Late Nights and Laughter

…. without Merryll Saylan, who has decided it’s not best for her health to join us (hahaha! it’s her, not us — she’s recovering from two recent surgeries, one shortly after the other — hip and back) The long flight from California to Philadelphia might be too stressful. Merryll is 80, after all. As much as we are disappointed, we support her need to take care of herself. We are thinking of you and wishing you the best for a full recovery.


UArts Woodshop

I’ve written before that the shop facilities at UArts are fabulous. To achieve that, the machinery and equipment need continual upkeep, repair, and monitoring. Tara Inman-Bellfatto is the woodshop supervisor and every day we sincerely appreciate her attention to helping make our time in “her” shop go smoothly. She is literally and figuratively the grease that keeps the gears running smoothly. Thank you Tara!

Tara Inman-Bellfatto oils one of the machines in the woodshop.


A Visit From Jack Larimore

Jack Larimore is a local artist who has been supportive of and involved with the Windgate ITE Residency for many years, and he is on The Center’s Windgate ITE selection committee. He stopped by to talk with us Wednesday about the residency and how it’s going. He asked excellent questions and listened intently to our responses.

And … he brought pizza!!! Thank you, Jack.


Intense Work Days

Pizza notwithstanding, we have just a few days of shop time left before we need to finish our projects, pack our tools, inventory the Center’s tools, stow everything away, and clean up the shop.


Nuch, sanding furiously, would not even stop to pose for a photo.


Neither would Katie pose for a photo. Jar of white milk paint in one hand, brush in the other, it appears as though she’s more than half finished with this step of the process.


I caught Rebecca sitting down on the job. Oh, wait … not true! She’s testing the feel of the chair she’s making. Thumbs up, indeed!

A day earlier, Rebecca’s chair looked like this.


Seriously?! Yes, seriously, I admire Ashley’s determination to upgrade her skills at woodturning. It might look like it, but she was not posing.

These two items are (or will be) joined together, a heart with wings that flap and … what?


Various Bits and Pieces

The next series of images are of various parts that will all come together to be exhibited on pedestals, carefully lighted to be admired at our exhibit opening … in less than a week!

I’m not sure what the double spoon is for, but it keeps appearing here and there, next to one item or another on Ashley’s workbench.


Ashley’s fabulous IKEBANA !!!  …. (That’s how you singsong ikebana, loudly, with accent on “ban”) Singsong it for us one more time, Ashley …. IKEBANA!!!  It. Is. Fabulous!



Michaela’s chest for a drawer … deconstructed so glue-up can take place.


Amy’s unfolding city/countryside is in the painting stage. I love her winding, twisting “highway”!



Add buttons, connect the pushers to the little boxes with springs and twine, and Katie’s jewelry box is coming alive! Clack, clack, clack has replaced the scritch, scritch, scritch of sanding ….



Katie’s Scissors Box stayed up later than we did one night, playing ….. and winning!


Yesterday Michaela and Nuch delivered a van load of finished work to the Center. Installation begins Monday! Karen Schoenwaldt is directing that activity. We can help if we want, but instead, we will be in the studio finishing bits and pieces.

–Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 





The Frame-Up Begins

Sawdust is flying! We have less than a week to finish our projects and there is much yet to complete. Karen Schoenewaldt, employee extraordinaire at the Center for Art in Wood, has completed the layout of the exhibit space, having firmly, yet gently, pried the pertinent information from all of us. Ugh … paperwork! But, thank you, Karen!



All those long strips of bent wood have become a chest for a drawer.

Rubber bands temporarily hold together the assembly.


Glue-up begins …. to say this is complex is an understatement. Michaela, I have no idea how you manage to pull off these complex forms!




Katie started painting her jewelry box. Adding buttons is next. (Photo courtesy Katie Hudnall.)

And, she is framing some of her drawings. New to her is drawing on black paper.




Ashley prepares boards for her next project …  a box?

For those unfamiliar with hand-planing, just know that Ashley wields a mean handplane!




The finer points of sanding, courtesy of Nuch. She’s wondering why in the world the Center didn’t provide sanding assistants for us ….

Printmaking and assembling. Nuch is also utilizing black paper.


And more sanding!




Amy’s rendition of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts … and a tree.

Photos from every angle are needed to fully “see” all the buildings in Amy’s colorful architectural sculpture.




Rebecca is using a scraper to smooth a curve. The piece belongs to a chair she is finishing for the exhibit.


