special. 
 I  love the Fig’s new issue–the hospitality issue, where did your idea come from? Do you have a theme for each issue?
The idea for the Hospitality theme came from my everyday simple interactions with people around town, especially the small business owners themselves. I was inspired by the teamwork and encouragement I saw among the business owners. Everyone helps each other out. Everyone wants the greater good for Kennett Square. And I was also inspired by the simple kindness of people around town. Doors are held open for you. Tables are shared among strangers. Recently someone offered me their parking spot because their meter had been paid up for an extra hour. I felt like this Spring issue of Fig needed to celebrate the homey, small town hospitality that I’ve experienced. 
Yes we do have a theme for each issue and we publish four times a year. Fig’s main pillars are local Dining, Shopping, Arts & Events. So our themes drill down on one of those areas each time in a fun and creative way. 
What makes Fig Magazine different from others on the market?
We are a hyper-local publication whose mission is ultimately to help Kennett Square thrive. We feel strongly that communities can be transformed through powerful design and creative communication. So Fig acts as a lookbook for Kennett Square. Our goal is to lift up the independent small businesses that give Kennett its personality and make it unique. If you live on the Main Line and you read Fig Kennett, we want you to get excited about visiting. Or if you live on Meredith Street in the borough, we want you to be proud that you live, work and entertain here. There are no other publications in this area that have this “love local” mission so prominently in mind with each issue.
What do you like most about Kennett Square?
I’m a small town girl. So I love that I can walk into Philter and see three people I know on any given day. I also love that Longwood Gardens is practically in my back yard. May I never take for granted all the beauty that surrounds me.

What is you typical workday look like? 
A typical day starts by putting my kids on the bus and then heading in to work at my State Street office. I turn on some music (probably Sia, Chris Stapleton or old school Michael Jackson if I’m in the mood to sing) and I’ll work on content creation, advertising proposals, design approvals, and meet with my advertisers. And everyday includes a walk around town to chat with business owners, grab something to eat, and snap a few photos for Fig’s social media channels. I like to end my day by making a list of to-do’s for the next morning because this job requires a lot of thoughtful planning. I feel like every task is an investment in Kennett Square, and that’s what motivates me! 

 

Miriam is a Moroccan-American Mom. She loves cooking and baking.I met her through my friend Estelle’s  instagram, we chatted  online about this photo shoot, finally we had made it happen. The Moroccan almond cookie and Mint tea were served to welcome me at her house. That’s my first time to try them, I have to say I absolutely love them.

In Kennett Square, I have met people from all over the world. It’s such a wonderful place to live.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a wife a mom of two very busy kids, a Moroccan cuisine foodie and a lover of  everything and anything Moroccan. I’m very passionate about Moroccan cuisine and  culture. And love to share my passion with everyone.

I was born and raised in Casablanca Morocco and since I can remember cooking was a very important aspect in my life. My moms made sure I was always present along side with her and my late grandmother in the kitchen. If I wasn’t cooking I was watching and learning. Most of the  authentic dishes I learned and I can say I master now is because of her. I still call her to ask about how to make this or what spices I can add to a specific dish.

In 2008 I moved to the United States to marry the love of my life and my cooking fan  number one, and ever since it has been a life full of adventures and lots of food. It  wasn’t easy at the beginning leaving everything behind and starting a new life thousands of miles away, and there are still times that I get home sick but I always find comfort and refuge in the kitchen. Baking and cooking are for me more of a therapy for  the soul than just fuel for the body. But I can say now that I’m so lucky and proud to call two different part of this earth HOME. Living in the United States has also influenced my taste in cooking. I enjoy a good burger or a Philly cheese steak from time to time, I  would make a Moroccan koufta (well seasoned ground beef) into a juicy burger and there I have the best of both worlds.

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What’s your favorite Moroccan dish to cook and why?

It’s very hard for me to choose a favorite Moroccan dish; it always depends on my mood and what I crave at the moment. Sometimes it’s the sweet and savory chicken pastilla: a festive dish served on special happy occasions. On Fridays I like to make the Moroccan national dish which is Couscous with lamb or beef and veggies, my kids love it. On cold days I like to make hearty dishes like Rfissa: a dish made with chicken, lentils and tons of onions on top of shredded crispy, flaky break) and sometimes a simple lentils soup or harirra soup can do.

