Category archives: photographer

What initially attracted you to textiles as a medium?

I was always drawn to the weavers at artisan shows.  Not just the texture and colors but the mechanics fascinated me.  It is a tactile art and has such a rich history not just in this country but throughout the world.  It was an important part of the community in early societies.  I decided to take a class which led to several more before I felt confident enough to purchase my own loom.  Weaving is an organic art in that the loom is made from wood of trees grown from the earth, the fabrics are derived from wool from the animals and the end result provides fabric for rugs, clothing, household linens, etc. full circle.

What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?

I grew up surrounded by fabric, my mother sewed.  She made all of her clothes, my own and even that for my dolls (much of which I still have today).  Her sewing table was tucked into an alcove in her bedroom and she allowed me to play amongst the bias tapes, spools of thread, cutting table and loads and loads of material bursting from her dresser.  I told myself I would never have a room so cluttered with stuff when I grew up – well there it is – I grew up to have a room dedicated to weaving with a 300 pound floor loom and loads of fabric and tools for my craft all around.

 

Tell us a bit about your process

The process starts with deciding what I want to make and then choosing the fabric.  I use reclaimed upholstery fabrics that otherwise would end up in the landfill.  I also repurpose jeans.  The fabric will tell me then what color to use for the warp (the vertical threads that go on the loom and weft (the horizontal threads that are hand thrown with a shuttle).  You measure your warp threads, dress the loom and begin to weave.  When done, you take your project off the loom and finish it off with sewing or braiding of the fringe.  I follow the traditional style of rag weaving using upholstery fabric as the weft.  You never know exactly what it will look like until you are finished.  Many of my products are wearable or for the home like table runners, wine totes, purses, pillows, and belt bags.

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?

I am currently exploring the early colonial craft of coverlet weaving and hoping to explore more in the next year.  I love the history of the craft both from the woven item to the machinery it was produced on.  

Tell us about a piece of work you have fond memories of and why? 

I particularly like when the piece brings back memories for someone.  I had made a simple wine tote but the fabric reminded the person of their own grandmother.  She accidentally lost the bag but I still had fabric left and made another for her.  She was thrilled and I was able to give her back the memory.  

Meet Annie, the glass artist.

When did you first start making your glass art, and who or what inpsired you to begin?

I started making glass art a long time ago at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  Over the years after I graduated I made art on the side while working in restaurants and gardening, but recently decided to focus on glass to see if I could make a career out of it.

What mediums or techniques do you work with?

I’ve been working lately with stained glass, specifically the tiffany style, which is copper tape and solder.  I sometimes do mosaic work which involves cutting glass, glueing to a surface and grouting.  I really enjoy exploring different processes and techniques and I just purchased a kiln to do some glass fusing and slumping.

Please tell us a bit about your design process?

My design process has gone through many changes over the years and varies depending on what I am making.  With my stained glass sun catchers I try not to rush an idea, I do a bit of light sketching and look at things that inspire me (mostly plants) until I finally get a design I like.  I then darken the lines with a thin sharpie so I can trace the glass.  Next comes choosing glass.  This might be my favorite part because the colors of the glass itself have a lot to do with inspiring the design in the first place. After colors are chosen I trace the design onto the glass on my light table, cut glass, grind glass, copper tape the edges, solder, add hangers, add a patina if I want, and then polish and clean! 

What is the main inspiration for your designs?

I find that my inspiration often comes from deep in my psyche and is very nostalgic.  My childhood was full of exploring nature and having adventures with my sisters, so I would say that along with the natural world I experience today in beautiful Chester County is the basis of my inspiration, coupled with my love for plants and interior design.  

What has been your favorite piece that you’ve made?

I would say my favorite piece would be a circle suncatcher that I recently made.  Shades of blue, geometric shapes, asymmetry and circles are things that I love very much and they are all included in this piece.  I don’t think it’s any crazy feat of skill or talent but I feel very satisfied with it’s authenticity.   

Meet Catherine, she is a Pianist, improviser, Steinway Artist.

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and pursue a career in music?

When I was 8, my parents bought me an 80 year old piano at a yard sale with a cracked soundboard.  My dad who was good with woodworking repaired the soundboard and built me a piano bench.  I played non-stop after that! I was a music minor in college when I discovered that I could improvise, and the music started coming in torrents after that.  Even though I was performing classical and my original music in many solo concerts a year, it wasn’t until five years after graduation that I decided to leave my corporate job and pursue music full time.  By that point I had released two albums and was performing throughout the region!

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Pianist George Winston, Cellist David Darling and his organization Music for People, and Pianist Dr. Robert Bedford.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

River Flow, Maiden’s Voyage and I Dream About This World: The Wyeth Album.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Learning to be self-aware enough to know when I need to practice and continually improve!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Purely by emotion, and a reflection of my state of being! I have found that some years I’m more melancholy and want simplicity and depth, others I’ve craved structure and light-heartedness, and others I seek a deep-dive into intellectual and technical challenge.

I found Rebecca’s work in a west chester interior store and I loved it. I think we have something in common–our subjects are women.

1.    How and when did you decide to be a painter? 

I started painting about five years ago. I left my job in New York City as a magazine editor to stay home with my son and was in search of a new creative outlet after moving to the Philly suburbs. I’ve always loved art and interior design and thought why not? My sister was moving abroad and gave me some old paints she had lying around so I began to experiment. 

2.    Who were the artists inspired you most? 

There are so many amazing artists on Instagram that inspired me to start painting–women that are professionally trained, self-taught, painting with a kid under one arm. I’m currently saving up for a Claire Johnson collage or a Rebecca Russo portrait or a Gee Gee Collins anything. I’m obsessed with Milton Avery’s use of color and patiently waiting for a nearby museum to give him an exhibit. 

3.    Do you work from life, photographs or from imagination?

I work from photographs to find poses for my figures and then let color and imagination take it from there. 

4.    Please tell us some of your considerations when using color in your work? what sort of paints do you put out on your palette?

Color makes me happy! Acrylic and oil pastel are my go-to mediums and I find a lot of pleasure just mixing paints on my palette. I love the way color creates a mood. A mark of fuchsia or indigo or chartreuse can totally transform a painting. Finding the perfect color composition is one of the most rewarding aspects of painting for me. In many ways I find the process similar to writing. It’s all about piecing together a puzzle.

5.    what are you working on now? 

I’m working on a still life commission for a friend’s new office and gearing up to try some different substrates like wood and unbleached linen. 

“Creating is an integral part of my life.  Working with clay, other natural materials, and metal connects with Earth.  Their transformation is alluring and fascinating to me – as it has been to humans through the ages.  Myths, animals and other forms of nature  influence my work.  Capturing and expressing the essence or spirit, not soley a realistic portrayal, is my goal.  I would be delighted if my functional work is enjoyed in everyday use and my non-functional work provides visual pleasure/provokes contemplation.”–Jill Beech

“I first took a ceramics class around 1981 and immediately felt an affinity and bond with clay.  Since then, I have taken many classes, mostly in hand-building, and nearly all at Penland School of Crafts – a truly inspirational place with great artists and teachers.  As my passion and involvement increased, I built a large gas kiln to expand firing capabilities beyond electric.  Until 2011 when I retired, I was a veterinarian on the UPenn Veterinary School faculty so I juggled time between the studio and working at New Bolton Center, in the large animal hospital.  Since then, I have been able to devote much more time to working in my studio adjacent to my home.”

“My functional and sculptural work is mainly made from porcelain or stoneware clay, and less frequently low fire earthenware clay.  Some of my hand built forms are perforated with hundreds of varying sized and shaped holes whilst still damp and malleable; they are then dried, fired to a low temperature ( approximately 1800 F) then sandblasted, and finally re-fired to a higher temperature, usually between 2100-2300F.  Glazes or stains are applied to some pieces.  Others have multiple layers of different coloured slips (clay suspension) applied and then rubbed through to reveal different colours, and some are left unadorned, revealing just the clay itself. Some are mounted on steel stands that I forged. I have sometimes used metal containing paint on the final fired piece to give forms the appearance of metal.  Encaustics have been used on some vessels to create layers on the surface, giving subtle colour changes and texture. Less frequently, on the low fired non-functional earthenware pieces, I paint multiple layers of acryllic paint. Horses, and to less extent other animals, influence both the forms as well as the images on the decorated surfaces of functional ware. Imagery from travel also has influenced forms.”

“Over the last few years, in addition to working with clay, I have worked with copper fold-forming,( using commercial patinas on the finished forms, and making wall panels, leaves for mobiles,  and wearable wrist cuffs), clay monoprinting,( influenced by  the late Mitch Lyons, who had a studio in London Grove) , hand made paper, recycled cardboard,  paper sculpture, and also  wire sculptures.   I particularly like Kozo for  making paper, and sometimes use encaustics on  surfaces.  My studio is near Ercildoun and is open by appointment and at my yearly open studio days.”

How long have you been painting? 
 
Coming from a family of creators and performers, I grew up with a love for all things creative. In high school, I was more drawn to music and performance but still dabbled in painting. Visual/fine art was something that I had always loved and when it came time to decide on a career path, the visual side took the lead. I went to Delaware College of Art and Design for my associates in Fine Arts and West Chester University to finish my bachelors. After that I was employed as a photography assistant for an auction house in Downingtown, I now currently work there as one of their lead photographers. Although I loved all of the creative formats that I had been allowed to experience, I felt like there was something else that I could use as an outlet, so I decided to play around with the idea of watercolor.  But it wasn’t until I worked at Philter that I started painting as a freelance artist. The owner, Chris Thompson, allowed me to hang my work in the shop, which received an awesomely positive response and things continued grew from there. 
How did you become interested in watercolor? 
 
The funny thing is, I have always been more drawn to oil paints and heavier mediums. In school, I had a very heavy hand and loved high contrast and texture, so oils and charcoal were always my go-to. The love for watercolor came as quite a surprise. I fell in love with the way each layer influenced the next, allowing you to see a history beneath them. Its such a delicate medium, and I was always told how scary it was to use, so it was pretty intimidating when the time came to try it. I wanted to experiment one day, and after I painted my first goldfish, I fell in love with the medium. I’ve never been one to create clean and crisp work, which is something that is usually associated with watercolor. Through playing with it, I had realized that it was much more fun to make a mess. Watercolors are known to be hard to control, and with this knowledge, I’ve learned to let go of my own expectations through the process and allow it to have an active role in creating the piece as well. Why try to control something that can be so beautiful in it’s own right? That’s where the splashes and drips come in. 🙂 Though over the last 3 years, I have worked in a bigger format, moving to larger canvas pieces. This required a heavier paint to stick to the canvas, so a lot of my more recent pieces are done with acrylic in a watercolor style -which opens up a whole other world of playing and experimentation. But I must say that every time I go back to watercolor, my heart is re-stolen. It is a truly beautiful art form.
What attracts you the most–when looking for potential subject matter? 
Painting is truly an outlet for me. So it really depends on my mood and whats happening in life, as cliche as it may sound, those things really do influence what kinds of works come to fruition. Sometimes when I’m not feeling anything in particular but have the need to create, colorful abstract pieces with come to mind. Most of the time my works consist of animals. I’ve always been an animal person, if I didn’t choose this career path, then it certainly would been one involved with fur friends. So I’d say that they influence my work quite a bit. I love the idea of the spirit animal. I feel like everyone has one that they connect with, so shedding light on that is always a fun adventure. I’m especially drawn to woodland creatures- foxes, wolves, and hawks are some of my favorite subjects. They’re pretty independent creatures, though obviously wolves can be big “pack” animals, I feel like there’s a quiet “loner” side that is easy to relate to as well. Color also plays a huge role in my process. I’m a huge fan of color, and I love playing with it in spots that you may not usually find it- like if something is supposed to appear black or in shadow, in nature if you really look at something that appears black, it actually consists of so many other colors. I think that’s half of the fun when creating these pieces, finding things that you wouldn’t usual see at first glance, but somehow makes it all work. It allows the viewer to really observe, search for, and discover something, creating their own connection to the piece, which is really my goal.
Who were the watercolor artists who inspired you most? 
 