A major design leap take Rebecca’s ebony forms to a new level. The complex-curved forms makes the pieces look more human-like. The bent-wood, laminated form around the black pieces is the glued-up headband. Shaping of that is next.




I’ve started adding paint to my turning-fetish “box.”

Off to the shop!

Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 





Inspiration Overload!

Several major private collections and four or five museum visits — we were on overload Tuesday after our three-day trip to the Washington, D.C. area. You might experience something similar while reading this lengthy blog …..

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Sunday we drove directly to Jeff Bernstein/Judy Chernoff’s home where they started the afternoon with a short formal talk about their collection. We were free to wander around to look at — and hold — the artwork. Lunch would be served shortly (the food was delicious!). (Photo by Judy Chernoff.)


Jeff Bernstein/Judy Chernoff

I had been to Judy and Jeff’s twice previously, but this visit was qualitatively different for three reasons: 1) The living room/dining room areas were opened up and remodeled, giving each artwork ample space to invite individual appreciation. 2) The group was comprised of non-woodturning-artists, so the focus moved beyond their extensive collection of wood-turned art to encompass glass, ceramics, and bamboo-woven baskets. 3) And, I am personally in a more expansive place with my own artwork.

Below are images of some of our investigations, discoveries, and delights. Jeff emphasized that he and Judy thoughtfully group pieces together so that each one relates well with the other. They shared stories about their two children and how each (grown) son has acquired a fondness for particular pieces and also learned to appreciate art.

Amy drawing in her sketchbook, Rebecca reacting to trompe l’oeil  ceramic teapots, Katie drawing, Michaela taking a photo.

Jeff Bernstein enthusiastically points out the delicate nature and beauty of Pat Kramer’s turned-and-carved Norfolk Island pine vessel to Michaela and Ashley.

Judy Chernoff hands a modest-size Hunt Clark sculpture to Amy. Nuch was enamored of the bamboo baskets and was delighted to be able to hold and examine them up close!

A framed print was a treasure I’d not noticed on previous visits. This charming embossed etching by a Vietnamese artist became my favorite. Internet research indicates that Le Ba Dang is still alive, 90+ years old, and continues to do his artwork.


Phil Brown / Barbara Wolanin 

We sincerely appreciated Phil and Barbara’s hospitality hosting several of us at their home, as well as the detailed travel arrangements made by Phil. Their consideration for our comfort, as well as considerable time spent chopping vegetables for delicious summertime salads made our time with them even more enjoyable.

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Phil Brown and Barbara Wolanin explain a detail on a turned object to Rebecca.

Phil gave us a tour of his workshop. Yup, just like every other woodworker, wood abounds! Afterward, we enjoyed adult beverages while relaxing at the dining room tables, talking about our upcoming trip into D.C.  Katie’s sketchbook was never far from her side.


Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery

Our first stop Monday was the Renwick Gallery to see the remaining two installations from the “Wonders” exhibit. They were wonderful! The primary exhibit currently on display is “Connections,” art from the Renwick’s permanent collection, where we enjoyed seeing numerous wood sculptures.

An explanation of the concept for “Connections,” and a photo of the outside of the Renwick Museum, which is located across the street, just down the block from the White House. The street in front of the White House is only open to foot and bicycle traffic.

A unique approach to sculpture made from wood ….

Dan Webb’s sculpture definitely was emotionally narrative. I circled back to look at it several times.

Slashed Millstone, 1996, Robyn Horn.


Martin Puryear at Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)

A must-see for everyone was the Martin Puryear exhibit at the SAAM. We were not allowed to take images, so I had to be satisfied with photos of two wood sculptures (by artists unknown to me) in a hallway exhibit just outside of the Puryear rooms. I had seen an exhibit of Puryear’s work at SAAM a few years ago, so (mistakenly) thought this one would be similar. It was not, and in fact, I enjoyed this one even more. I did not know that in addition to wood sculpture, he did printmaking, which was the focus of this exhibit. With my growing interest in woodcut and embossed prints, I was delighted!

Acrobats and Owl at the SAAM.


Several Additional Museums 

After viewing the Martin Puryear exhibit, we split up and several Fellows visited the Museum of Natural History, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Museum of African Art. I toured the Hirshhorn, quickly visited the Museum of African Art, and stopped by the Museum of Women in the Arts.

I wish there had been more time to tour the Museum of African Art, but I settled for a quick look at one room and taking a few images. I will definitely be returning, as will Ashley!