But I really have a soft spot for sweets. I love baking and there are a lot of varieties of cookies and a mix of ingredients is used in Moroccan pastries, for instance: the orange blossom water, rose water, dates, almonds and all sort of nuts and just the right amount of sugar.

I like to make the Moroccan almond (ghriba) cookie. it is one of my favorite, It’s soft, chewy and full of flavors.

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Can you give us the recipe of this Moroccan cookie? 

Moroccan almond cookies (ghriba dellouz) 
2 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1tbs butter at room temperature 
1 whole egg and 2 yolks 

2tbs flour
1 tbs apricot jam
Zest of 1 orange or 1 lemon 
1/8 tsp salt

     1 cup powdered sugar for coating.

      And some orange blossom water to coat our hands

Preheat the oven to 375 f

In a food processor mix the almond flour with sugar and salt until well blended.
In a large bowl combine the almond sugar mixture, flour, the baking powder, lemon or orange zest, the butter and the apricot jam, mix very well with a spatula or your hands. I love working with my hands. Coat your hands with some orange water blossom and form balls about 1inch each.

Coat them generously with the powdered sugar. Place in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, press slightly with your thumb. Don’t flatten them just a slight push.

Bake for 10 to 12 mins the cookies are done when they form a nice crinkles and take a round nice shape without browning.

 Remove from the oven and let cool before transferring to a cooling rack.

Enjoy with some freshly made Moroccan mint tea.

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How long have you been living in Kennett Square?

We have been living in Kennett Square for almost 7 years now and we love it here. It’s is very safe and diverse and I feel very welcomed and accepted. I made so many friends here and I’m happy our kids are making childhood memories in this town.  Kennett square keeps getting better year after year. New shops and restaurants have opened, incredible coffee places, wonderful houses and neighborhoods, and a great school system. Here in Kennett square I really feel the sense of community and belonging and I couldn’t have asked for more.

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How’s the life in Casablanca different from that of Kennett Square?

There is no way to compare the two. They are different worlds and each one of them holds a special place in my heart.

Casablanca in a sense represents my past that I will never forget. Living and growing in Casablanca among my family and friends is what shaped the person I’m today. It is sure a big city in progress with its own idiosyncrasies and challenges but to me it’s perfect the way it is. Every time I talk about Casablanca I get an emotional melancholic feeling because it’s where my family is, where all my memories and adventures are stamped in every corner and every street.

Kennett Square is home now. It’s my present and it’s where I’m making memories with my kids. It’s for sure a smaller town compared to Casablanca which is the biggest city in Morocco, but it has its own charm and history.  Casablanca is a coastal city. I lived fifteen minutes away from the beach and I used to go to the shore at least once a week. I remember my dad taking us for breakfast every Sunday in one of the so many coffee shops and restaurants in the shore followed by a long walk to admire the ocean and get a nice breeze away from the polluted city.  Now instead of going to the shore I take the kids to The Longwood gardens in Kennett square and it’s just a piece of heaven on earth. The scenery is just amazing and that’s something we lacked in Casablanca. There are almost no green spaces in the city.      

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What do you think of Kennett Square?

I love Kennett square and we are so happy that we chose to purchase our first home in this town and to raise our family in a safe place. Kennett Square is very pretty with rolling hills and lots of farms where I can find a lot of local products to use in my cooking. There are Lots of local amenities and very diverse restaurants. What I like most about Kennett square is all the talented people that live in this town and I’m so happy that I got to know them either via Instagram or Facebook or met them in person, like my sweet friend and blogger Estelle stacy. She was one of the people that encouraged me to follow my passion for cooking and I thank her for featuring me in some of her videos posted on her blog.

You can follow Miriam’s instagram: @everything_moroccan

 

 

  1. Iza said:
    What an awesome representation ! Stunning beauty!! Inside and out!!
    Bravo!!!
    December 15, 2016  5:35 pm
    Reply

Ellen is an artist who works with designers and their clients to create custom art.

