Week 8: The End!

I’m writing my last post from home, having moved all my stuff out on Saturday with the assistance of my patient husband. Unfortunately, the elevator in the dorms was broken, so we carried all our stuff down four flights of stairs. The shop was a lot easier, with functioning elevators and carts, but moving out is still a big project.

Our last week was dedicated to finishing and installing some details. Josh sanded and put finish on his squiggle pieces, Hartmut made a couple more mask like carvings, Ellie, Heide, and Jacob revisited the swings that they made at Echo Lake, and made a lovely one out of one of Phil Brown’s bowl blanks. Per was wise, and spent his time tweaking the display of his steam bent blossoms/ tumbleweeds/ swimming creatures, casting shadows on the gallery walls. I finished the sketchbook and employed one of the students, Katie Maas, to scan it and lay it out in book form so it can be printed. Then I bound the book and rushed it to the gallery just before it opened to the press on Friday morning.

I had to sketch this stunning array of Hartmut’s Diary in Wood as it awaited transport to the gallery.

Hartmut’s complete Philadelphia Diary in Wood.

Some of the guards are especially pleasant, including Elbert, whose thousand watt smile has been greeting students for years. He was at the desk at my residency three years ago, and was still a delight to encounter this summer. Joining him on this page is Bruce, who is careful not to throw out any projects that might have been thoughtlessly placed on the trash cans.

These sketches are of a few pieces in the galleries before the opening. We were all invited to bring along a few projects to fill out the gallery, but as it turned out, we made so much work this summer that it was a challenge to fit everything in.

My final sketch is of Ellie, flying on the swing across the gallery. The opening was great fun and very well attended. We all spoke briefly about our work, and Hartmut and I played a fiddle and Hartmut-horn duet. After the opening, our families and a few friends joined the staff of the Center for dinner and bowling. Most of us are terrible at bowling, but Josh, Jacob, and Patrick, Heide’s husband, managed some impressive scores.

So much effort goes into making this program a success! Navva, Karen, Lori, Katie, and Sara herded us and provided necessities and information and opportunities on a daily basis. We so much appreciate all that was done for us to make this possible. Thank you to the Center for Art in Wood, the staff, Board, and magnanimous supporters, to Tara Inman-Bellofatto, Don Miller, and the University of the Arts for hosting us so generously, the collectors, curators, and keepers of beautiful hand made objects that were so kindly shared with us, friends, family, and curious and friendly observers who made the opening such a success. Our families, who made major adjustments to their own lives to allow for our two months of uninterrupted work away from home. Lastly, thank you to my fellow ITE residents; Heide, Josh, Per, Ellie, Jacob, Hartmut, and John for your kindness, spirit, inspiration, and productivity. It was a memorable summer! I hope to see you all again before too long.

Week 7: Carpe Diem!

Text and sketches by Amy Forsyth

We’re really feeling the end of this amazing residency approaching! This past week, everyone scurried around, trying to finish things. Some of the larger pieces have already been delivered to the gallery. In the midst of it all, I came down with a cold and lost a whole day trying to sleep long enough to get rid of it. I missed some fun events, too, trying to catch up. We’ll have to believe the stories we’ve been told, which I’ll pass along to you.

We started the week with 100 degree weather, and a few storms that did nothing to relieve the humidity. Fortunately, our spaces are air conditioned, recently fixed, so work continued. Per’s forest of squiggles has grown and become three-dimensional.

Per in his forest

On Tuesday, everyone stopped work in the afternoon to visit Michael Hurwitz’ shop. I hope Ellie might add some photos of this, since I missed it. Work continued at night, as has been typical this entire residency. Everyone puts in 12-14 hour days on a regular basis, which shows in the sheer quantity of work that we’ve started delivering to the Center. It’s great stuff, too. It’s true that you get good at the things you do on a daily basis. Speaking of which, here’s the next installation of Josh’s Sculpture-a-Day project. They’d gotten away from me, somehow he’d managed to make a whole bunch of these while I was busy doing other things.

Heide’s experiments are resulting in some truly gorgeous surfaces and objects. This knob really knocked my socks off. She cast crushed eggshells in black pigmented epoxy in a round ice cube tray, then turned it on the lathe, once it was dry to make a polished knob. This sketch doesn’t really do it justice, it’s really gorgeous. She’s got some other similar experiments going that look great, as well. And Ellie is making a chair! No color (actually, she bleached it today) but she carved the back to respond to the traditional Moravian chair design, turning it into something else entirely! It’s lovely.

Heide’s cast eggshell knob, Ellie’s chair back, and a favorite lunch location

Hartmut has lined all the pieces of his Diary in Wood up on oak boards in preparation for taking them to the Center, and it’s a gorgeous and impressive array. Jake’s been turning giant branches on the lathe, after sawing them up with the chainsaw. Most of our work finished, we’ve been taking some time to enjoy being in this area, in the city, with its variety of cuisines and other adventures. On Wednesday night, there was a drag show at Bob and Barbara’s, which apparently has the longest running drag show in the area. A friend of Ellie’s was one of the emcees, so off they went (I was still snuffling, so I went back to the dorm). The next night we realized would be our last chance just for the Fellows to go out by ourselves, since families were starting to arrive for visits and the opening of the show. We went out for Indian food, followed by drinks at El Vey, where, after a tequila or two, we attempted to fit all seven of us into the photo booth for commemorative photos with predictable results.