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At the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a Louise Nevelson sculpture drew me in. Previously I had only seen her wall and box sculptures. Nevelson primarily made her sculptures from found wooden objects (many of them turned), then painted them either a solid black or white.


Fleur Bresler Collection

As with Jeff and Judy’s collection, I’ve visited Fleur’s as well, and not only were there new objects to admire, Fleur’s remodel of her apartment’s expansion is finished. This expansive space also allows for the artwork to be viewed much more individually. Fleur generously give us a personal tour, relating stories about several pieces and/or the makers. The name of each artist easily came to her mind, probably because Fleur personally knows most of the artists.

Fleur Bresler wound up Peace Silo for our enjoyment. It’s a music box!

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Merryll Saylan will join the Windgate ITE Residency on July 30, as the scholar. We are looking forward seeing her! In this photo, Fleur stands next to one of Merryll’s large turned-and-carved wall sculptures.

A reunion with the otter bench! Fleur purchased this bench from Penland School of Craft’s yearly benefit art auction. Until she saw it in Fleur’s hallway, Michaela had no idea who had purchased the bench. A few years ago, Michaela had helped finish the metal bench by quickly — and at the last minute — making its wooden seat. I enjoyed witnessing the reunion!

A reunion for me, too. This turned-and-carved sculpture is from the mid-1990s, and it was displayed on a shelf next to Addie Draper’s lovely illustrated bowl. Addie made numerous innovative wood-turned sculptures in the 1980s, but has not been turning since the 1990s. Fleur’s collection includes many early works from the woodturning field.


Mark and Diane Granier’s Collection

The Graniers graciously, albeit quickly, gave us a tour of their collection, which includes many studio-furniture pieces, a must-see for the furnituremakers in this year’s Windgate ITE. They were on their way out of town to visit relatives, but Mark took the time to provide detailed explanations and tell a few stories. Like all the collectors, they have developed relationships with many of the artists whose work they collect.

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Their home is spacious and everywhere we looked, treasurers surrounded us. Albert and Tina LeCoff joined us on the tour — they had not visited the Graniers previously. Katie, Nuch, and Amy sit on a Judy McKee Monkey Settee. Mark Granier (in the green T-shirt) spent a few minutes explaining their collection before leading an informative tour.

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The Graniers also collect ceramics, primarily from England (a few can be seen on shelves behind Mark). The staircase, partially visible in this photo, won an architectural award. Its open spirals span three stories, providing an expansive view of the home and parts of the collection.

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A trompe l’oeil legal tablet (carved from wood), presented to Diane Granier for her service as President of the Renwick Alliance, 2005-2007. The list contains Diane’s accomplishments while serving as President.

A few images of wood and ceramic pieces that caught my eye.

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Ashley posed outside Granier’s home, which was surrounded by several large sculptures. Perhaps on a next visit there will be time to tour those as well.

Adventures ended, we piled into the van and headed back to Philadelphia. Like everyone else, I was exhausted. It will take time to mentally process all that we saw and experienced. Without a doubt, this whirlwind excursion was enjoyable, worthwhile, and a privilege to experience!

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 





Essential Bits and Pieces

Time is flying by! Only three weeks left before our exhibit opens, and there is much to do. All the bits and pieces we’ve been working on will be resolved into finished work … or not. We repeatedly remind ourselves that experimenting with and exploring new techniques is an essential part of artwork; the finished pieces are simply a byproduct.


Amy Forsyth

Events are unfolding, as Amy’s landscape metaphorically illustrates …..

Meant to be displayed horizontally (but also looks interesting vertically), Amy’s unfolding landscape is an interactive delight!

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Sketchbook at hand, Amy plans for the next addition to a new landscape ….

… which is a view from across the street of the wood studio. Identifiable are the UArts building with its iconic columns, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts’ atrium, and our residence hall.

For the case she is constructing, Amy is exploring hinges and openings, some of which include colorful elements.


Katie Hudnall

As it continues to grow, Katie’s mysterious-looking box sculpture occasionally guards the hallway ….



Eventually, each small box will be able to be opened by pressing a button at the other end of its attachment. Katie has been reinforcing the legs, as she considers the sculpture’s overall design.

And … a wonderfully whimsical alligator box, that opens and closes as it’s pushed. I am looking forward to seeing it embellished with scales and paint!


A Visit from Eli Scarce

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Eli Scarce stopped by for a quick visit. This week she was volunteering time at a nearby woodworking program for youth. Maybe one of those youth will eventually end up as Windgate ITE Fellow.