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What is your earliest memory of creating art?

My first memory of creating art was when I was in Kindergarten.  I don’t remember the details, but I made a little cat sculpture out of (and this is going to date me) the little wax bottles that had colored sugar water in them…like little soda bottles…Well, I formed a little cat out of the wax, and I remember my teacher, Miss Kathy, put it on display and made a big deal about it to my mother.
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Why did you choose acrylic as your medium?

When I first started painting, my children were little.  I needed a medium that dried quick, cleaned up easily, and did not smell toxic.  Now that they are older, and I have more time, maybe I will experiment with other media.
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What is your creative process like?

 There are two different versions of my creative process…but, since I paint on wood, they both start with a trip to the Home Depot.  I pick out a nice piece of Birch plywood, have it cut to size, then purchase 1 x 1’s to build out a frame.  There is glueing, nailing and sanding that follows! Then I get to work!
When I paint for the sake of creating…anything can inspire me…a photo, the sky, my pets, even just a color I see that day can trigger the creative process.  I try to have canvases built….but if I don’t….I must make a run to the Home Depot…I build…and then I immerse myself in the painting.  Nothing else gets done, and the world could be falling apart around me…I continue on.  I really never know what I will create…I have a bit of an idea…but am always surprised when I am done.
When I am painting for a client…the process is a bit different.  There is at least one, if not multiple conversations with the client (and their interior decorator if they are using one). I go to their home with some paintings I already have, so they can get a better feel for my style, and to determine size, color likes, dislikes…etc.  I like get to know them (my paintings are like my babies…I want to make sure they are in good homes!).  Once in their home, I get a sense of their style….do they want an abstract, more of a landscape….anything else that inspires them….what colors will work with their decor…etc.  Once we decide on all that…..I make a trip to the Home Depot…and the process begins!!!
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What’s been your greatest artistic success? 

 I consider every time someone says they love my work, to be a great artistic success! 
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Do you ever experience creative blocks?
Yes! I find that if I think too much about how the piece should look…I hit a wall. When I just let me gut guide me, I am always pleasantly surprised! 
 

 

“Stan Smokler’s steel sculptures recall the visual wit and cunning assemblages of Picasso and Gonzalez, as well as the American voices of David Smith and Richard Stankiewicz.”–http://www.stansmokler.com

 

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Did you upbringing influence your work?

I am from the Bronx, New York and I believe that the fast pace combined with my learning experience of my youth influenced my work…the use of material / recycled was always at my disposal.

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Where do you get your inspiration ? 

I was inspired by nature and its forms….the breathing and wrestling of the material.

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What are your favorite sculptures you have made? 

My work has  always been with me…  I do not have a favorite work…   a process….from my early work; to work I plan and build today….

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What are you working on now? 

I am working on a figure that stands 8 feet tall…gears …lots of them….!!!   lots of rust !!…. the movement will be a figure that billows and blows from the sides……..I am working on several works as I travel in time.  

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What do you like doing when you are not making sculptures?

And speaking about travel….that is the gift to either see new places / old places or read about places that make me wonder…I will research the place and begin a new work….

Meet Kelly, she is a Lawyer, Columnist, also a Blogger for Social Stylate.

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What was your dream job when you were a kid?

My dream job was to become a pediatrician. However, as a kid, I did not realize the plot twist looming in my future that I affectionately refer to as “Organic Chemistry”. Yikes.

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You are a lawyer, blogger, columnist, what’s next?

I am in the midst of changing careers! After many years of practicing family law and custody mediation, I decided to go back to school for a graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health. I am excited to help children and families transition through the divorce process from a therapeutic perspective, as opposed to a litigious one. 
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When and how did you start  your career in so many fields?
My family and friends like to tease me that I have as many jobs as there are hours in a day (which, at times, feels like an accurate statement!). However, at this point in my life, I am used to juggling a multitude of tasks. The “counselor” in me likes to help people and the “fashionista” in me loves to be surrounded by beautiful clothes, shoes, handbags, and make-up! I can’t possibly choose a favorite…so, I try to do it all. 
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What’s your typical day look like?
I rarely have a typical day! It’s possible for me to be facilitating a custody mediation in the morning, taking photos at No.109 Shop or Houppette for social media posts in the afternoon, and counseling in the early evening. In between those jobs, I try my best to be a good wife and mother. Although, if you were to look in my laundry room right now, you can tell that housekeeping is not on my list of daily chores. 
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What is your 5 tips for time management in a multitasking world?