We’ve become familiar with several of the security guards at our dorm and studio, who are often friendly and enjoy an occasional chat. Kim, pictured below, who is both greeter and guard at Hamilton Hall is always fun to banter with, and plans to come to our opening at the Center.

An account of our last night out, a portrait of Kim.

Many of us are still finishing up our work, but trying to enjoy our remaining time in this part of the world. Per went to the beach, and Jake took Hartmut to a Phillies game, and Josh’s family has arrived. It’s fun to hear little feet in the dorm hallway. Hartmut’s family has landed in New York and today, he’s gone up to get them. So during our last week, we’ll finish up details and deliver the rest of the work to the Center for installation. I still have to finish my frames for my drawings, finish this sketchbook, and bind it.

We’ve had a wonderful time!

Come to our opening this Friday, August 2nd, from 5-9 at the Center! We’re excited to see you all and show you what we’ve been doing!

Week 6: More Inspiration!

Drawings and text by Amy Forsyth. Ellie Richards has added some wonderful photos to the earlier blog posts, so check them out!

The weeks are flying by so quickly! And the studios are filling with amazing objects! This week, we’ve had to write artist statements, give our lists of planned exhibition inclusions, provide images, etc, so all the folks at the Center can design the show and the catalog. It’s a little startling, but a good way to focus our attention on trying to finish what we’ve started, or at least reach a good stopping point. We’ve all really gotten into a productive groove, so it’s kind of sad to realize that we have to have at least one eye on the deadline.

In addition to trying to finish up projects, there have also been field trips we’ve been eager to take, so this week was a good time to make those happen. On Tuesday, we visited Mark Sfirri’s amazing wood shop, a miracle of organization and home of incredible experiments in off center turning, among other investigations. We took Mark to lunch, and then he took us to a chocolate shop in New Hope, owned and operated by Barbara Serratore, whom we’d all enjoyed meeting several weeks ago at Echo Lake. She and Mark spoiled us and sent us off with treats.

Our next stop was the Wharton Esherick Museum. Our guide there was Al Trapuzzano, a furniture maker who always gives a great tour. I’ve been there probably 20 times, since I take my furniture class there every year, but I always manage to find something wonderful I hadn’t noticed before. You can imagine how excited and inspired the rest of the group was to see a building so closely integrated with its furnishings and its creator. We had the additional treat of being invited into the blue house, designed by Lou Kahn and Esherick together, where Esherick’s son-in-law still lives. That is usually off limits, but Bob welcomed us graciously.

Docent extraordinaire Al Trappuzano, and some sketches of Esherick objects

We made the mistake of heading back to Philly around 5pm, so we all got to experience the joys of rush hour. Josh has been our patient driver most of the time, and he calmly guided us back to the city.

The following day, I had made an appointment for us to experience the REAL Wanamaker Organ, housed in Macy’s. A few years ago, I had given a talk at UArts, where I showed some of the musical objects I had made. A slender fellow with chiseled features came up to me afterwards and informed me that I needed to follow him to see something amazing. His name is Scott Kip, and he is a graduate of the wood program at UArts, and one of his jobs is to restore the organ. He is one of several specialists on staff, who maintain and restore the 28,000 pipes and the mechanism that keeps it playing. The organ is played twice a day, and there has been a stir recently around the restoration of the organ facade, which is basically the symbolic image of the organ, which has been painted bright gold. What most people don’t know is that those golden pipes are not the actual organ, they don’t even play. The real organ is in a maze of small wooden rooms on several floors above the department store. Scott’s tour of the organ takes you on excursions up ladders, through tiny openings and narrow pathways, ducking under bellows and around columns still painted to look like the Egyptian Hall from the 1920’s, but currently embedded within a contemporary dropped ceiling. We travelled through a surreal landscape of giant bass wooden box organ pipes, 30 feet tall, under the breathing bellows, up a narrow ladder and a narrower hatchway into rooms with arrays of pipes of varying materials, then out into the department store, where women were shopping for dresses. Back into the wooden rooms full of organ pipes, then through a long series of rooms decorated for Christmas, with clockwork figures wrapped in plastic, just waiting for a cooler season. Grand staircases that crash into drywall partitions on the way to the Wurlitzer organ, which is a small version of the building size organ housed all around us, scented by warring fragrances being tested in the elegant room below. It’s an amazing and surreal journey through a dizzying variety of spaces and materials.

My attempt to capture the experience of touring the organ

After that, we all got back to work. I spent some time seeing what Heide has been working on, since I missed her last week. Her careful testing of unusual materials results in some absolutely gorgeous surfaces and objects. She’s been working on a series of boxes with material variations for the doors, knobs, and backs, capturing denim in epoxy, turning soapstone knobs on the lathe, weaving different kinds of fibers, using natural materials such as turmeric for dyes, using eggshells as surface and pattern for a knob. It’s all such lovely stuff, especially with her perfectly lacquered black boxes as backgrounds.