Ashley Eriksmoen

Ashley is working on a second painting, using ideas previously drawn in her sketchbook.

A major  project kept Ashley in the machine room an entire day, resawing, jointing, planing, and cutting. Then came glue-up.

IMG_0404 copyAshley and Katie discuss design considerations.


Michaela Crie Stone

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Intense concentration! Michaela works with the precision learned from jewelry-making.

In fact, Michaela is making jewelry / body adornment. Each bent-wood form, embellished with a variety of objects, is labor-intensive and requires thoughtful, careful placement of every added element. The gold glistened in the sunlight!

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Handmade books are part of Michaela’s artwork. Here she has applied gold leaf to the book’s wooden covers.

I haven’t yet asked Michaela what she intends to make with these bent-laminated strips, but they look inviting, all lined up!


Nucharin Wangphongsawasd

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Nuch discusses her work with Amy.

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Phases of the moon, orbiting planets  ….

To understand the complexity of Nuch’s work with the tablesaw, look carefully at the thin pieces of wood that connect each element. She continues to push the boundaries of “bending” a strip of wood. Masking tape is an essential tool.

Because of her interest in printmaking, I showed Nuch how to ink wood and pull a print, and of course she immediately grasp the concept and began trying out the idea on other bits of wood.


Rebecca Kolodziejczak 

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It required many clamps to ensure that the layers of bent walnut strips glued together firmly, without gaps. Rebecca is constructing a band for a crown, although the mold makes the piece look much larger than just a band.

The elements for this crown look like miniature sculptures!

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And something new …. like everyone here, Rebecca has expanded her thinking, seemingly in the middle of making the next element. This walnut carving will be stained black.


Betty Scarpino

I started working on a series titled IMPRESSIONS. For each fellow resident, I am making a piece based on my impression of her and her artwork. Below are images of my progress so far. In a later blog when the series is complete, I will describe what each piece represents.

Woodcut printmaking, embossing painting, turning (yes! some turning!) and lots of carving ….


Open Studio Day

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About forty people visited the wood studio Saturday for the Open Studio tour and lunch. In a classroom down the hall, the Windgate Fellows presented a formal talk and discussion about collaboration. At the top, right-hand side of the image, Albert LeCoff talks with Susan Hagan, who is on the Center for Art in Wood’s Windgate ITE selection committee.


Off to Washington D.C.! We leave this Sunday morning and will visit several collectors, as well as tour museums in D.C. We drive back to Philadelphia late Tuesday … a quick trip, but we all have projects to finish!

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 


The Wannamaker Organ

Off-site visits can provide inspiration in a variety of ways, some direct, others indirect.  Friday we toured the internationally treasured Wanamaker Organ in the Macy’s store (formerly Wanamaker’s). What we saw was indescribable. Truly! This world wonder deserves the descriptor: “Amazing!”

Local connections are invaluable. Amy Forsyth, who lives just outside Philadelphia, arranged with her friend and colleague, Scott Kip, for a personal tour of the internal workings of The Wanamaker Organ. We had little idea what to expect, except for off-hand comments about flights of stairs and rooms filled with organ pipes, reeds, baffles, and shutters.

In the photo below, try to visualize us on an upper level, standing on a small ledge, overlooking this courtyard. Entrance to that ledge required crouching low and turning slightly sideways, then inching onto the ledge (yes, there was a railing). I poked my head through the opening, then decided to remain in the small room … someone needed to guard the entrance!

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This photo is a view from the atrium of the downtown Macy’s store. Behind the balconies on the upper floors, there are a dozen or so rabbit-warren-type rooms that contain the Wanamaker Organ pipes. We toured every one. (The visible organ pipes don’t actually make music.)

Scott Kip is one of two talented woodworkers who restore and maintain the organ’s internal workings, as well as perform other woodworking jobs throughout the building. They work out of a woodshop in the building, accessed by entering a door just behind racks of clothing.

The Wanamaker Organ is played at noon every day, as well as at other times. When we gathered at 6:40 Friday evening, organ music filled the vast sales area of the women’s shoe department. Little did we know our tour would last almost two hours, but the time flew by for everyone!

Our fist glimpse of what we were to see came from storage areas on the way to the woodshop.

Little details in a beautifully restored room we visited caught my eye. Now fully restored, it houses another organ, a much-smaller Whirlitzer, previously owned by the Smithsonian Institution. Left to right, a corner of a picture frame, a brass doorknob and its doorplate, and one of the iconic images along the walls.