Ugh, perfecting the art of multitasking is ever-evolving . While I am by NO means an expert, here are my best suggestions:
  • Write it down -I can’t survive without my Day Planner. I like to physically record my schedule with paper and pencil, as opposed to keeping notes on my phone. 
  • Exercise – This may sound silly, but, making a workout a priority is critical, in my opinion. It is easy to let the drudgery of daily life get in the way of self care. But, a good sweat is as important for your mind as it is for your body. 
  • Sleep – When I take on too much, I have a tendency to stay up really late trying to get everything accomplished. The result? I am cranky and totally unproductive the next day. Forcing myself to get a minimum of seven hours is a worthwhile mission. 
  • Delegate – Sometimes it is difficult to relinquish control to others (especially if you are a perfectionist, like I am). However, learning how to ask and accept help from others is important. 
  • Have FUN – Embrace your busyness! If you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you may as well be having a good time doing it. I work with some fabulous people who challenge and energize me and it makes the crazy schedule all worthwhile. 

This is Mrs Godfrey, she is my daughter’s first grade teacher in Greenwood Elementary school. When I first time met her in her classroom, I saw a lot of her past students came back to visit. At that time I didn’t know her, but I could see how much she loves her job and the students.

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How long have you been teaching?

I started teaching in 1989 as a long term substitute in a sixth grade classroom shortly after getting my teaching certificate from the University of Pittsburgh. I went to Allegheny College where I majored in Psychology. I student taught in fifth grade. I have taught preschool, kindergarten, first, fourth and sixth grades. I have a Master’s Degree and a principal’s certificate in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. I have been an assistant principal as well.

 

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What was your dream job as a kid?

Like a lot of educators, I dreamed of being a teacher. I played school with the neighborhood kids and always had a chalkboard handy. That may be the reason I still use the chalkboard in my classroom from time to time. I have always been drawn to children, and I would often hang out with my mom who worked in a school. While she worked, I would help the teachers. I especially liked when they would get new books. I often imagined myself as a writer. I still do. When I’m planning lessons, I think about writing a book that would be just right for the class. Unfortunately, I haven’t written all of the books I have created in my mind yet, but someday, I hope to make that my job as well. Sometimes, I have turned class projects into books so I guess I am on my way…

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Can you tell us about your first day of teaching?

I have a “first day of teaching” each year. I always feel the same way…excited and apprehensive. Even after all these years, I still get butterflies in my stomach. I usually don’t get much sleep thinking about all of the things to do and all of the new faces in the classroom. Someone once told me that you know it’s time to leave teaching when you no longer get nervous about the first day. I guess, I’m here to stay for a while longer. Now that I am more experienced, I can enjoy the excitement more than I did that very first day. I love how fresh everything is….the crayons, the pencils, the lesson plan book, the students, and me. Our year is a blank book waiting to be written. Even though, I’ve done this before, I know each year will be different. It is a mystery that we solve together one day at a time. And before you know it, the book has been written, the mystery solved and it’s time to say good-bye. And on that last day of school, I feel excited and apprehensive because now I have to let go of those children who have taken hold of my heart!

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What is your philosophy on teaching?

My philosophy is to be responsive. Teaching is a dynamic process. There are academic expectations and goals to achieve, but more importantly, the children in the classroom are people with many different interests, skills and needs. My job as a teacher is to respond to each of the students in a way that honors their developmental and academic needs. I believe that all children innately want to learn, and that they learn in many different ways. I believe in the power of play and exploration! It is my goal to facilitate learning by giving the children opportunities to engage in activities that are meaningful to them. I also think it is important for me as an early childhood teacher to develop good learning habits. We practice these skills playfully and authentically as we work our way through each school day. We laugh, dance, do a little yoga, read, write, add, subtract, struggle, argue and sometimes cry, but we do it together and form a community along the way. My job is to respond to each of those times with the love and inspiration needed for each child to grow and learn.