And, of course, both Hartmut and Josh continue in their daily production. Per has been steam bending beautiful thickets of twisting limbs. Here’s a drawing of Josh’s most recent sculpture-a-day projects. He’s making them faster than I can draw them!

The security guards are very nice. Some of them are there at the entrance every day. This is Anthony, who usually works in the late afternoon until closing.

Jacob has been testing all kinds of things, casting concrete, turning forms (some enormous!) on the lathe.

I’ve been working on more of my train drawings.

Yes, that is Jacob at the Station, and no, he wasn’t actually there.

Just so you don’t think I’m the only one who draws, around here, let me include a few sketches by the other residents.

This is a sketch by Per, showing how his bent wood pieces should be located in the gallery

This sketch is also by Per, a sketch of his bending jigs

Sketch by Hartmut, showing how to carve a chain, and initial sketches of his tuba piece

Sketches by Hartmut, studies for his woodblock prints and his octopus tentacles

Heide’s beautiful drawing showing possible cabinet variations

Ellie’s entirely different approach to sketching, where she transforms a book using collage

Josh reveals his architectural training in these gorgeous sketches.

Josh has several books that he can mine for forms for his daily sculptures

Jacob’s chalkboard sketches in the room where he’s working.

It’s Sunday, and we get kicked out of the building at 5 pm, so there are plans to get Philly Water Ice (pronounced “wudder issss”) on this hot, hot day. Next week will be dedicated to finishing things up and framing, even delivering some work to the Center.

Week 5: Make first, think second?

Text and drawings by Amy Forsyth, 2019 Sketch Artist

This week, our scholar, John-Duane Kingsley, joined us. His arrival gave us the opportunity to pause and assess what we’ve been doing over the past few weeks and adjust our course for the last three weeks. John chatted with us informally, at first, to get a sense of who we are and what informs our work, and then he came up with a series of thoughtful and informed questions for us to answer on the record. At the end of his visit, on Saturday, we hosted an open studio session, where people could come and see what we’ve been doing for the past few weeks, listen to us talk about our research, have lunch, and finally, do demos, where we each chose a favorite tool and demonstrated it or spoke about it. After a nap, we all went out for Ethiopian food and a couple of drinks before sending John off to the airport. Here he is, with his computer in the bench room…

This past week, our student resident, Jacob, was working on making molds for casting concrete. When I stopped in to sketch him, he was working on casting some long extruded rectangular bars.


Ellie has been working on many things, one of which is a series of chains, which she’s making in a variety of ways, to make as many as possible. Here’s a sketch of her trimming edges with her great grandfather’s chisel.

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Joshua continues to make his sculpture a day series. I’m trying to keep up with them and catalog all of them. Here’s the next installment. His sketches of them are really beautiful, I’ll make a point to include some of the other residents’ sketches next time. Heide also draws beautifully, as does Hartmut.

Ellie was hand planing some legs for a bench at the bench next to Josh, so I managed to catch them in action in the same drawing.

I’ve neglected to draw Heide this week, although she’s been working away on her beautiful series of cabinets with door variations. I’ll make a point to spend some extra time with her this next week.

Hartmut has taken one of Phil Brown’s bowl blanks that his wife Barbara encouraged us to transform, and look what he’s made with it!

It sounds good, too! He spent a lot of time tweaking it to get a good sound, turning different mouthpieces with different size openings. We tested it today, and it prefers C and F in two octaves.

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As for me, in addition to my documentation of our activities, I’ve also started a series of long horizontal drawings that I’ve been calling my “Train drawings,” although I think some will be pedestrian based instead of trying to capture the higher speed of a train. I’m interested in how we perceive our surroundings as we move though space, and I’m investigating ways to represent motion, the things we see clearly and the things that just become impressions of color or shape. Here are the first two. I’m making frames for ten of these, so we’ll see where they go, next. I have two more underway that aren’t ready to be photographed, just yet.

I think at some point these might become three dimensional, but for now, I’m just drawing and building frames.

I didn’t have time to draw during the open studio, but we had a(nother!) major shop clean up and welcomed visitors to come talk with us about our work. Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit, and it gave us a chance to take a breath and see all we’ve accomplished in our weeks here. I’m impressed at the sheer quantity and quality of the work, everyone is so productive! We’ll see what emerges next week. And we’ll miss our resident scholar, John, who has returned to Detroit.

Let’s see if I can leave you with a video clip of Hartmut playing his horn.

Week 4: Work and Play

Text and sketches by Amy Forsyth, 2019 Sketch Artist

The first half of this past week we were very productive. Everyone dashed about, carved, cut, shaped, turned, painted, drew, etc. And then, there was July 4 and 5, when the entire building, including the wood shop, was closed. Many of us took this opportunity to visit with friends and family, go sight seeing, and rest for a bit.