A few photos from inside ….

Details, details, details suggest possible designs. The relationships between forms, openings, and materials are fodder for future object-making.

I wonder if the other Windgate Fellows also had trouble sleeping Friday night. I did. But I did not regret one minute of this special opportunity to see something, up-close, that few are privileged to have. Thank you Scott Kip for the tour and Amy Forsyth for making the connection!

For additional information about the Wanamaker Organ and to listen to it being played, click on this link: Video

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist    



Scissors Box? … and More!

Concentrated time in the studio is resulting in a flurry of projects — snippets of ideas are beginning to be translated into objects, and even some woodturning has happened ….

Rebecca Kolodziejczak Rebecca is an advanced student at UArts and for the first time, the Windgate ITE International Residency has added a student to the mix. Rebecca has been sharing her wealth of knowledge of Philly — she, Michaela, and Katie introduced me to Dirty Franks a few night ago, “the” local dive bar.

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Another “crown” for Rebecca, the new one a prototype out of oak, which is helping her work up courage to use the ebony lumber, on the right in the photo. A wood-pearl-and-horsehair crown that Rebecca previously made can be seen in the background.

Katie and Rebecca discuss techniques, processes, and design.


Nucharin Wangphongsawasd Nuch brings with her an intensely focused concentration and is exploring the limitations of using a bandsaw and a tablesaw to make parts for sculptures.

A heartbeat, a rhythm, memories of  Thailand …

Nuch is beginning to recognize patterns within patterns as her stockpile of parts grows.

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Next comes the lathe, an ideal machine for repetitive making of individual parts!


Michaela Crie Stone Michaela is from Maine and works at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, where she has studio space. Philadelphia weather is way too hot for her and she is missing her early morning running regimen.

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Michaela is exploring the possibilities of using formed strips of wood as the basis for sculpture and body adornment.

But first, the maple curls need their own adornment. The limitless possibilities will require days of exploring, and this residency is the ideal setting for acquiring and developing new techniques.

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A few of Michaela’s tools and supplies, which have already been supplemented.


Ashley Eriksmoen Although Ashley is originally from California, she has a full-time teaching position in Australia.

Ashley’s narrative skipping-stone-and-poetry box is almost finished. As I admire this box and then see her next project, it’s as though she brought a peaceful offering from Australia ….

To be confronted with gun violence in America.

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Ashley became intrigued with turned objects (rejects from Echo Lake collaborative) and has started her own collaboration.


Amy Forsyth Amy studied architecture in college and worked as an architect for several years. From sketches made while traveling through towns (as well as from panoramic photographs), Amy is translating visual impressions into three-dimensional sculpture.

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Sketchbook always at the ready, Amy is also working on larger-scale drawings, which she intends to include in the exhibition.

A town, roads, buildings, trees …. the sculpture literally unfolds on wooden hinges and is figuratively unfolding as Amy thinks of additional scenes to add.


Katie Hudnall Katie teaches furnituremaking at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and her summertimes offer an opportunity to work on her own projects.

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Katie’s scissors box is not what you might think. Even though Katie is one of the most organized woodworkers ever (think: a box containing scissors), this scissors box reveals Katie’s delightfully quirky nature, as though a random pair of scissors protested being contained. The lid clacks open and shut as the handles are manipulated — what fun! In the background you can see part of Katie’s growing automata ….

Katie’s automata originated from humble boxlike beginnings.

What could all these seemingly disparate parts have in common? Stay tuned ….



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Katie’s boxed-automata and Michaela’s curls peacefully hang around together.


Today will be another busy shop day, but we all might need naps. We can all attest to the fact that the fire alarm in our residence hall works and is LOUD! 5:20 was way too early to be jolted out of sleep.

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist




Three Events

It’s the 4th of July and the wood studio is closed. Philadelphia plans to have firework celebrations in several locations, most notably the Philadelphia Museum of Art (think “Rocky”movie and those many steps).

Early last week, Albert LeCoff, with Tina, visited our studio at UArts to discuss projects and the residency in general. For most artists, a residency experience takes awhile to adjust to new facilities, living away from home, and sharing space with others. No exception here, but because of much support and everyone’s inclusive, positive outlook, we are finding multiple ways to connect. Work is progress apace!

Perhaps because this is my second time as a Windgate ITE Fellow, I am thoroughly enjoying the experience in a way that extends beyond my original expectations. Simply put, I am having a marvelous time! At home in Indianapolis, I work alone — the energy and camaraderie here is fueling my creativity. The many distractions of living in downtown Philadelphia are … a distraction, but the city’s atmosphere is energizing.