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What were your five most memorable teaching moments?

  1. Each year, we begin first grade by watching caterpillars turn into monarch butterflies. The first year, I participated in this, I frantically searched for caterpillars in nearby parks and fields. I didn’t know a lot about them, but I decided I needed to learn as much as I could so I could share this miracle with the students. Over the years, I have allowed milkweed, the only food the monarch caterpillar eats, to grow in my front garden. I have visited gardens and attended informational workshops on monarchs so I can learn more to share with the children. I’ve developed relationships with others who share my interest, and this year we are planting a butterfly garden at the school so we can watch them in their natural habitat. Because our first experience in first grade was focused on observing and watching nature, it has become a habit for us. I love when the children have time to be outside to explore and I love the excitement when they discover something new. Looking at the earth through a child’s eyes never gets old!

 

  1. I had a student who was very young for the grade. He had a lot of things going against him, but every day, he came to school with a great attitude. In spite of all of his hard work, he struggled to succeed. One day after several attempts to complete a task, he shouted with joy, “I did it. I got them all right!” He went on to say that he didn’t understand it, but that he kept trying and he told me to look at his work because he got it. The joy on his face brought tears to my eyes. It was a reminder of the reason I became a teacher.
  1. Some years are harder than others. One of my particularly hard years came with a silver lining…. I met some of the most incredible students that year. I was learning a new grade level which is always a challenge. A few students stood out that year. They weren’t the students you might expect, but rather students who were struggling a lot to keep up. I think we developed a bond, because that year, I remembered how hard learning can be. I found myself spending extra time after school with these students, and my work with them, helped me work through the new curriculum. They were able to spend some extra time they needed to learn the material which ultimately helped them become more successful. The memorable part of this experience was that several years later they reached out to me to ask me to help them with a school project. I was honored that they considered me to be a resource to them even after they had left my classroom.
  1. Projects can be a memorable experience. One in particular I remember was as a fourth grade math teacher. Somehow, we fit 40 fourth grade students into a portable classroom for an enrichment math project. We were learning about measurement in math and electrical currents in science, so I decided to have the students design and build dollhouses with electricity. We used foam board and glue guns for construction and added doorbells and lights to develop our understanding of open and closed circuits. Once the houses were constructed, the students decorated them with paint, wallpaper, and fabric scraps for carpet which gave them an opportunity to practice their skills in calculating area and perimeter as well as in art and design. This sounds a lot like a STEM project (but it was way before STEM became a focus!)

 

  1. Every June at graduation, I take a walk down memory lane. I remember the graduates as they were when they were my students and I proudly think of them as mine one more time. The sea of blue and white mortarboards on the front of the high school is filled with students who have touched my heart and soul. I send up a prayer of gratitude for the time I have spent with them along the way.

 

  1. Denise said:
    One of the most admired woman I have had the pleasure to work with! I am very fortunate to have the pleasure of her friendship but my daughter also had the advantage of having her for a kindergarten teacher! She is an inspiration!
    May 28, 2016  4:01 am
    Reply

Meet Lele– the multi-talented artist. She is a painter, sculptor, writer. She also own and run a local winery Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kennett Square.

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How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?

I was raised around art and went to art museums and galleries since I could walk (that is the same for my children too). Studio art always came very naturally to me and I received a lot of attention for it, so I wasn’t very interested in it, but I was always serious about art history. I started college as a passionate art history major, until one day I had a conversation with a friend about Klimt, that made me rethink how I was learning about art… I had been dissecting and memorizing. All the over-intellectualization of the art had pulled me away from the ability to see..and I’d forgotten what had drawn me to art history it in the first place. I am very passionate about art history now, but it is personalized by knowing how to see and how to be moved to see in a new way. I still today  read tons of art history books, but not to memorize the facts, but instead just to understand things better. The breadth and history and presence of artistic creativity is very exciting to me…it is a shared sizzling current that runs through everyone and through time.