Per creates a mountain of ash dowels using the router table

Here’s a little collection of sketches showing what Ellie has been doing. She’s taken offcuts from her other projects and created colorful assemblages of them, layering paint and textures. She’s also been doing some studies using unusual materials, such as casting dowels in straws in epoxy and turning the works on the lathe using the sander to shape it. That’s still in progress. It’s been interesting to see the contrast between her madcap explorations and Heide’s crisp and intentional, almost scientific approach to exploring materials. They sit next to one another in the room across the hall away from the woodshop. Jacob has joined them in there, and is also doing some material explorations, casting concrete.

The Drake, which looms over our dorm, and a page of Ellie and her delightful studies.

Here’s Heide, doing some investigations into paint.

In the meantime, Josh continues to work with some steam bent ash, while also continuing his sculpture-a-day project. He’s been pretty good about staying on schedule.

Hartmut has been unbelievably productive, he always has a new project at hand. Either his collection of small carvings he calls his “Diary in Wood,” or a larger piece is going at any time. He’s carved this beautiful curving fabric-like piece.

Hartmut’s wooden cloth and a consulttion between Per and Don Miller.


Through it all, our stalwart shop director, Tara, keeps it all going, from maintaining the machinery to providing advice and materials, she’s the heart of the wood shop. Here she is, lurking in her “cave.”

A catalog of Josh’s pieces to date, and a drawing of Tara

In addition to my sketches, I also have been working on some bigger, more finished drawings. I took a series of photos at one of the collectors’ magnificent houses and did a series of sketches to decide which one to turn into a finished drawing. Here are the sketches, followed by the drawing.

Since the building was closed over July 4 and 5, we all scattered. Visits from family, family reunions, trips to New York City, were on the agenda. I went back to my rural home in Berks County and took Hartmut with me. We went swimming at some friends’ house, to a July 4 party, and to a concert at a local brewery. And don’t you know, he managed to make three of his lovely little carvings for his “Diary in Wood” in those two days.



Week 3: Time to focus!

Text and sketches by “Sketch Artist,” Amy Forsyth

This past week was the first one where we really were able to start working and focus for an entire week without interruption. Our heads were full of new ideas and images from our past couple weeks’ activities and visits, but we found ourselves beginning with projects that felt comfortable and familiar.  Once we get going, I imagine that we’ll become more experimental, but at the moment, everyone seems to be working in their usual mode.  I’m finding that making drawings is taking all of my time, and haven’t really ventured into the wood shop very much, as I had intended. Everyone else is making enough dust and shavings to make up for it.  Especially Hartmut, who was working in the other room with an electric chainsaw, and Josh, who has been continuing his rigorous sculpture-a-day schedule.

Josh carving

Heide has been experimenting with turmeric dye, and has found that poplar accepts dye well, especially in sequential layers.  She’s got some beautiful and very bright yellow boards.

bird skeleton

I discovered a lending library of skeletons on the third floor, and took out a pigeon skeleton to draw.  That then led to the necessity of visiting the Museum of Natural History to draw dinosaurs.


T-rex head

It was pretty loud in there. The camp counsellors should be paid way more than they get.

Meanwhile, Hartmut was carving.

Hartmut carving


Navva stopped by for a visit, to make some plans for our upcoming Open Studio, etc.

Navva visit

…and I started a drawing of one of the amazing collectors’ houses. These are the “thumbnails,” trying to decide which of the images to turn into a finished drawing.

residence thumbnails

This week, I will be focusing on each of the residents, making drawings of them, their processes, and their work.

residents in phila

The residents in the city!

Ellie has some photos she’d like to share, so you’ll hear from her, soon.

Hi Ellie here with more pictures from our action packed days – how about some from Philadelphia’s Organic Recycling Center?!

Week 2: Cabinets of Curiosity

Text and sketches by Sketch Artist Amy Forsyth

No sooner had we returned from Echo Lake than it was time to pull our postcard together for our upcoming exhibition.  The only problem was that we haven’t really had enough time to finish anything (or maybe even start anything?) to photograph for the card. Drawing to the rescue! I suggested that I sketch everyone with an object that is representative of what they plan to work on for the next weeks. And so… here’s the sketch of us that our genius graphic designer is in the process of turning into our publicity for the exhibition and also our open studio day on July 13th.

postcard image

The drawing for our postcard.  From left to right, John-Duane Kingsley (our scholar, who will arrive for a week in July), Jacob, with a multi-material turning, Ellie, with some brightly colored wood slats that she’s glued together, Josh, with one of his one-day sculpture projects, Per, with some wood strips he’s experimenting with using steam bending, Heide, with a bent wood experiment, Hartmut, with his giant octopus tentacles emerging from behind him, and me, with my ever present sketchbook.

Per, our Swedish resident, invited us to a Midsummer dinner he prepared, as best he could, from food found in our local supermarkets. We feasted on three different kinds of pickled herring, which were tasty with sour cream and potatoes, along with more familiar foods such as smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, salad, shrimp, and a cheese platter.  The main dish is called Jansson’s Temptation, and was made of potatoes, onions, and anchovies, and served with asparagus.  We washed it all down with beer and vodka, since akvavit was not available. Heide provided some twinkle lights for mood, and there was much merriment.

One of the most exciting events of this residency is the opportunity to visit collectors and see the amazing things they’ve accumulated over the years. Many of these collectors are in the Washington, DC area, and so we were able to combine a whirlwind tour of our nation’s Capital with a visit to several collectors and friends of wood art.

We were treated to lunches, dinners, snacks, as well as food for the mind, as the collectors and wood aficionados are all extremely knowledgable and passionate about their objects and spaces.

Dc trip 1 copy

We drove through some rainstorms, Josh at the wheel, and arrived at our first stop, A Workshop of Our Own (WOO) in Baltimore, around dinner time. Here is WOO’s mission statement:

WOO’s mission is to create a professional woodworking environment which cultivates and promotes the careers of women and gender non-conforming craftspeople in our field. In doing so we aim to:





We had a tour of their facilities, and they generously provided pizza, salads, and lots of other treats for dinner, which we ate with the staff and volunteers in their outdoor picnic space between the building and the stream.  Tucked between a stream and the light rail line, their industrial site is an urban oasis, shared with other artist run venues.

Some pictures from WOO:

We then went on to our hotel in Bethesda, strategically located within a few miles of nearly all of the collectors.

Our schedule was jam packed, and very specific on timing, precise in scheduling, and had clearly been arranged by someone who knew what they were doing. We found out later that our last host, Judy, a physician and docent at the Renwick, among other impressive activities, had arranged this for us.  For the sake of the privacy of the collectors, I will not identify them. But let it suffice to say that we were overwhelmed with the quality of the objects we were invited to explore, guided by our hosts.  None of us are wood turners, which had been the original focus of this residency, but we all marveled at the craftsmanship and beauty of the turned objects we were invited to hold in our hands, and we also were thrilled to see pieces of furniture that we’d previously only seen in magazines or publications of The Furniture Society.  We also visited with some local wood artists and the Director of the Renwick Alliance at Barbara Wolanin’s house.  The ITE residents had stayed there in previous years, when Barbara’s husband, Phil Brown, used to organize this trip.  Although he passed away about a year ago, his memory is being honored by many of those whose lives he touched.  We left there with some of his rough turned bowl blanks that will become an art project. There were several more visits that day, and we were intrigued to see how different collections can be, from those who have a wide range of interests to those who are fascinated primarily by one material (wood) and all the myriad things one can do with it. We were treated to lunches and dinners and thoroughly spoiled throughout the trip.

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Some drawings of some of the wonderful things (and people!) we saw on our trip.


We had a few hours between visits to stop in Washington, DC to visit the Renwick, where we saw examples of their permanent collection, and we also managed to get to the Washington Monument and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, where there was a retrospective of wood artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, whom we all admired.  There were some other outdoor wood sculptures by Foon Sham, but we only found one of them. Our last stop was at Jeff and Judy’s, where we had a delicious dinner along with a master class in wood art, much of it masterfully turned on the lathe and then often shaped and carved.  There were also beautiful baskets, and assorted other gorgeous objects. We headed back to Philadelphia after dessert, and fell into our beds around midnight, our heads full of images and ideas.  Thank you to all our generous hosts!

DC trip 3

Some more of the amazing objects we saw on our trip

Some pictures from the collections:

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And now, to work!

Week 1: Introductions and Collaborations

Sketches and text by 2019 ITE “photojournalist” Amy Forsyth

The first week of our residency is coming to a close. On Day 1, we were given a tour of the wood shop by shop guru extraordinaire, Tara, whose benevolent presence provides advice and some materials for our projects, keeps the machines running smoothly, answers questions, impossible and otherwise, and is helpful in every possible way. Don Miller, the Wood Coordinator at University of the Arts (and maker of exquisitely crafted objects, such as guitars) was on hand to greet us, as well. Then, we located the shared van that we have for our shared use during the residency, and piled in for a quick drive to the Center for Art in Wood. There, we met all the staff whose emails we’ve been receiving for several months, including Jennifer Navva Milliken, the Artistic Director, new at this position since my previous residency in 2016.  We saw the current exhibition and the permanent collection, were treated to a delicious Filipino lunch, and then got acquainted by showing slides of our work.

Day 1 presentation

First Day at the Center for Art in Wood. Presentations by the residents.

residents work

My sketches and notes on some of the residents’ work

Everyone was anxious to get set up and started, since we were scheduled to uproot for the weekend to participate in the Echo Lake Collaboration at Bucks County Community College. Here are some sketches of beginnings. I went to the Center for Art in Wood to get started on this blog.

per thinking

Per making sketches, evidence of Josh and Hartmut’s first evening in the shop

ellie starting

Ellie assembling some pieces she’d brought, and a fellow diner at a local ramen and sushi lunch place, Tomo, near the Center for Art in Wood.

caw visit

Some sketches of pieces in the permanent collection at the CAW, and a sketch of the delicious smelling basswood/linden trees blooming on Spruce Street

dorm breakfast

A quick breakfast sketch of the beautiful mug I bought from the Clay Studio and a view from the skylight in my room, plus more sketches of quick studies by Josh, Jake, and Hartmut, who is making a series of small carvings he’s calling, “My Diary in Wood.”

Echo Lake! First, we drove to New Hope, PA to look at the 20th Anniversary Exhibition of the Echo Lake Conference, which is a gathering of makers who assemble for a long weekend every June to make things together. Wood turners, wood workers, metal workers, painters, jewelry makers, printmakers, etc. assemble and see what happens when they make quick, improvisational pieces of art work together, and then auction the work off at the end to raise money for scholarships and to do it again the following year.  The ITE residents have traditionally been a part of this. We were early, so we wandered down to the Landing and had drinks by the river before returning to New Hope Arts, the gallery that was hosting the exhibition, which was full of the best of the collaborative pieces made at the gathering over the past 20 years. All this years’ collaborators assembled there and each had submitted three images of their work. We looked at all of those, then drove to the VRBO that Ellie had rented for us for the weekend.  It was charming, only 5 minutes from the conference, and on a wooded lot with a porch overlooking a grassy yard.

air bnb porch

Sunny mornings on the porch with coffee and breakfast to wake up

The only problem was that there weren’t enough beds, so Josh, Hartmut, and Jake slept on various couches and cushions.

josh air bnb

Here’s Josh on two couches pushed together.

Nevertheless, every morning, we were among the first to arrive and start work, and everyone became absorbed in  many interesting projects.  Ellie and Josh teamed up with several other artists to make a remarkable croquet set. Ellie and Heide and Jake made swings with a few other collaborators. Hartmut’s carvings appeared in many places, including an award given to one of the key organizers of Echo Lake, John Mathews, the Dean of Arts at Bucks, who is also a metal worker, who, when not in the metal shop, was dashing about and making things happen the entire time we were there. Among other things, Per created a beautiful carved form that he finished by singeing it black, and someone gold leafed a knot in the center of the wood. I worked on multiple things myself; a dovetailed drawer with Tib Shaw, a first time participant, who is the Curator at the American Association of Woodturners, a jacket that Suzanne Kahn initiated, which was the first Echo Lake garment, a couple of drawings, a carved leaf for a giant bouquet of wooden “flowers,” and a block print. It’s astonishing how many things 60 artists can create in three days, they were up to 90 for the auction shortly before the deadline.

melissa and graeham

Melissa Engler and Graeme Priddle, working out a Maori design for a picture frame. Fortunately, they were the winning bidders for this drawing.

echo lake

I tried to capture the spirit of Echo Lake in this sketch.  The “resource table” of many varied objects for transformation, and the frenzied work amidst the objects handed off and piling up. Jokes and silliness abound, and camaraderie. Many of the participants have been involved for all 20 years.

echo auctionThe auction took place in a different building and drew collectors who were happy to pay several hundred dollars for pieces by multiple artists, some of whose work is difficult to obtain, otherwise. After the auction, Josh took the wheel and drove us back to UArts, where we are now beginning our second week. We hope to get some work done in the shop before leaving for the weekend trip to visit collectors and museums in Washington, DC.

Hi Ellie here with a few pics from Echo Lake ~~~

First Days of the 2019 ITE

Hello from Philadelphia! The 2019 residents have touched down, moved in, and started working! I am Amy Forsyth, this year’s “photojournalist.”

You’ll see that this year’s documentation is a bit different, since I proposed to draw everything instead of photograph it this year. Known as “reportage,” these drawings will clearly acknowledge my own interpretation as the lens through which the residency will be viewed. We’ve become used to the fallacy that photography is objective, and by returning to drawing as my medium of communication, I’m making it clear that these ideas and images are subjective. The other residents also have the option to write and provide images on this blog, as well, but it’s my main responsibility during the residency. Before we arrived, I looked up the other residents on the internet and did portraits of them, just to see how different the drawings will be of people I’ve never met, as opposed to what they’ll be like once we’ve all lived and worked together for two months. The following drawings are the ones that I did before meeting the other residents.  I used several different media, in part because of projected personalities and also because I like the variety of effects. Here’s an introduction to this year’s residents.

Per portrait

Per Brandstedt, Artist, Sweden

Heide portrait

Heide Martin, Artist, Maine, USA

Hartmut portrait

Hartmut Rademann, Artist, Germany

Ellie portrait

Ellie Richards, Artist, North Carolina, USA

Josh portrait

Joshua Enck, Artist, New York, USA

Jacob portrait

Jacob Zimmerman, Student Artist, Delaware, USA

Amy portrait

Amy Forsyth, “Photojournalist,” Pennsylvania, USA

John Duane portrait

John-Duane Kingsley, Scholar, Michigan, USA

Stay tuned for more drawings! We’re all excited to begin! Amy Forsyth

Hi! Ellie here..

Going to supplement Amy’s wonderfully thoughtful posts with some images I’ve taken from our ITE experience!  Let’s start with the woodshop! and our pretty pink bandsaw!


It’s the end?

Its been almost a month since the residency came to an end and we said goodbye to Philadelphia and The Center for Art in Wood. Now that I have most of my film develop, (yes, there are still some photos of the summer that I have not seen yet haha), I wanted to post some this upcoming week. Here are a couple of my favorites ones.



Jong-rye looking very peaceful, maybe she doesn’t meet the shoe criteria.



Michael helping Jong-rye with her work.



Vivian being very resourceful.



In conclusion, Janine never left that spot.






I don’t think Jack ever returned that coffee maker.









This is a great chair.



Morgan’s lecture went well.

An Assortment of the Fourth Week at ITE

Mike and Janine_

Janine and Michael exchanging some words.


Seán, Janine, Michael, Jack, Jong-rye, Navva, and Mark at the Wharton Esherick.

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Jong-rye at the deck at Wharton Esherick deck.

mike and sean_

Michael and Seán: the start of a beautiful friendship.

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Janine, Brian, and Jong-rye.


Oh! did I not introduce Seán, our scholar…


Janine looking her best.

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Janine working at her best.


Vivian Cristina, Morgan, Jong-rye, Michael, and Seán enjoying Philly’s last Bastille day.


Jong-rye, Cristina, and Morgan patiently waiting for their food to appear.


Vivian, Michael, and an unsuspected Seán.

Third Week at ITE 2018

Some of the ITE Fellows were inspired by a dinner conversation about corn and decided to turn some.  Check out the video below:

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Turning dinner. #corn #windgateite2018 @centerforartinwood

A post shared by MORGAN HILL (@morganhillcreative) on


Here is a very blurry photo of Vivian Jack, and Cristina playing Settlers of Catan. Vivian won…


Vivian and Janine wondering the status and smell of the wood that was left in the car for over a week.


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Morgan safely burning her cut pieces of wood.


Jong-rye working hard.


A collection of shoes we call ” The ITE shoes”

Tamarez_CristinaAA015-7Vivian shaving down her wood piece.


I think Morgan was cleaning…


Morgan in her room.


Jong-rye and Micheal discussing wood.


Michael working the machine.


Morgan discovering the wood is too wet.


A hesitant Jack smiling for the camera.

Second Week of ITE 2018

Our second week started with our weekly meeting followed by a group clean-up session.



The second half of the week we headed to DC. This trip was filled with amazing and an overwhelming amount of incredible art as we visited private art collector’s home. But first, we stopped at Barbara and Phil’s home.


Jack and Jong-rye in Barbara’s lovely kitchen.


Janine ecstatic by all the turned wood at Barbara and Phil’s.


Vivian, Janine, and Jong-rye in Barbra and Phil’s living room.


Jack, Michael, Barbara, and Phil.


Some of us were having a difficult morning…


While others were practicing their food photography skills.

Some photos from our visit to the collector’s homes:




There was an extensive amount of conversation about corn.


Too much excitement over the desert and a dumbwaiter…


Jack and Morgan.


A smiling Morgan.


You can always sit with us.


Excuse me.


Naava and the ITE gather around for story time with Jeff.


Dinner time with Jeff and Judy.

Quotes of the Week:

“We played this game where one person would compliment you for five minutes without responding. That would send me to the hospital”

“It won’t bite. Well I guess we will see”

“She forgot to sign it. It’s not too late, anyone got a magic marker?’

“Are you being depressing again, we have company”

Looks at cookbook “It says many Americans aren’t familiar”

“I am doing nothing” Continues to vacuum



That’s a wrap for this week!

The First Week at ITE 2018

Our first week as  ITE Resident Fellows has been jammed pack with exciting things, only to realize we have a lot to do in such a short time!

Artist presentation was completed on the first day at The Center for Art in Wood. Your new ITE Resident Fellows for 2018 are Vivian, Jong-rye, Michael, Jack, Janine, Morgan, Sean and Cristina. To learn more about how amazing we are, click here!!

We visited nextfab where we complete safety training, eventually being upgraded to a green badge. We also made some very interesting bottle openers at NextFab, even the photojournalist resident got their hands working.

IMG_4673Michael, Jack Janine, Cristina, Jong-Rye, and Vivan inspecting wood at the recycling plant.

Photo: Morgan Hill

We visited the recycling plant on a very humid day, where we walked around and inspected some possible wood materials.


Janine turning wood.

Photo: Cristina Tamarez

Some of us were recovering from a great night of karaoke jam sessions but were back in the woodshop bright and early the next morning!



Vivian holding a spider at a fundraiser

Photo: Cristina Tamarez

A few of us attended an art show that served as a fundraiser to fund a mural of a flying bat in Philly. There were some furry friends who also attended. This is Barbie the Spider.


Quotes of the Week:

“I am about to do some sketchy stuff”

“ I just followed my interest and what I wanted to do. At some point you have to claim it [your craft], you are never going to know everything”

” Do you remember the species name for the spider? Shmantula the Tarantula “

2017 Windgate ITE Residency Conclusive Blog Post!

I returned home to New York City this past August with four rolls of film I didn’t have the chance to develop before I left.  The darkroom I like to use here was closed for renovations until late September, so they languished in my fridge until I was finally able to do something with them.  The pictures are from our trip to Wharton Esherick’s studio, museum, and home, and also from the preview and opening night of our show at the Center, which closes in a week and a half on October 15th. If you haven’t made it there yet, what has been keeping you?

I’m truly, terribly grateful to have been able to document this year’s Windgate ITE Residency, which, as we now know, is the last one which Albert LeCoff, founder of the Center for Art in Wood, will have overseen. I’d like to congratulate him on his retirement. I know that he will continue to make outstanding contributions to the field and the wood art community.

Here, without further comment or wiseacre captions, are the pictures:


Big Show Tonight

It’s First Friday in Old City and Anastasia, Daniel, Felicia, Jason, Max, Megan and I are having a show at the Center for Art In Wood!  Come by between 5:30 and 8:00 PM tonight for the opening, and come by tomorrow (Sat., August 5th) between 2:00 and 4:00 PM for artist talks and a concert by Daniel Alexander Fishkin and daxophiles.

Further event details can be found by following this link.  I truly hope to see you there.

Albert, Tina, Karen, Lori, Katie, Morgan and Rebecca of the Center have been tremendously supportive throughout the residency period and during this past week as we’ve put the show together, especially.

The gallery looks fantastic, but I’m not going to put any pictures of it here right now.  This is a ploy.  I’m trying to get you to come to the opening.  Instead, I’m posting some pictures Katie collected from us residents of what we had on our workbenches in the week before work was due at the Center, with her permission. After that, I’m gonna go get my tux from the rental place.





Max has been looking for ways to encourage people to get more tactile with his pieces.  The jury is out on this particular one.  The Center has soap and water on standby.





Megan’s lightboxes are fully dimmable!



These frames of Anastasia’s have something in them now, but you’re not gonna find out about it from me.  Come out tonight!


As for me, I…I……


Open Studios at NextFab


Dawn comes early on Open Studios day.  The group prepares itself.  As Max mixes his bowl of yogurt, granola and fresh fruit, Daniel smiles wolfishly at the camera.  He has a hunch about what’s coming.


Bam!  Daniel’s hunch is correct.  I nail this shot of Max taking a bite.  Residents, don’t say I didn’t tell you on day one that I’d get you eating.  (Max, please let me know if you’d like this shot removed.)


Anastasia prepares her work-in-progress for public consumption.


Jason prepares his workspace for public consumption.


Megan’s work is prepared for public consumption.


Open Studios guests sign in upstairs at NextFab.


Each ITE 2017 resident gives a presentation about his or her work.


Jason presenting.


Felicia presenting.


Max presenting.


Anastasia presenting.



During his presentation, Daniel gives a performance on the daxophone.


Fleur Bresler examines a daxophone tongue.


Luncheon is served!


Megan talks about her work.




Max’s table attracts a lot of attention.





Daniel’s parents stop by Felicia’s table to hear about what’s going on.





All the excitement has done Anastasia in!  She naps on the couch.


A celebratory dinner at City Diner with Tina and Albert.

Elizabeth’s visit

Elizabeth Kozlowski, or 2017 ITE Resident Scholar, joined us last week in order to talk to us about our work, conduct research at the Center for Art in Wood, and take classes on woodworking technique.


Anastasia, Max, and I make a road trip to the airport to collect Elizabeth.


The airport.


Elizabeth entering the ITE van.


We have an introductory meeting with Elizabeth upstairs at NextFab.


Anastasia and Elizabeth meet one-on-one.


Elizabeth and Max meet one-on-one.


Max gesticulates during his one-on-one meeting with Elizabeth.


Felicia and Elizabeth meet one-on-one.


Elizabeth and Megan meet one-on-one.


A celebratory group lunch at Cafe Ynez!

Pictures from NextFab (and one from home)


Anastasia and Albert talking about Anastasia’s work.


A reverse angle shot of Anastasia and Albert talking about Anastasia’s work.


Megan looking sly as she shines her iPhone flashlight through her lightbox.


Megan and Albert meeting.


Megan and Albert continue to meet.


Group lunch at Cafe Ynez!


Max stares down a honking big chunk of wood he’s just loaded onto the lathe.


And then, he attacks!  Shavings fly everywhere.


Anastasia’s mortises, or mortices, or mortae?


Daniel loads a file on the CNC control station.


Daniel puts a bit into the CNC.


After affixing the piece of wood he’ll mill to the CNC bed with double sided tape and screws, Daniel gives it a final check.


The CNC CNCing.


Freshly milled daxophone tongues!


Jason calls these things “segmented pieces” but I prefer to think of them as multigrain cardboard loaves.


Jason slaps some plaster onto turned cardboard.


At the end of every working day, Jason deliquesces, becoming a viscous, milky fluid.  We pour him carefully into this container and close the lid tightly.  In the morning, he assumes his human form once again.


He has a collection of these, but only one of them is labeled.  Imagine how much trouble we’d all be in if we put him into the wrong container!  Sometimes I feel like he’s daring us to make a mistake.


A hollow cardboard vessel by Jason.