Wednesday, August 30, 2017


This internship was a great learning experience for me, it was my first exposure to working in a glass studio as a job outside of school. I learned that not every shop is the same and being able to be flexible and adjust to working in different environments is important. I now have incredibly valuable experience working with people other than my peers and instructors at school. I’ve gotten used to a regular work schedule and I must say that I really enjoy it!

The techniques and skills that I have developed this summer will certainly show through into my own personal work, every moment of practicing glass is so important to my own practice. Many of the things I have been practicing are directly translatable to things I needed to work on in my work as well. I feel a hundred times more comfortable coldworking than I did before, I believe this confidence will help me push to greater leaps in the development of my projects. I’ve found that working in this environment has helped my creative thinking and problem solving, and my ideas are progressing to be more fully developed than before. I am really looking forward to using everything I learned during this upcoming semester.  

I would be very sad to leave Remark Glass but I am incredibly grateful for being offered a job and keep working with everyone throughout the school year! Not only has this internship helped me develop my skills and learn what it is like to work outside of the school environment, but now I can continue doing so. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am to continue working with them. I’m looking forward to seeing what I will be helping work on next. Remark has been an incredibly positive working environment and I’m glad I will be able to stay around to see the place continue to grow!  

Swarovski glass crystal beads

Another project I worked on this summer with Remark Glass was a production piece for a client in New York. For this piece the client wanted to showcase beautiful Swarovski glass crystal beads. The final piece was a hanging wall of these shiny reflective crystals that sat in front of a large mirror.

When working on a production piece, or anything for that matter, there usually is at least some degree of problem solving throughout the design and building of the piece. Many times we can reflect on past pieces to avoid problems. That is something we did with this piece. For a previous piece beads were similarly strung on fishing line, this however proved to stretch over time from the weight of the beads. Going in with this knowledge we were able to avoid this problem and utilized Spiderwire, a braided cord that does not stretch under weight. Unlike the single filament of fishing line which under the heavy weight of glass beads stretching over time, there are 3 filaments braided to prevent stretching. Working on a project like this is refreshing, I enjoy trying different things and being able to mix things up and do something different for each project is great! Stringing the beads on was almost meditative, and I was able to think about ideas for other work while I did it.

I only got to see a picture of the end results of the piece as the show was in NYC, but it came out gorgeous. The strands of beads were coming out of the top of the piece suspended by triangular clear glass rods, and the way that light was caught between the beads and the mirror was breathtaking.

A bittersweet goodbye

I was so lucky to get paired with such a wonderfully talented and kind host. Kay was patient and so helpful, an extensive teacher that went over every step and explained processes and steps as many times as you asked, not once making you feel like you were doing something wrong or too slowly. I think that is the main reason I feel so confident with the lessons and techniques I walk away with from this fellowship.
She is someone I look up to and I know as I develop my artist career I will frequently refer back to the lessons and experiences I had this summer. I understand now how disciplined and hard working you have to be a successful artist. Constantly challenging yourself and pushing yourself to make new and thought provoking content.
Above in the trio of instagram of posts is just a small window into all the amazing projects and experiences I had in this fellowship. I had the pleasure of meeting Kay's and Greg's sweet loving pup Eleanor, I will miss her early morning leaps of joy, she is more calm and collected as a dog than I  will ever be! Also meeting and befriending the other fellow, the beautiful and talented Julia, it was so great to share the experience with her and I look forward to seeing what new weirdly brilliant work she produces in her senior year at Uarts! We made some great memories at New Courtland and went on all kinds of adventures with Mr. Foot!
Lets see how many of my summer fellowship goals can I tick off?

  • Assist with inventory? TICK- Not only did we catalog and tag almost every piece Kay has but I also became a master art packer!! 
  • Sewing? TICK- I still am timid and extra extra slow but I have been practicing and moving forward, all thanks to Kay's patient step by step tutorials! 
  • Screenprinting? TICK- YES the part of the fellowship I was most excited about I feel so confident and ready to venture on my own with, I did every step multiple times in multiple variations and we went straight into the "tough stuff" can't wait to get into the Uarts screen printing studio and practice what I've learnt! 
  • Observing studio operations? TICK- Not only did I get the pleasure of working along side Kay but I also got to peak into the process of working of her lovely husband Greg. I am so grateful they let me observe and learn from their daily practices. I can move forward with a much more in-depth understanding of what lies ahead! 

Art Space

Something that has really stuck with me while being a fellow all summer is how important having an "artist's space" is. This space obviously varies from person to person but it is vital to the creative process.
Working in Kay's studio surrounded by her fabric station and sewing station, dark room and ink shelf nook I found myself constantly wanting to gravitate t an area and just make stuff! I would think back to my space at home and everything was scattered. On box of paints in one room and my ruler and cutting supplies in another, whenever I got an idea of something to create by the time I rallied all my supplies and got a "nook" going I felt like the steam had burnt out, especially since everything was now not in a comfortable accessible place.
It made me realize how important it is to a professional working artist or a student to treat your work space with respect and put as much love into it as you would your art pieces.
In Kay's printing studio she had a few shelves of ink jars but they were not cataloged some jars were not labeled correctly, colors weren't grouped together. So one of my tasks as a fellow was to sort through everything. Opening colors checking their consistency, adding water to ones that were drying out and try to revitalize them. Throw away anything that was completely dried out and then mix together color that were the same but in multiple jars. Then on little swaps of paper sample each color and tape it onto the jar. Finally once done, group all blues and greens etc so that it was easy to navigate the wide selection of colors. When done it was so satisfying to see all the inks shinning with possibility, it made me want to go home and paint!
I know have an organized and art orientated space at home that is ready to be taken advantage of and made into something, it is neatly tucked away but still in eyes sight. A space like my own is not for everyone of course, we all have different processes however seeing Kay's daily routine and working in her studio was a big insight into how she makes art and what her process is, and having an accessible process /space is vital to making art. So whether it is having a box of all your supplies together or labeled boxes categorized alphabetically I found out that your space plays just as important a role as your artwork.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The sewing machine!!!