I started a serious interest in art education and public art when my sons were little.  I used my art ability to enable me to be in the schools with my children..and one thing led to another – I fell in love with working with the kids in the schools, all ages ranging from pre-school to high school.  I found excitement and much joy in teaching art history or art appreciation as well as public art. I still run a big school art appreciation program that I love, but I shy away from public art now (after 60+ projects now in Seattle, Westchester NY and Chester County).  Public art is a great thing when done with the right intentions. When people come together to make an art piece for their classroom, school, or community, it is fun and creative and pretty of course, but they like leaving a little piece of themselves in the artwork that they remember.  This is part of giving back to the world around them. Very cool..and but also extremely time and labor intensive.

About 2005 I started running art shows, and began taking classes, just for me, to see if I still had any sort of a gift left.  The combination of having art show deadlines and falling back in love with the medium, got me seriously interested in making art- really for the first time in my life. 

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What do you think is the most important influence in your painting?

No particular place, person or thing… I am influenced by looking -I am constantly looking at paintings and other pieces of art, including functional art such as furniture. When I am drawn to one, I try to figure out both how the artist does what they do, and what specifically draws me to a particular piece. “Looking” is a constant sifting through of visual edits, a lot goes in the discard pile, and the rest is organized and reshuffled for color, mood, something interesting, and relationships to things like time, history, my work or another artist’s work. The more I see, the more I learn about the art form and about why I am a painter. I am almost 55 and I still struggle with the idea of being an artist with a specific voice…what am I working towards in the art piece; where to edit and where to pile it on; there are always questions and challenges in every piece. I definitely would not paint or sculpt if there were no challenges. To have an original voice is both a difficult and an interesting journey.

In college, my end of the year art history paper had to be on a contemporary piece in the Hartford Museum, and I decided to pick something I absolutely hated just as a test to see if I would like it any better after I learned about it. I picked Franz Kline, who I thought was rubbish, and after working through it -he is one of my favorites. I definitely appreciate things more if there is a struggle involved.

I guess the biggest art influence was at Berkeley when an art teacher showed me how to bleed out a line and morph it into more painting than drawing. That was the first time I really painted (real painting, not filling with color), and I never went back to drawing after that. I also only did black and white, no color, until my mid-twenties. That is why my colors are so charged up now; I feel the need to punch them up to give me the same strength of feeling that I got from using black and white. I am trying to tone my color down now, but that is hard, which makes it interesting.. but toning it down is definitely not easy for me. I might go back to black and white.

 

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Can you talk a little bit  about your first sculpture?

Wow. That was fun – talk about an electric current. I had never done 3-D, and decided to take the plunge at Stan Smokler’s workshop one summer. It was an instant pure jolt of fun that had no layers of experience tied to it. I was mesmerized by the details, the metal bits and making a thing that was fully round. The first piece was a column made of sinewy found bits that worked their way up to make a whole. It was heavy and it sold immediately. Most of my pieces are abstract combinations of “bound” and unbound” elements. I am drawn to the idea of energy all bundled up and the thrill of being freed. Right now I am trying to learn more about the medium, rather than just be expressive. That involves a lot more grinding and busy work and is less appealing to me than the spontaneity of creating a sculptural piece…but I owe it to the medium to learn more about it. The more I learn about working with steel, the better I can realize the ideas I have..I hope so anyhow. But grinding is a bore and chips away at the little individualistic bits that I like…just like me trying to tone down color in my paintings, I’m not sure tidying up my metal work and making the welds smooth is very “me”, but I am interested in figuring that out.

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Do you work certain hours each day or only when you are inspired to work?

I only work when I have a show or commission that is two weeks away or less. I keep hoping that I will schedule art every day, but I don’t. Making art has to be exciting for me, or I will do something else that is. The deadline makes it more exciting and pushes me to finished works as opposed to a lot of exploratory scribbling.

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You are painter, sculptor, writer, and also run a winery in Kennett Square, how do you balance work and life?

Well, I don’t know how to relax, so as long as I am busy doing interesting things, then I am very happy. My husband and sons help keep me balanced, and art helps to shake things up.

 

Check Lele’s work here: http://www.lelegaler.com/

 

 

Meet Tom, the owner of Macaluso bookstore. I was lived near his store four years ago. Every time I passed by it, I was wondering what’s inside. Finally I had chance to meet him.

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What did you do before you open your  bookstore?

I  had been a law book and document editor for a few years after college and law school.  When my wife Brenda and  I started the book business  42 years ago I had already gone to graduate school and had a thirty-five year career as a law and English professor and dean.  I retired from  higher education 18 years ago to devote full time to the bookstore.

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Why a bookstore?

I started  collecting books when I was 14 years old and have always  loved them .

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What make your bookstore special?

Our books, maps, and prints are special because they are relatively scarce and of lasting interest.  Unlike other used bookstores, our store’s books are mostly the original first edition hardbacks in very  good condition and some are hundreds of years old though some are relatively recentl though notable publications.

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What book is your greatest treasure & why?

Right now,  I have first editions signed by the  Wyeths, T..S. Eliot, Carl  Sandburg, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Franklin  Delano Roosevelt, and many others.  And I have first editions by Hemingway, Orwell, Darhl, Dickens, Harper Lee, and thousands more and on every subject from art to zoology  They are virtually all my treasures.

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What’s the hardest thing about running your shop? What’s the best thing?

It can be difficult to help visitors appreciate the physical beauty of the book, that is the book arts.  The best experiences are the talks about books, education, and life itself especially with young people.

 

 

 

 

Meet talented Hattie, from a ballerina to a sculptor. Now she is a self taught hand crafted jewelry designer in Kennett Square.

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What did you do before you start jewelry design?

When I was 4 years old I began intensive training in ballet. I was pigeon-toed and the doctor advised my mother that ballet would help straighten my legs. I quickly ended up taking 10 classes a week and when I was 14, I was accepted into The School of American Ballet at Juilliard in New York City. After that, I was a principal ballerina with the Brandywine Ballet Company for 9 years and, later, danced with Opus 1 Contemporary of Philadelphia as well as guest performed with many theatres and other dance companies. I began teaching ballet in 2001 and only recently have had to cut back to one day a week as it’s all my growing jewelry schedule will allow. In my early twenties, I also modeled as a ballerina for a sculpture class and found myself eager to learn how to sculpt. I took a class and began sculpting, later exhibiting my bronze dancers locally in galleries and art exhibits.

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What lead you to beginning to work with jewelry?

In 2006, I stopped dancing professionally and began my family. I enjoyed sculpture but it was expensive to have bronzed. But, without dance or sculpture, I found I still needed an artistic outlet. I picked up an instructional book on beading and wirewrapping at a local craft store and that night I think I made 30 pairs of earrings. I was hooked.

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Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everything around me. I love to garden and often am inspired by nature and its beauty and movement. I am currently fascinated with ancient Egyptian artifacts and patinas. I typically don’t sketch out or plan my designs. I have a general idea or inspiration, start grabbing materials and get to work.

 

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Who do you envision wearing your work? Do you think about this when you work on designs?

I strive to make jewelry that people want to wear. I try to make a variety that appeals to all ages and styles. I believe it is important to learn as many techniques as you can but that doesn’t mean you need to pull out all the stops in every single creation. I often find that the pieces people find the most appealing are the simplest.

 

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The most meaningful piece of jewelry you own is?

My favorite piece is my ‘Wrapped in Lavender Cuff’. It was the most technically challenging piece I have ever made and, because of that, the most rewarding. It was a lengthy process but when I finished it, I remember feeling proud of myself.

 

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Do you have a favorite jewelry designer that you admire?

I admire so many artists but I guess you could say my idol is jewelry artist, Jeanine Payer. She has recently closed her studio doors but I was fortunate to have been given a couple of her pieces and absolutely fell in love with the simplicity and feminine quality of her work. It remains an inspiration to me.

 

Check Hattie’s work here: Hattie Weselyk Jewelry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Lauren, she is a Traditional Western Herbalist and founder of Areté herbs. I visited her lovely studio the other day. I really like her natural  and healthy life style.

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Where does the name Areté come from and what does it mean? 

Areté is a Greek word that means “excellence of any kind.” Areté describes the act of living up to one’s fullest potential, finding total fulfillment, and reaching the highest level of health and harmony for our mind, body, and spirit. Areté is a Stoic Philosophy term and I thought it embodied exactly what I was going for.

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What did you do before you started Areté Herbs? 
I was in school for most of my life up until the launch of my business! I am what they would call a 
“professional student.” I love to learn and went from undergraduate school to graduate school to my 
intensive herbalist training program, back to back.
I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, and a Master of Public Health 
(MPH) Degree concentrating in Integrative Health. In addition, I am certified as an Integrative Health 
Coach, and a certified Herbalist. I am also certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as 
an Exercise Physiologist (ACSM‐EP), and through the National Commission for Health Education 
Credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). 
I have been employed as a Health Coach for The Chester County Hospital near Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, and as an Exercise Physiologist for the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart 
Disease at Jefferson Regional Medical Center located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I was also honored to be a guest speaker at the 2010 annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Public Health 
Association (PPHA) held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I presented a lecture entitled, “The Integrative 
Health Coach: A New Advocate for Health Promotion.”

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Why and how did you start Areté Herbs? 
My passion for plants, healing, and nature arose after several years of studying wellness, health and 
fitness. Despite my academic studies, I felt that a vital link was absent from the “complete” picture‐‐
there had to be more to health than just exercise and nutrition. Upon studying the ancient healing 
tradition of botanical medicine, I had found the piece that was missing.
Our health is deeply connected to nature. Living in harmony with the natural rhythms of the Earth and 
reconnecting with our inner wisdom is the essence of living a fulfilling, authentic, and purposeful
life.  Our health is so much more than just the absence of disease.

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What’s your philosophy about herbal medicine? 
Areté Herbs is a company dedicated to helping each individual achieve optimal health with plant‐based 
products.  At Areté, we believe that personal health is deeply connected to nature. To attain optimal 
wellness it is vital to embrace a more natural, earth‐centered approach to living fuller, healthier lives. 
 Plant medicine is a beautiful way to empower you on this journey.
We are a young, homegrown business that lovingly handcrafts all herbal products in small batches. We 
are wholly dedicated to organics, sustainability, and green business practices because of our great 
reverence for the environment. We promise to use only organic herbs to create our formulas.
Our herbs are sourced from only the most highly regarded companies that provide certified organically 
grown plants. Respectfully wild‐harvested herbs are often hand‐gathered by ourselves from rural 
Chester County, or grown in our personal garden that is free of pesticides, chemicals, and genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).
It is our hope that Areté’s herbal products give you the opportunity to infuse yourself in the medicine of
the plants.
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Can you recommend one herb that is easy to use and grow? 
I’ll name a handful! I had the best luck growing Sage, Catnip, Thyme, and Lemon Balm. These herbs 
seem to need hardly any attention at all and grew into huge, beautiful plants all by themselves. 
A lot of medicinal plants are considered common weeds and can be found in your own yard or woods 
behind your house! There is no need to plant an herbal garden if you learn to identify these common 
medicinal weeds. They grow on their own and very plentifully! Some include: Plantain, Chickweed, 
Dandelion, and Nettles to name a few! These are all considered tonic herbs. 
Dandelion, Chickweed, and Plantain can all be found in your lawn! Dandelion is great for digestion and 
liver function and is a key component of ourCardamom & Fennel Digestive Bitters. It is also found in our 
Immune Chai Tea, Nourish Tea, and Mommy‐To‐Be Tea.
Plantain can be made into a poultice to draw out a splinter or bee sting—great for summer first aid!
Chickweed is a Nutritive (very nutritious!) and is one of my favorite herbs. It tastes so yummy that you 
can add it to salads or even make a pesto from it!
It is also one of the herbs found in our Nourish Tea and our Mommy-To-Be Tea.
Stinging Nettles are found along rivers where the ground is moist. You can find them along the 
Brandywine River! The fresh plant is great for seasonal allergies, is a powerhouse of vitamins and 
minerals, and supports the adrenals to combat stress. We use it in our Allergy Formula, Nourish Tea,
Stress Free Tea, and Mommy‐To‐Be Tea.
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