Though I haven’t seen many watercolors by him, Cy Twombly is a huge one….I even nerded out to the point of naming my cat after him. At first I never really understood his work, but that’s what made me fall in love with it. He seemed to be purely about color and placement. Things don’t have to make sense in his pieces but they certainly convey something. Lora Zombie’s works really helped to inspire me in taking on watercolor. Her pieces are super fun and edgy, usually consisting of pop culture subjects. And she’s never afraid to make a mess when it comes to watercolor. There is also a ton of talent in my personal tribe and local community that is super inspirational. I’m extremely lucky and thankful to have so many talented friends who influence and inspire my work as well. Its great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth, get feedback and to really be able to be completely supported and vulnerable with these fellow humans. That kind of connection is important.
What are you working on now? 
I’m currently gearing up for the Holiday freelance season, it’s always a super fun and creative time. There are a few pieces that I have in mind that will need to be put on canvas soon (and possibly t-shirts!), so be on the look out for those! There are also some pretty exciting things that are being balanced with the freelance painting as well – my family recently started the On the Roll Inc, Food Truck, which has kept us all very busy and excited! I am thankful to be apart of that endeavor. I am also currently planning out the holiday display at Philter Coffee. Its always a fun process and its nice to take a shot at 3D work between paintings. So I’m super excited to see what we’ll come up with next!

 

Meet David, the owner of Unionville Saddle. David is a fashion designer, after living in New York for a decade he is bring his love of custom garment making back to here.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

Growing up I always had an interest in fashion, I remember reading GQ or sketching what my favorite pop stars’ were wearing but I was always more interested in fine arts.  I grew up painting and drawing and didn’t begin to sew until I was a senior in high school. I really got interested in fashion when I went to Parsons School of Design in NYC.  While I was studying I realized that fashion was a way to communicate  concepts while exploring traditional construction techniques and making people feel amazing.

What is your brand philosophy?

My brand philosophy revolves around the concept of Your Body Infinite Options.  Studying and working in the fashion industry for a decade opened my eyes to some major flaws in the current fashion system.  From not providing adequate sizing in stores to crippling runway and production costs I have decided to approach the business in a much different way by creating single pieces specifically to a client’s needs.  I believe that clients are looking for something that is made just for them, in the past women would have clothes made for them by dressmakers, working one on one to create something completely original and with a perfect fit for them.  My goal is to make every client feel at home while working with them to create pieces that will flatter every part of them, last, and look modern for years to come.

How do you describe your fashion and style?

I like when there is a mix of minimal clean lines and rawness, I love when frayed edges contrast the perfect fit.  There always needs to be a balance comfort and elegance, weight and lightness, color and texture.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

Currently, I am working with the concept of my transition from a city life in NYC to life in Unionville.  I have always used personal experience in life as my inspiration for my collections and this transition has been the most shocking and rewarding process of my life.

Talk us through the process of creating a garment. How long does it normally take to create a dress? what’s the procedure like?

Making a garment can take anywhere up to a year, particularly for bridal gowns.  The process always begins with a conversation, what do you need, when do you need it, what will the function be?  Then I will show a client some fabrics that may work with what they need and we begin to sketch. Once a design is selected I drape the piece, make a pattern, fit a muslin, and order the final fabric.  Once the pattern is corrected I cut the garment in final fabric, sew it, and fit the final piece. Depending on how complicated the garment is it may need more fittings to get the correct the fit.

Check David’s website and instagram for more information.

Meet Nat– a fine art photographer in Kennett Square. 1.Tell us a little bit about you?

I am originally from Brooklyn N.Y. We moved a lot when I was a kid which always made me feel like an outsider. I think that helped me to be a keen and objective observer of my surroundings which has served me well when I hold a camera up to my eye. After spending many years on the F Train to Manhattan where I worked as a commercial photographer, my wife and I decided it was time to make a change. We set our sights on the Brandywine Valley and ultimately ended up here in Kennett Square, where we raise our two daughters. My day job is in the Exhibitions department at Winterthur Museum in nearby Wilmington. When I’m not at work I spend just about every minute making or thinking about making images. It’s an obsession really. I can’t not do it.

2.How did you get into photography?

I was very visual when I was a child. This might sound strange but I would arrange images of my surroundings in my head in ways that would aesthetically please me. During my middle-school years I received as a gift my first 35mm camera, a Nikon FM. It gave me the opportunity to get those images out of my head and into an actual photograph . When I got to high school I really immersed myself in the craft of photography. I spent every minute I could in the darkroom. The obsession became so great that I would accidentally cut classes because I’d lose track of time trying to get that perfect print. After graduating high school I attended a very intensive photography school and quickly landed an assistant’s job in the studio of a small advertising agency in NYC. I started out like most assistants do—sweeping the studio, developing film, painting sets, and changing the cat litter. I soon worked my way up to staff photographer, doing mostly still life work for catalogs and ads for big name clients in the NY giftware and toy industry. As a way to escape the monotony of photographing merchandise I started to shoot people. I fell in love with portraiture and it’s what I love to do most now.

3. What’s your favorite subject?

My daughters, without question. They are the most expressive, generous, and patient people. If I ran out of anything else to photograph, I’d be very happy to photograph them everyday. I’m not sure how they’d feel about that though.

4. What do you think about film vs digital?

I’m kind of two minds about this. Film will always be special to me. Artistically speaking there’s a certain soulful quality and warmth about film as well as the tactile aspect of the materials that’s very exciting to me. I like how it forces you to slow down—to be more thoughtful, more deliberate. I attended an alternative process workshop last year that reinvigorated my interest in making old-school, hand-crafted images. However, compared to digital sensors, film can be limiting in terms of speed, color temperature, workflow, and that sort of thing. Not to mention the cost factor of film and development. Despite all that there seems to be a resurgence of film in the marketplace at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia or a real honest-to-goodness backlash to our overly digitized world. Time will tell but what I do feel very strongly about is whichever medium best expresses your artistic vision is the right medium to use.

5.Where do you get your inspiration?

That’s the kind of question I could answer for days! I like finding the extraordinary in what would otherwise be considered very ordinary subject matter. I look for the beauty in the imperfection of things. Also, since I was very young, I’ve been quite fascinated and maybe even obsessed with the passage of time. I like fleeting moments. The moments between moments. I’m not sure if it necessarily comes through in all my work, but it is always on my mind.

6.A photographer who inspires you

When it comes to the great iconic figures of photography, Irving Penn has probably had the greatest influence on me, especially when I was a younger photographer. He blurred the lines between art and craft. He treated street trash with the same care and attention to detail as he would the finest examples of haute couture. What I love most about Penn is how he focused in equal measure on the dignity and humanity of his portrait subjects, whether they were artists, celebrities, common workers, or indigenous peoples.

Having said that though, I’d regret not adding that in the past few years I’ve become friends with several like-minded photographers, some who I’ve only met through social media, who are generous, supportive, and constructive. Photographers who create and share amazing, meaningful, and very personal work. Work presented without ego. Work that inspires conversation and exploration. That kind of inspiration is hard to beat.

To learn more about Nat’s work check his instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natalecaccamo/