Finally, I tackled the scary looking machine in the corner, I actually stepped forth and introduced myself to the...sewing machine! I did not think it would go as well as it did but I can say with confidence know that I understand the basics of how it works and can do the basics, I know enough to now venture on my own but I am definitely the slowest sewer that ever lived! I put together these little plug socket and light switch stuffies for Kay, and for someone who is a sucker for process I really appreciated being able to take this pieces from beginning to end!
First I screen printed mini rectangles with both sockets and light switches. Then cut up multiple layers of stuffing sheets roughly the size of the prints and blank fabric also roughly the same size. Then using the light box, I outlined in pencil the outskirt of the drawing so that I would know where to sew. Then I sandwiched all the pieces together, print side facing down on the blank fabric, and carefully and ever so painfully slow sewed all around the rectangle leaving a small inch lengthen opening. I then turned them inside out!

Now for the scary part! Trapunto! A quilting/stuffing technique where you sew over the stuffed layer. I do admit I was so timid with the machine pedal that it may have taken me several hours to do a few, then every time I got a little bit more confident I pressed too hard and sewed all over the place and had to start all over again. However when I eventually got into a slow but steady rhythm I can understand why the art of sewing has such a rich history of use, besides the necessity for it in daily life, there is such a meditative repetition that I can see myself getting lost in thought to the hum of the motor and pedal. I may not have managed to do them all, and with as much accuracy as I would have liked, but as Kay so kindly reminded me, it was meant to be art and not some sterile made object! I look forward to exploring further and really getting quick and confident with this mysterious mechanical creature! 

New Cortland Senior Project

Julia, Kay's other intern and I had the pleasure of being Kay's assistants on a great project head started by The Center For Emerging Visual Artists. It is the second time I have worked with this organization and on this particular program that is in collaboration with the New Cortland assisted living facility and local Philadelphia artists. I did the same project with the artist Margarita Hagan the previous summer and had such a fulfilling experience, so when Kay asked if I was interested I was so excited to get the opportunity to do it again! 

I worked with various seniors but mainly I assisted Malverce with the project a sweet old lady from Philadelphia. First we made booklets that consisted of different interview questions that related to the project, which centered around lost objects and memories of your first family home. It was definitely a challenge as most of the seniors memories of their childhood homes was foggy but with a lot of patience and repetition I discovered that Malverce would love to help her mother cook in the kitchen, climbing on cabinets and fetching different ingredients for her mother while she cooked. In the evenings her family would sit on her porch and while her Uncle sang, her brother would teach her how to dance, a secret skill her brother had acclaimed and never told anyone how. That is how we came to Malverce's lost object, she danced until one day her shoes mysteriously disappeared and that was the last time she remembers dancing! 

We then proceeded on making molds so that we could make casts of every seniors hands, these hands will be attached to fabric arms and will be holding each seniors lost object, displayed along side their interviews. It was so fascinating to see how instantly all the group responded to playing with the clay in their hands and wedging it into our cardboard boxes. Afterwards once sealed Kay showed us the assistants how to mix the plaster, a job a little messy for the rest of the group, when the perfect consistency we poured the plaster into the box and carefully placed Malverce's hand on the surface, she was so patient through the whole project and was completely happy just relaxing and waiting for the mold to form! Once dry we pushed in the clay and slowly peeled it from the mold! After Kay fired the hands we glazed our clay hands! 
The whole experience was great and I look forward to seeing the show in April and having the group see this beautiful piece they helped construct, it really is true that art is ageless. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Screen Printing!

I have always been inspired with process lead artwork. I took a lithography class my first semester and responded so strongly to the steps and print making "magic" that happens when all steps in the process came together! Last semester I really missed that methodical silent melody that follows print making so I declared printmaking and bookbinding my degree minor. 
When we were given the names of the artist picks we made and I saw that Kay was a screen printer I was thrilled! I had actually signed up for a screen printing class that got canceled and had felt so disappointed so I felt like a match made in heaven! 
Kay fully emerged me into the EVERY step of the printmaking process, I leave this fellowship fully confident to tackle my own screen prints in the up and coming future! I will do my best to describe every step and learning curve of my screen printing voyage! 

Step 1: Reclaiming the screens! 

  • Walk down the long hall (carrying as many screens possible) to a grand bathroom that had the set up ready to go. 
  • With smaller hose, wet screen on both sides.
  • Put on safety gloves on and spray on reclaimer to start break down of old emulsion 
  • Chill and relax for 30 seconds, then take scrub spray and start rubbing reclaimer onto screen on both sides
  • With smaller hose rinse off both sides theres about to be a lot of water
  • Prepare the POWER HOSE 
  • Put on noise canceling head phones because boy is this power tool LOUD! 
  • Note to self, do not point hose to sink corners, every piece of debris will fly into the air and onto your face
  • Start cleaning screen and reveal the super satisfying inch by inch reveal of the clean screen 
  • Do this for a VERY long time
  • Wait just found several microscopic spots, try again
  • Ok now your done, leave to dry
  • Tip for next time, don't wear glasses, they steam up and you see nothing! 

Step 2: Emulsion 

  • Once screens are dry, put them in dark room 
  • Prepare emulsion, stirr stirr stirr!
  • Pour mixture into special emulsion trough 
  • With screen angled away from you, put trough against bottom leaving about 1.5 inch gap
  • While pulling trough at an angle pull screen towards you and pull trough up
  • Coat whole screen and scrape excess off with scrap cardboard 
  • Put wet screens in light proof container and wait to dry about an hour, waiting for next step

Step 3: Burning the screen 

  • Uncover magical screen burning machine that has built in UV bulbs. 
  • Place drawing that is to be printed facing up 
  • Get screen from light sensitive room and RUN to magical machine
  • Place screen over drawing, emulsion side down
  • Quickly fill back is of screen with foam squares
  • Then cover with light canceling sheet 
  • Put board and weights to seal contact with surface of screen and drawing
  • Set time, will vary for every magic screen printing machine! 
  • Do some dancing and chill with an awesome dog named Eleanor 
  • Run back and turn of  magic machine
  • Take screen into bathroom and with small hose wet both sides to stop the burning process
  • NOTE it doesn't alway work first time do not be disheartened! 
  • Only with small hose, power hose would wash out image, begin to wash out drawing 
  • Be patient it will feel like nothing is happening but eventually when screen is wet enough anywhere there was a black drawing on the sheet you will start to was out the emulsion
  • Once full drawing is unearthed, was off any residue from the back and leave to side to dry 

  • Attach screen to printing table
  • Print proof on acetate, this will help you to line up fabric when making patterned pieces like kay typically does
  • Place fabric on table and line up/straighten using acetate proof 
  • Print another proof of scrap newsprint
  • If satisfied with how print looked, print on the fabric!!! 
  • And then keep going, align print and move on
  • Switch out screen if pattern had multiple color layers! 

Hopefully of fully covered every step, I wanted to thoroughly catalog the process and my experience so that I can always reference my experience and the birth of a love for printmaking I didn't know I had before. Definitely my special moment from the whole fellowship, a learning experience I will not forget. 


Mirroring is a process that is used frequently at Remark Glass, and it is quite an intense one. This is a chemistry based process that requires the utmost attention and cleanliness to produce acceptable results. In addition to needing to be clean, the surface of the glass that you are applying mirror to needs to remain wet throughout the entire process. This means that you need to work quickly and carefully to ensure no spots dry in the middle of the process. The results are stunning and worth this careful detail. However because we are dealing with things such as tin and silver in liquid chemical forms precaution must be taken as these can be very easily absorbed through the skin and wreak havoc on the human body. Safety is no joke when it comes to glass processes, and this one in particular.

To begin we start off with a clean glass object, for this I will describe the process of mirroring a hollow form on the inside. Again during this process the glass must remain wet at all times. First scrub the inside of the form with a solution of alconox and water ensuring to scrub the entirety of it. Rinse the solution off of the glass with tap water, at this point we need to be wearing gloves to make sure none of the oils from our hands transfer to the glass. We make sure not even the glove touches the surface of the glass however as even that could mess it up. Next is a scrub of CRL cleaner once with extra fine pumice, again a rinse of tap water and then another scrub of CRL cleaner without the pumice this time. Now we switch over from tap water to distilled water for rinses. Tap water will have too many impurities to continue using at this point and will interfere with the mirror forming correctly. We do 3 complete rinses with fresh distilled water each time. From here a wetting agent is added and allowed to coat the surface of the glass. At least 30 seconds of exposure to all surfaces to be mirrored is required. This is then followed by 3 more rinses of distilled water. Immediately after this the surface of the glass is tinned with a liquid tin solution again allowing all surfaces to be exposed for 30 seconds minimum. This is then carefully poured out and 3 rinses are done with distilled water. Now the big moment is approaching/already happening since we must work quickly. The silver for the mirror comes in 3 parts that must be mixed together immediately before use. Parts A and B are non reactive to each other so they can be mixed prior but once part C is added the time starts ticking for the silver to fall out of the solution. This is shaken along all surfaces to be mirrored until the appropriate level of mirror desired is built up on the surface of the glass. This may require more than one mix of silver solution. To finish it off 3 more rinses with distilled water is done and then a final rinse with denatured alcohol to remove any remaining water from the silver as it would tarnish. This is then dried until absolutely bone dry before a lacquer is applied to seal and protect the mirror surface.  

Talking making arms and self growth!

Working closely with Kay and her pieces allowed to be fully immersed in her work and thought process of her artworks. It was really refreshing to see looking through pieces she has made over the past 5 years or so how her work and process developed.
A reoccurring conversation I have with fellow student artist always seems to gravitate around our insecurities of what is "right" or "wrong" in our artwork. By working with Kay it made me realize that the reoccurring questions we should be asking ourselves is are we growing? Are we continuing to challenge ourselves? Being able to recognize growth in your own work and then challenge yourself to top that and try something new is not easy. But while preparing Kay's show pieces and sorting through her wide selection of art pieces it was inspiring to see how she is constantly questioning her method and testing all it possibilities.
I helped put together some of her stuffies as she calls them, we talked about the stitching technique, what looked neater, but what also added lasting strength to the piece. Feathering edges with varying cuts to stop gathering and hand sewing labels and hanging strips.
There was a really nice balance between function and artistry which is something I have always struggled with. But by seeing Kay's progression in her own work and how freely she spoke of her growth it gave me confidence to not be afraid to try new things and always be looking for opportunities of growth through my own work.
The pictures above show some of our process, something like stuffing a fabric arm in the beginning of the fellowship took my several weeks but towards the end I was then doing in a day, it was so exciting to me that I grew and developed skills so fast and was constantly thinking of ways I can apply these new attained skills in my own life/work.

Assisting in the hot shop

Assisting with glassblowing at Remark Glass was a great experience that I had the luxury of experiencing twice this summer. This summer they finished installing a hot shop in their studio so being one of the first people to try it out was so nice. Because we use recycled bottle glass, for the most part the blowing is done with bottles brought up in a kiln which are then picked up on a collar. A collar is a ring of glass on the end of blow pipe. This creates a seal between the bottle and the pipe so when you blow into the pipe the glass can expand.

The main piece of equipment we use to reheat the glass is called a gloryhole (yeah I know get the laughs out now!). This runs on a mix of propane and air to get up to temperature. We keep this at 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature it isn't exactly comfortable to stand in front of but you get used to it, kind of. While I'm assisting with blowing my main concern is to anticipate what the next step will be and have everything ready for it. Once the glass is too large I need to operate the doors on the gloryhole to allow it to fit. I need to be ready to carefully blow when they need air in the piece. I need to be prepared to light up a torch when we need to spot heat an area of glass before reheating the entire piece. When you spot heat the glass you are allowing the rest of the piece to cool down to a lower temperature while raising the temperature of a particular spot. That way when you go to reheat the whole piece, that spot always stay hotter than the rest.

Some other aspects of assisting includes using a wooden paddle to either flatten the bottom of the glass or to maintain even thickness and a flat plane on the lip of the glass when it is being opened up. Even making sure that the person doing the blowing has water is important! Overall it is a fun experience, but it requires a lot of attention and focus. You can't zone out cause your complete attention is needed to make sure the piece comes out right.   

Making rings

One way that we recycle bottles into new products is creating rings from the neck of a bottle. To do this I begin by prepping the bottle with a thorough cleaning. I do this to ensure there is nothing stuck to the surface of the glass that could cause devitrification when the glass is eventually brought up to temperature in a kiln. This would create a hazy rough texture on the surface of the glass, something we would want to avoid with a wearable product such as a ring.

We aim for our products to not all be identical, so the thickness that I cut the rings can have variance. It would be a huge time waster and way too difficult to make them all identical anyways! These rings are created with two tools, the diamond saw and the kiln. After a variety of colored bottles are picked out and prepped I proceed to cutting them on the saw. This is a process that I've gotten down pat and can cut 50 rings relatively quickly. The taper of the bottle neck allows different sized rings to be created from the same bottle. Cutting on the diamond saw gets the glass pretty dirty and covered in fine silica dust so they need to be cleaned again. The reason for cleaning twice rather than all at the end is adhesive and other stuff that might be stuck to the glass before I do the cutting is much more difficut to get off than silica dust. A simple rinse under water suffices. Then they are cleaned off with denatured alcohol and loaded into the kiln.

The firing process takes two full firings to get to the finished product. Both sides of the rings are very rough after being cut so it is important to fire twice, once for each side facing up. The side that is in contact with the kiln shelf doesn't fire as well as the side that is up. But after flipping and firing both sides the rings come out looking flawless.  

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Turning bottles into sheet glass

One way that we reuse bottles at Remark Glass is turning them into sheet glass. With such a wide range of bottle glass colors available to us it makes a lot of sense to use it for this purpose! Sheet glass is typically used in projects that showcase the beautiful color of the glass when light passes though it. And with the large variety of bottle thickness that we have readily available, we can even show the subtle differences thickness can provide to color from bottles of the same color but different thickness.

The process used to turn a bottle into sheet glass is relatively simple. It involves the use of two tools, the diamond saw and a kiln. First I prep the bottle by soaking it in a solution of alconox and water. Alconox is a chemistry cleaner that doesn't leave any residue on the glass. We soak the bottles so the labels and adhesives will easily come off, we need the bottles to be spotless for the sheet glass to come out good looking. After soaking the bottles I scrape off the labels and adhesive and then give them a good scrub. Now I take the bottles to the diamond saw. I make two horizontal cuts through the bottle to take of the neck and the bottom so we are left with a straight walled cylinder that is open on the top and bottom. Next I make a straight vertical cut through the cylinder so it is separated into two pieces. When looked at from the top they look like the letter C. These pieces are then cleaned again with alconox. Now I put on a pair of gloves to make sure I don't get any oils or residue from my skin on the glass and very carefully clean them again with denatured alcohol until they are absolutely spotless. The final step to turning these into sheet glass is to carefully load them into the kiln so they can slump flat. They are placed convex side down so gravity will bring the two sides of the glass down flat without introducing any folds or crinkles. The kiln is then brought up to slumping temperature and the glass is slowly cooled to anneal.      

A day of prototyping

One project I worked on this summer with Remark Glass was prototyping and blowing new products. I was tasked to take inspiration from the products they already create and develop my own, all to be using recycled bottle glass to be blown in their hot shop. I personally have an aptitude for coldworking processes so I chose to utilize these as well. In my own artistic practice I have experience with making various goblets and drinking glasses.

After looking at the glass available to me and brainstorming I developed a method to use as much of a single bottle as possible to create stemware. I cut the bottoms of punt bottomed wine bottles out to be heated and paddled into the feet for my stemware pieces. The neck of the bottle was used to make the stem. I heated it and using the jacks to constrict the glass in certain areas I was able to create stems that retained aspects of the bottle while still separating it enough visually to show that it is handcrafted. The remainder middle section of the bottle was then used to blow the body of the glasses.

This was my first time actually having blowing time completely to myself and my ideas this summer which was an absolute luxury! At this point I was very comfortable in their hot shop from assisting so I was able to maneuver efficiently with the working time I had. Running a hot shop is very expensive so I was incredibly grateful for being given this opportunity. I am looking forward to working on these and coldworking the components together to create finished products.  

Wrapping It Up

I really learned a lot this summer. I got to see the ins and outs of working at an Arts Center, from the more hands-on art classes and projects, to the daily happenings of the conjoined coffee shop.

I spent a lot of the first few weeks hanging art shows and doing little projects around the arts center, such as painting and decorating bulletin boards with chalkboard paint and updating events pages throughout the building.

I also spent a lot of time on social media, Facebook and Instagram in particular. On Facebook, Nicole showed me how to make mass posts to all the various parents/children's/art groups she's a part of. I found this aspect of involving social media to be very helpful for my own work, as multiple people have recently contacted me through both Instagram and Facebook to inquire about shooting with me. As such, I've been able to apply what I've learned directly to receive positive results.

When summer classes started, I spent a lot of time wrangling kids and working on creative projects. I made slime, raced cardboard cars, and learned a bit about sewing and paper-making. Though I can get impatient with children at times, I found it to be extremely rewarding when their parents would see what they'd been doing all day. The kids themselves loved to get messy, and it was inspiring to see what their creative little minds came up with.

All in all, this summer has been a continually rewarding learning experience. Nicole and her husband, along with the other employees, made me feel incredibly welcome and included. I got to see the multi-faceted aspects of running an art center, and got some great feedback and personal instruction as well. I will forever be grateful for this enriching opportunity.

Final Week

The morning of, the sewing teacher got a flat. So Nicole and I had to improvise and act as sewing teachers for the children's' sewing class. Each student decided what they wanted to make. We had projects such as capes, kittens, pillows, and embroidered polo shirts. 

I helped to cut, pin, hand sew, rip seams, and learned a bit about using a sewing machine.

Here are two of the students with their finished projects, a cape and a pillow.

In the afternoon, Nicole showed me how to use Mail Chimp in order to send out weekly newsletters to her clients. I made it through a huge stack of paperwork, and even got to head home a bit early. All in all, it was a nice and productive yet relaxing last day. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gentrified West Philly

I submitted poetry to Veronica’s MSM Zine, and luckily, not only to did one get accepted, but she even requested that I read another that didn’t get published into the zine because of space limitations, but that she felt should still be heard! I couldn’t be more honored. Two out of three of the poems that I submitted were accepted, and the one that she wanted me to read was a poem that I wrote that was inspired by the themes of the exhibition. I may go back and add and omit from it, but the untitled poem reads as followed:

Summer 2005
in the hottest part of West Philly
the sidewalk’s so hot
it melted the skin off our knees when we
fell on them

we were younger
making everyone cousins or lovers,
wearing floral socks and denim skorts
spreading crooked, missing toothed smiles,
imperfect and transparent,
a happiness that lets you see inside of it.

the air,
warm and embracing
and belonging to us,
we’d roam the entire neighborhood
looking for an adventure.

the cracks and dents in the sidewalk would take
us to the rec center on Christian St.,
Play Cousin Jay would give us free Hugs and Lil Romeo Chips,
And most times,
the park smelled like weed, grass, and sugar that’s
been burnt by the sun,
drips of blueberry water ice stained
onto the bottom of a slide or a puddle of it beneath a swing set.

Now we’re taller and clumsier,
and we’ve learned to smile purposefully.
The air smells like paint and rose pedals,
that’s if it’s not spring and if all the new gardens and
Cherry Blossoms hasn’t stopped us from
breathing through our noses.
It’s as if the air feels different.
Maybe wants to kill us now.

Vaguely, this seems to be a sort of heaven.
We’re dead and invisible,
like ghosts who didn’t make it into paradise.
There’s new restaurants and boutiques
with items the price of gold,
and the gates here are green and watermarked
with gods faces that look down at us from the tips of
the spikes at the top of it.
The pavement is smooth and almost white like clouds,
It’s cold and hits us for falling on it.
There aren’t anymore cracks in it,
so sometimes,
we walk the whole city
looking for home.

(Side Note: I say this on almost every platform that I post my creative writing on: All of my work is protected.I love my work so much that I am willing to fight for it legally. Please do not steal my poem, ideas, words, or phrases. I say this humbly. Thank you.)

We Went to Norf Philly

Last month, Veronica introduced Emily and I to one of her new interns, Angela. Angela, my roommate, and I headed north of Philadelphia to leave flyers at art and community centers whose owners agreed with Veronica to allow us to promote the MSM Exhibition and the events that compliment it at their locations. I’m from West Philadelphia, not necessarily a safe haven in Philly, the alleged sanctuary city. Growing up, people in my neighborhood had special nicknames and tales of North Philly. Some of us called in North Filthy, claiming that it was significantly more unkempt than other parts of Philly. Others, including myself, called it Norf Philly, eliminating the formality of its name, a play on how improper, wild the neighborhood was portrayed to be.  

In most cases, we drove to a location either absent of windows or with windows absent of light. Almost at every corner, there were entrances to El stops, the police, and groups of wandering with carts, selling socks and other goods or with carts filled, presumably, their own items. Thronging the space between the transportation stations were beer delis and failed stores. Beneath us were untreated streets, and was very much the stereotypical depiction of North Philly that everyone keeps running from, leaving the weeping and gnashing of teeth to be heard in the very black distance. My roommate and I are from other, more or less similar, sides of Philly, so we were wanders in a lost town. We rerouted, maybe four times, using my phones GPS, and often had to travel the outskirts of the neighborhood to get back on track to where we were going. Many of the places were under Frankford’s El line, so when we ended up in Northern Liberties and Fishtown, it was as if the sun only shined in gentrified neighborhoods. Graffiti beautified cemented walls, too expensive for the people whose culture it comes from. Thrift stores propped, usually, next to co-opts, galleries, and cafes, with price-tags nearly identical to regular, high-end clothing stores, and in the residential area, there were homes designed by masterful architects, and manifested by realtors, more concerned with securing their own safety, comfort, and living, at the expense of others’ comfort, safety, and living.

We found our way back into the fire of Philly after stumbling upon the art and culture of its gold, gated paradise and slid those fliers into the creases of the doors of our locations despite whether the places were shaded or locked. The art community sometimes forgets that it is apart to many socioeconomic classes. More Stately Mansions, an exhibition about accessibility, wealth inequality, and removing materialism and enterprise culture from art, was displaying paintings, poetry, and installation pieces. The folks in Norf Philly needed to know that art, truth, and beauty still belonged to them. 

final thoughts

Looking back on my initial goals of the summer one thing I've been questioning thanks to Kay’s insight is my t-shirt busniess. The shirts I sell are all mostly related to bands or tvs shows. Kay made me realise that this takes away money from the original artist. And although Ii already knew that and felt bad about it, I realize now I should probably focus more on original content and building up my own brand identity. Although the shirts are all drawn in my style and I’m not stealing any imagery, I’m still stealing a name by writing it on the shirt. I definitely don’t sell as much original drawings as I do fan merchandise but  I see this as a good future goal, to grow my own brand identity.
Another one of my goals was incorporating more hand made traditional work with digital.
I’ve noticed growth in my sketchbook over the summer. I’ve been Working more with mixed media. I've been working in my sketchbook constantly but have failed to try more digital things. Although I failed to work more digitally, I think it’s very important to try new things and be happy while working. I’m very thankful for Kay’s influence on using more tangible things in my sketchbook.
Some of my Favorite things about this fellowship were the small things like trips to run errands and the drive to the senior center. Another part I really appreciated about this experience was the chance to meet new people like Kay’s other intern Ornella! I also loved meeting the other college interns working at the senior center and bumping into various other people. It seems like Kay knows everyone!
On another note, having Kay’s husband Greg working in the same studio was a great experience. Greg is a children's book illustrator and writer and although I wasn't working with him directly, it was great to get a small insight about what working in that world is like. I loved seeing the process behind what goes into making a book!
Kay took ornella and I out to lunch on our last week which I really appreciated, she honestly made this experience feel like so much more than just an internship.  

I felt really bad I was a bit late for a few of our last meetings because of health problems. :( I will definitely miss working with Kay so much but I’ll take what I’ve learned and continue incorporating it in my work! Kay truly did so much for me and i’m so thankful for the opportunity! I learned so much about her artistic process along with skills I  can use and I also grew as a person and was able to meet personal goals!

New ways of screen printing

Something I’ve really appreciated while working with kay was learning her processes of how she makes art. I really admire how she has her own way of doing certain things. Some of the things I’ve learned from her I could definitely see myself implementing in the future. A big thing that stuck out to me was her process of screen printing fabric.  I found her screen printing set up amazing for such a small space and I hope to someday soon build a similar space. In her studio space which is shared with her husband she has a little room where she prints. The table she prints on is very small. I’ve been so impressed by her ways of moving the fabric certain ways so that she can print many yards at a time. This small space is really inspiring to me and I can see now that it’s totally doable to set up at home. My current screen printing set up in my apartment is similar but I’ve been lacking a place to burn screens. Kay showed me how her and her husband built their own glass table to burn screens. I was so inspired by seeing this and I really want to try to make my own small table to burn screens as well. It’s good to see people printing large amounts of fabric in small spaces to see it really is something that anyone can do. At uarts the fabric printing class teaches another process that is a lot more difficult. They require special tables that you have to pin all your fabric into and then you have to do a hard math process to get the pattern right. The whole process they teach takes so much time and space that I learned through Kay isn’t really necessary! Her process is so much more simple and uses a lot less math. I appreciate  how she simply lined up the fabric instead of using a crazy system. Although I do prefer Kay’s way of printing, I still think it’s important and useful to have the knowledge of both process.

The last project I worked on for kay was a television. I worked on adding stuffing to the inside and then sewed it shut again. I think one thing I didn't really improve on during the summer was stuffing. This step is really hard for me and take a long time because I try to get the stuffing in every little area! It’s crazy to see how fast Kay can stuff compared to me! I hope one day I can reach that level of stuffing!

Development in sewing speed and accuracy

While working with Kay these past few weeks she’s had the luxury of getting a new amazing sewing machine! The machine seemed so scary to me at first because it looks incredibly intimidating and complicated! It’s a lot bigger than the average little sewing machine I was using before and has a lot more parts to figure out. One thing I really admire about working with Kay is her guidance and motivation for me to do things on my own. She gives me the confidence to figure out how to use things without her help, which I feel like is a great skill to develop. I’ve loved working on my independence and confidence of trying new things. She constantly encourages me to fix my mistakes myself and fix the machine when it jams up, this is something I would have had trouble doing alone before but now can figure out alone! I know it seems like a small task but it is very important in the long run of life I think. I don’t want to be constantly asking for help for everything. Kay has made it easier for me to do things independently. Another thing I’ve noticed with my sewing abilities has been the speed at which I sew now. I’ve noticed and Kay has been telling me that I’ve been sewing a lot faster than when I initially started working with her. I think a lot of the bost in my speed has to do with the new found confidence she has instilled in me about my sewing abilities. I’m really going to miss sewing on this new machine! It cuts the thread for you and you can move the foot with your knee! So high tech! It’s funny to look back at when I was scared to use the machine at all.
Another thing I’ve realized while working with kay is that my fear of dogs has become a bit less. I’ve loved getting to know her amazing dog Eleanor and will miss her a lot! I think shes shown me that not all dogs are scary, some are very sweet and nice! I’m definitely not 100 percent over my fear of dogs but it’s been great being able to be around one and feel good about it!

Another thing I’ve really been appreciating about my time with Kay is our trips for errands. We go to places like home depot and fleisher art center, the library and philly aids thrift store. I love these trips so much and I’m so drawn to everyday objects like the refrigerators at home depot. I think going out to these seemingly boring places really helps me find inspiration for my sketchbook. I’ve been having a great time translating these trips into my doodles and art pieces. I think gathering outside inspiration from seemingly ordinary things is important but often forgotten. it helps you see new and old things in a different way.

working with the elderly continued

As Kay's class with the elderly at New Coutland contributes, I've been learning more ways of  communication. Kay told me an interesting story that stuck with me about how you should go along with what elderly people with memory loss issues are saying. She explained that going along with them makes them feel more comfortable in their constantly confusing surroundings. I think this is part of the reason why I get along with one of the women at New Courtland so well. The women I usually help is named Pat and she is known to be very ‘grumpy’ and has a bad attitude most of the time. Although most people think of her as negative and rude, I see her as being real about her situation. She has high standards for art because she’s an artist herself and was an art teacher! She constantly complains that the project we are working on isn't real art. I know I would be angry too if I had to spend my days confused and locked up in a senior center. I think her remarks aren't meant to be mean sometimes but are meant to be funny! I can tell that through our project she’s been happy being able to use her hands to create things again. Its great seeing her smile and make funny comments! She loves taking control and making little figurines with clay. 
The project we’ve been working on with the seniors has been a little challenging though because they have to use their hands and memory a lot. A lot of them don’t have great hand control anymore and also have a lot of memory loss so it has been a bit difficult at times. Although it’s hard for them to use their hands sometimes I try my best to encourage them to be hands on so their mold of their hand will end up being more their own. I don’t want to take the control of the project from them, I feel like their expression is the most important part. We just wrapped up the last class I could be a part of and Kay will finish the rest on her own. I feel sad that I won’t be able to see Pat anymore and I really hope she gets the chance to continue making things. I could tell that working with clay brought out a joy in her. For the last class I got to work with another women who had never done art before but seemed to be enjoying herself. I think it’s great that this class seems to be therapeutic for the seniors in a way, I really hope they all enjoyed themselves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Thank You!

I've learned a great deal this summer about being a business owner. There are many of ways to continue making art and run a successful work place. Working at Eiland Arts Center is just another learning step in my career. I appreciate Nicole for welcoming me into her business home and for sharing her business knowledge. As an artist I hope to create a business that will be a part of the community that supports young kids to make art work.

Thank you University of The Arts for allowing me to learn so much this summer. Thank you for allowing me to follow along with the summer programs of other students like me. I am greatful to have a chance to have had such a successful and productive summer.

Even though this summer is coming to an end, I will continue to incorporate the things I've learned to my everyday practices.

If there is a chance to do another fellowship next year I would love to. There's so much to learn!

As I enter my senior year as a Photography major, I'll be practicing all of the ways to create a succussful business. I know with the skills that I have learned I will be able to find or create a good job and continue to make art. 

The End!

Summer Fellows is finally finished, and my internship with artist Michele Kishita has been absolutely incredible! It saddens me that my time with her is done, but it is great to know I can always contact her about any of my future endeavors. I am so grateful to her for not only this experience, but for giving me the opportunity to succeed in my career moving forward.

Since starting this journey I have made leaps and bounds in terms of learning about technique, professionalism, and dedication. Michele is an extremely driven artist making her passion her career. She has shown me that although this career path may not always be the easiest, if you put in the time, effort, and knowledge of what it takes to succeed, you will.

In the span of only a few months I have made business cards, had my first art exhibition, helped hang a professional group exhibition, and so much more. None of this would have even been possible without Michele, which I am eternally thankful for. Having spent so much time with Michele I got to know her as a painter, and as an individual. Watching her create her pieces whether it was prints, commissions, or paintings was truly amazing. She considers every detail in her process of making, and I intend to do the same when creating my own pieces. Michele took me to art shows, introduced me to her professional colleagues, and allowed me to assist her when hanging her upcoming show at James Oliver Gallery. She recommended important art books to me, showed me well known art magazines, and gave me advice about Instagram information that was especially helpful for me being a young artist. Learning all of this new information at times could be overwhelming, but I am so happy I know all of this now as I go into my senior year.

It was inspiring for me to watch Michele create her work, and seeing it produced from start to finish was even more exciting. After interning with her I have developed a deeper understanding of the materials she uses, and how she uses them within the pieces. By preparing her panels, organizing her paints, working on her installation piece, and just working in her studio I feel I understand her process even more. Her attention to detail and way of working are vital to the content of her artwork. The linear forms, color choices, line work, and overall compositions are taken into consideration every time she paints. She studies, observes, and problem solves which all contribute to the creative process. From these observations I plan to take in what I have learned and apply that same thoughtfulness to my own paintings.

Michele Kishita in my opinion is truly a remarkable artist, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her this summer. I can’t wait to see what she will do next with her beautiful pieces, and in the art world!

Paper Work

Every summer day wasn't filled with fun times helping the children with camp. Some days we had to do the things that weren't much fun at all. Paper work has its place in every job setting. Whether it be important files for students or basic instructions for payments. Every company has them. On my last day at the Eiland Arts Center I helped Nicole type in a great deal of emails for the photography business in her company. The server that she uses allows her to send important information to hundreds of customers. Each customer will receive emails about events, their photos and camp openings for the next year. At first I didn't think that it would take me that long but I was wrong. Typing in each email and name took a few hours. Until that day I had never heard of the program Mail Chimp. It allows you to send everything to your mailing list all at once. It's more of the modern day phone book. Or a digital way to get in touch with people all at once.

The importance of having physical paper goes a long way. Sometimes computers don't work or something might not be backed up properly.

Filing paper work out and keeping it organized is crucial to making sure that business stays in order. The piles that I did help type were in a certain numerical order that Nicole arranged.

Making sure that things are kept in proper order are very important to running a business without chaos.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Station Cafe

I've mentioned the art work and forgot to mention the cafe! Well this is a earth friendly, vegetarian cafe. And even though I am not a vegetarion I can say that I've enjoyed every drink of coffee or sandwich here. I've tried a variety of things; the roasted pepper and mozzarella cheese sandwich, the kidney bean brownie and peanut butter cookies. My favorite I must say has to be the chocolate covered coffee beans and the smoothies. Larisa shared the chocolate covered beans with me once and I was hooked from there. The smoothies were also a great way to start every morning with the children.

Even though the summer is coming to an end at Eiland Arts Center and The Station Cafe I'll be back for sure to get chocolate covered coffee beans and smoothies.

Be sure to visit The Station Cafe in Merchantville, NJ. You're sure to find something you'll love.

P.S. I've been looking at a couple of the hand made books in there and I'll be getting one of those too. This place has a never ending variety of things to love and its all made by local artists right here in our neighborhood!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Careers and Commissions

As the summer is coming to an end so is my internship with Michele. Looking back on my entire summer I have realized how much I have learned from her, and from myself in the process. She has taught me skills and techniques that will help me tremendously as I move forward in my career, and in life.
The other week Michele took me to see an exhibition at Urban Art Gallery here in Philadelphia. We talked about the current work displayed there, the solo exhibition she previously had at the gallery, and about the art world in general. We had lunch together and she gave me a lot of advice about what she has done in her career, and important information I need to know as a young artist. I was even given homework which was to write ten things I want in the next ten years, and how much time it takes to achieve each. This was very difficult for me because I am not used to deciding what I want in terms of the future, and it was stressful especially with graduation on the way. But it was also a really great exercise for me to document what I want in life, because it pushed me to list a set of goals and create a plan of how to achieve them. I explained to her that the future scares me in that I am not exactly sure what I want to do career wise with painting. She recommended certain classes I could take to work on technical skills in fine arts which I definitely need, and said that I could always come to her when I have opportunities in the art field. I am extremely grateful to her for this because she is incredibly knowledgeable about which opportunities are worth pursuing, and which ones are not.
I have continued to wrap the string for Michele’s installation piece as she finishes working on her paintings for her group exhibition. Having the opportunity to see a professional artist creating such large amount of work is amazing to me. During this studio time we have also discussed topics such as her commission work, art advisors, and others who purchase her work. I asked her how she determines prices for her pieces, especially commissions. She sent me the contracts she uses which includes her artwork commission agreement and exhibition agreement. She explained to me that she prices her work by the square foot above 12”x12” in size. We even created a price point for my work 70 cents/sq. ft. which I will be using for my first commission piece I was recently asked to do!
This coming week will sadly be my last, and I will be helping Michele hang her show. I’ll let you know how it goes and more!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The End

Working with ETD this summer has been absolutely eye opening, not only in terms of a dancer but of how a company works together realistically to create work and actively seek ways of improving themselves. Throughout these past 2 months, I’ve been able to work with many different aspects of the company and grow as an artist, mover, and person overall.

I think the most important thing I learned from Eryc was how to present yourself and talk to people. He is so sociable and driven when he talks about the company. His confidence and trust in himself allows for an incredible marketability for the company's success. He is constantly searching for new ways to grow and expand the ideas that will help build on this work, and does not give up or waiver when something doesn't work out or a plan gets sidetracked. His ability to adapt to situations and keep driving forward is something I will definitely take away from this as I move into making my own work for my final year of school. Advocating and believing in my own artistic decisions has always been a weak point of mine and watching Eryc at work has really inspired me to take action in my own agency.

Although I was never able to get a good quality camera for the media aspect of the job, I did learn a lot about how to work together to achieve someone’s artistic vision. Eryc has a very distinct aesthetic that is significantly different than my, more simplistic vision. Because of this fact, I had difficulty understanding and shaping the work I was producing to match the work that he liked to present for the company.  Eventually, I was able to create something that we both found satisfactory, but it wasn’t easy for me. Even just in the noticing of this, I learned a lot about how I deal with problems and how to work through them.

In terms of actually creating work, the dancers taught me how to collaborate and listen to one another in order to continue creating and evolving a dance. I was always impressed by how each person would feel comfortable sharing ideas or thoughts on how to improve, connect, and create functional movement. Their willingness to “workshop” ideas led to a collective understanding of the work and a deep connection to its outcome.

Being an artist is hard, being a company is even harder. I’m constantly amazed by how much work Eryc, Nicole, and Andrew put into keeping the company growing and running successfully. The work is never really done, there is no stopping point, even breaks in time tend to make you slide backwards. It really is a hill with no areas to rest, you’re either pushing forward or sliding backwards and it truly is exhausting. Luckily they all work together to get the job done, but i’m glad I had the opportunity to take a look inside the inner workings and lend a helping hand.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Home Depot, Colors, Cardboard, and What it Means to be an Artist

Sometimes, I am a fine artist, especially if the standards which a piece is considered fine art is abstract and subjective. For example, my stick figures are really nice if I choose to consider myself a minimalist and if my audience appreciates minimalism. Perhaps, if I put two complementary colors adjacent to each other on a canvas, it would classify as a Color Field painting. Of course, the validity of my assertions about art depends on ones qualifying factors of artwork and the standards that must be met to be deemed an artist. I admit I’m not a real fine artist, and my stick figures are not as stick figure-ish as they could be. At heart, and by practice, I’m a creative writer and the pictures I create are most vivid when they are illustrated by narrative and poetic devices, but Veronica looks past my visual artistic shortcomings and that’s what I love about working with her.

Not too long ago, we went to the Home Depot in South Philly to pick out warm and cool color templates for the More Stately Mansion Exhibition’s free Zine (which my poetry will be featured in, by the way). Though my co-intern, Emily is a recent Fine Arts graduate (excuse me if my terminology is wrong) and far more qualified to make literally anything aesthetically pleasing than I am, I begged to get my hands involved with the production of the magazine. After spending about thirty minutes in Home Depot being extremely indecisive about which colors to choose and which cool colors I thought looked best with specific warm colors, we headed back to her home where she stationed me on the sidewalk with a large square of card board, all of our color scheme temples, rubber gloves, and spray adhesive. It was early summer when the heat was settling into the air and cementing into the ground. Warm air blew gently semi-frequently, so sitting outside was almost like sitting in a drying machine. She told me to paste the warm and cool colors together and to spray the adhesive at an angle so the wind wouldn’t steal the glue. She emphasized the importance of the template cards being as perfectly parallel against each other as possible, and then, left me alone to start the task.

My calves and thighs trembled from squatting to avoid sitting on the hot pavement. I caked glue onto the board a few times because the wind snatched some of it away. Some of the template cards dried too soon and had to be sprayed again. Some cards dimensions weren’t equal, and subsequently, did not match evenly. There were maybe two-hundred cards to paste to each other, and often, I lost focus due to boredom from monotonous movement. As easy as I thought it would be to stick two colors together, it simply wasn’t. The excitement of being a fine artist softened as I became frustrated with my own incompetence, but I've felt that way with writing too before. Maybe being an artist isn’t always about being in love with your craft, but instead, dedicating yourself to it. Struggling with those templates taught me that, at the very least, being an artist is trying to align and make things come together despite all of the elements working to keep them apart.