As the residency progresses, I will be writing in depth about each artist individually, as I stockpile images and take notes. In the meantime ….

Inspiration for my work

Yes, I am the photojournalist, but I am also making shavings, painting wood, and making woodcut prints. Informing what I’m currently working were two recent trips: Echo Lake and Wharton Esherick Museum. While at Echo Lake, I began carving (and then abandoned) a small sculpture of a boat out of holly, half spalted, the other half a plain gray color. The contrast between “lovely-wood-don’t-paint-it” on one side and ho-hum gray on the other presented a challenge … and then offered an opportunity for a narrative approach when Mark Sfirri led us on a personalized tour of the Wharton Esherick Museum. Mark has extensively researched and written papers about Esherick’s work and life. We heard stories beyond the usual textbook information. For instance, Letty, Wharton’s wife, seems to have a hard life, yet much of it must have been quite interesting. Her story intrigued me, and I thought, “What better person to sail my ship of contrasts?”

I titled the boat, She Sails. The first image is of the spalted side, the second is of the plain-grain side. Here, I’m trying to determine the “stand.” Thanks to a comment from Katie, I see that the “stand” looks like (and has become) a rudder. I named the ship Letty. I feel, somehow, to be honoring Letty and freeing her from my initial negative thoughts.

A visit to Wharton Esherick Museum

Last week, our visit to the Wharton Esherick Museum delighted! (Amy and Rebecca had been there before, so they stayed behind to work.) The “museum” was Wharton’s original workshop, then became his living quarters after he and Letty separated. Their son lived there for awhile, too, in a third-floor bedroom. So very different from any museum I’ve seen. I appreciated Mark interpreting some of the many objects — there were no wall placards to inform visitors.

Wharton is long-since dead, but his inventive approach was apparent in the many examples of his furniture, sculptures, and woodcut prints. He designed the furniture (others made it) but anything shaped or carved, Esherick had a hand in. And, he was a prolific maker. A second visit would no doubt reveal numerous overlooked objects.

Mark and Ashley view the “sculpture pit.” If termites ate away part of your workshop, what would you do? No problem for Wharton, he dug out the damaged wood, which create a space sufficiently expansive for displaying some of his tall sculptures. The photo on the right shows the press Esherick used for woodcut printmaking.

Katie was in her element, surrounded by quirky, unusual, fantastic works, too many to sketch in one brief visit, so she asked me to take a photo of this doorstop and for everyone to share their images. How clever to make a heavy, carved-handled doorstop, which could also serve as a counterweight or a footstool … or who knows what else?

Nuch examined as much as she could take in, took many images, and had an informative discussion with Mark. We all took a break on the porch half way through the tour. Check out our height-of-fashion protective booties! Minimal protection, really, for such an “open” museum. I would not be surprised if, in the future, such free-range tours are allowed. I felt privileged.

We all discovered small details, tucked here and there. What an imaginative mind Wharton obviously possessed: a square toilet seat/lid, a carved light-switch cover, Wharton’s initials chiseled into the first step of his iconic staircase, several bronze-cast light pulls (Michaela’s favorite!), hand-carved draw pulls attached with strips of leather, a telephone stand tucked into the staircase, accessible from three rooms, and a wooden grate-opening partially obscuring the metal grate.

Esherick’s woodcut prints hung throughout the building. The swing was my favorite.

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It seemed as though even the natural environment collaborates with Wharton Esherick. This log’s cheerful shape greeted us near the entrance, and smiled at us as we left. If ever the opportunity presents itself, visit the Wharton Esherick Museum! It’s about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia.

Country Living

The next day, a late afternoon/early evening visit to Suzanne Bonsall Kahn’s home and workshop provided an opportunity to relax, swim (in the pool), eat a delicious meal (topped off with lemon cupcakes), and chat with Suzanne and her husband, Jeff. In addition to being a member of the Center’s Board of Trustees, Suzanne is also a furnituremaker and woodturner.


Michaela relaxes on the dock overlooking a small pond (soaking up atmosphere reminiscent of her home state of Maine). To the left of the dock, nestled among the trees, is Suzanne’s workshop.

It’s the end of the holiday weekend, and tomorrow we will be back in the wood studio to begin our last full month of work. We have a lot to accomplish before our exhibit opens in early August!

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist