Max Bakes


Max has got himself a sack of King Arthur brand all-purpose flour, and he’s using it to make patterns on wood.


They almost look like they could be paintings, like from the wall of an ancient cave in France, don’t you think?


Here’s how he’s doing it: first he mixes the flour with water to make a paste.


Then he applies the paste to the surface of the wood.


Then he blasts the heck out of it with a torch.

The group at work


Another shot of Felicia stacking.


Max trims before turning.


Felicia turns.


Another shot of Felicia and Marc from NextFab segmenting a log.


I don’t know about you, but that look of Jason’s stops my heart every time.


Jason stopping someone’s heart–I forget whose–with his look.


Jason examines a cardboard wedge.  The wedge’s heart stops.


Daniel assembles a knob.


Max and a freshly turned piece.

Some more from D.C.–and one from the Echo Lake luncheon


Albert addresses the table at the Echo Lake luncheon.


The group outside of an REI in Rockville, MD, in front of a “tall commissioned outdoor work, 28’h x 16′ x 8′, by Foon Sham.  Made of 5000+ blocks of Kebony Pine.”


Phil Brown, who provided the description of the Foon Sham piece I quoted in the last caption, ascends a spiral staircase at the Grainer’s.


Evocative shadows at the Grainers.


I don’t know about you, but that look of Jason’s stops my heart every time.


A view of the Grainer’s through their window.



Felicia has found something she likes.


I’ve found something I like.


Daniel has found something he likes.


I can’t get enough of these geese!


Felcia and bowls at Arthur and Jane Mason’s.


Jeff Bernstein and Judy Chernoff give a brief introduction to their collection.  Felicia and other residents, take note–I told you I’d get you eating and drinking!


Frank Sinatra in the dining room at Deena and Jerry Kaplan’s.

Some quiet pictures


Daniel in the dorms at UArts.


Max ordinarily plans each piece carefully, but in the heat of his frustration after losing an entire morning’s work, he decided to just put a piece of wood on the lathe and improvise.  This persistent crack, which ran much deeper than Max believed it would, was the cause.  I circled it in pen for your convenience, did ultimately lead Max to something fruitful–you might say that a bowl slipped through.


The ITE switch was used to be installed at the UArts woodshops, but it was moved to NextFab this year.  On the first day of every June, Albert throws it into the “ON” position, summoning the residents from the ether, and it is then taped and locked firmly in place.


Mulberry, paduak and wenge in NextFab’s lumber cage.


Furniture pieces in storage at NextFab.


It seems that someone at NextFab was expecting Max.


Lathed up and ready to turn!


The laser cutter at work on something for Megan.


Daniel’s work station in the process of being set up.


Max, with great prescience, has labeled this chunk of wood with the name of one of my favorite Cat Stevens songs.

Dorm Life–Dinner Party Edition

Below, please find a small glimpse of the recreational lives and eating habits of the Windgate ITE 2017 residents.


Communal eating space at the dorms is at a premium (see lower left corner)…


…so Jason fashions a table out of a chair and a dresser drawer.  Hummus and baby carrots are served.


Jason dances for the camera, real slow.  This is a euphemism for nothing.  Due to the dim lighting conditions which prevailed in the room, I was forced to make a longer exposure than optimal.  I asked Jason to decelerate his movements so that he wouldn’t appear as a total blur.  In the foreground, Anastasia assesses her asparagus.


The Disco Lamp is activated, and the party commences in earnest.

More louped film

I’m going to begin scanning the film properly this week, but for now, please accept these warped images as harbingers of things to come!


Anastasia uses a rasp.


Jason lives in a world very much like our own, except everything in it is made from cardboard.


Jason turns cardboard on a lathe in a cardboard room.


Felicia turns wood on the lathe.


Another view of Felicia turning wood on the lathe.


Felicia at work on her notebook.


In the middle distance, Max turns wood on the lathe with Felicia at work on her notebook in the background.  Max’s piece “Freedom of Speech” sits atop a pike on the table in the foreground.


Turning tools and your dutiful scribe’s feet.


Daniel turning wood on the lathe.


Jason and Daniel endeavor to rescue a bowl.


Felicia sands an open ended vessel while watching the rescue attempt.


The first of Albert’s weekly studio visits to NextFab.


Megan removes a piece of laser cut wood from the laser cutter.


A workstation still life.

At last, some 35mm film that isn’t all warped and distorted because it was shot on a light table through a loupe with an iPhone!

I dropped off a couple rolls of 35mm slide film last week and today they were ready!


There’s a stoneworking shed right outside the door of Furness Hall, where we’re all living.  Every morning, I greet this swan (and the swan greets me).


Phil Brown and Barbara Wolanin’s beautiful home.


Flowers on the table at Phil and Barbara’s beautiful home.


Jason relaxes on the couch at Phil and Barbara’s


Megan lies under the table at Phil and Barbara’s.


Phil amongst his stacks of wood.


Turned wood from Phil and Barbara’s collection.


Megan in the ITE van.


Anastasia at the Kaplans’.


Pieces from the Kaplans’ collection.

At last, some 35mm!

I went to the darkroom at UArts yesterday and developed the first batch of film.  I’d like to reiterate how much I like their facilities and how lucky I am to be working there this summer.  Below, please find a teaser of things to come–real 35mm black and white film photographs (albeit photographed on a light table through a loupe with an iPhone):


The group tours NextFab.


The luncheon before Echo Lake.


Phil Brown in his workshop.


Daniel in a comfy wooden chair.


Visiting private collections in D.C.


Arthur Mason.


Arthur Mason’s dog.


Anastasia at the Kaplans’.


Triangular and rectangular forms, again.


Teenagers these days and their phones…


Jason and Max with frozen margaritas.


Where could these wood turners be headed in such a hurry?


Oh, it’s a beer wholesaler.


Felicia stacking forms for forming felt onto.


Megan, Max, and Felicia talk through setting up the workshop.


Jason makes a cardboard cake.


Max turning.


Felicia turning.


Anastasia turning.


Jason at work.


Megan jointing.


Max sparking.


Felicia and Marc from NextFab segment a log.




Your diligent scribe.

Visiting private collections of wood and craft art in Washington, D.C.

After the Echo Lake conference, the group went to Washington D.C., where I rejoined them.  We were extraordinarily fortunate to stay in the home of woodturner Phil Brown and Dr. Barbara Wolanin, who received us with extraordinary grace and ran us into the ground with a punishing itinerary of visits to private wood art collections, punctuated by delicious meals.  We young people were quickly depleted but Phil and Barbara showed no signs of fatigue and we were duly humbled.  A selection of pictures of the pieces of greatest interest to your faithful scribe follows:


At the Grainers’ spacious home.


A ceramic “cardboard box” full of “acrylic paints.”


Well integrated art encountered during our second collection visit.






The medicine cabinet.


A surprising Dali!


Your faithful scribe finds himself once more in that most familiar of places (under a table).


At Jane and Arthur Mason’s–Arthur pointing out favorite pieces to the group.


Arthur Mason.


Arthur Mason shows us more of his favorites.


A sculpture by Jane Mason.


Jeff Bernstein, Phil Brown, and Jason talk about turned wood.


Judy Chernoff and Max talk about turned wood.


Jeff Bernstein.


Snacks are served at Judy and Jeffrey’s.


A couple of drunks at Deena and Jerry Kaplan’s.


Model ships.


Your faithful scribe catches sight of himself in a mirror.


A multipurpose gallery and yoga space.


Triangular and quadrangular forms.


The strain of all this art viewing has gotten to Daniel!

Echo Lake XIX

Last weekend, following a luncheon held at the Center for Art in Wood for current and alumni Windgate ITE residents, the group headed to Bucks County, PA for the 19th Echo Lake Conference, an annual exercise in collaborative artmaking between thirty to forty artists of various disciplines (wood turners, wood carvers, furniture makers, painters, glass, and metal workers).  Unfortunately, I was unable to join them there, because I was scuttling all over the eastern seaboard like a bug.

At my request, the residents did send me pictures from Echo Lake, but provided no context and will not speak of the conference in my presence except in hushed tones while huddling their heads together.  I gather that some terribly exciting, clandestine things happened–possibly some high political or international intrigue?–but since no one will say a darned thing to me about it, I can only speculate about events there using these images as my guide:


The conference takes place in this panoramically curving warehouse full of work benches and heavy equipment.


ITE residents Felicia and Daniel and other conference participants smile conspiratorially into the camera.


Anastasia attacks a chair with an orbital sander.


Jason writes a secret message to Daniel, using this bowl he has just turned for cover, in pencil.


Collaborative block prints and detail images of the same.  Do these pictograms form some kind of pictorial code?  (Make your best guesses in the comments!)


A collaboration between Anastasia and Daniel–a musical chair!  This instrument is not a typical one for Daniel–usually, the instruments that Daniel builds do not have strings, and when they do, those strings are close to 30′ long.   These strings look to be no longer than 12-16″, and since the are all nailed in place, it seems like tuning them would be quite the chore.


Anastasia finds and befriends the “tiny kitten behind the curtain”–though unassuming in appearance, this little lion pulls all the strings at Echo Lake–and unravels sweaters and balls of yarn and chases flies and laser pointers, too.

Daniel, Anastasia, Felicia, Max, and Jason, if I am mistaken in any of my guesses, I hope you will correct me in the comments.

My next post will return to the realm of factual reporting.  I’ll be uploading pictures from our visits to private collections of turned wood in D.C.–stay tuned!

First Visit to NextFab

This summer, the residents will be using the wood shop and facilities at NextFab, a maker space not far from where we’re staying in Center City.  Last Tuesday, we went by for orientation, after which Anastasia, Daniel, Felicia, Jason, Max, and Megan were given slabs of cherry wood and asked to demonstrate to the shop supervisors their proficiency with the tools.  I watched:


Felicia handles a saw.


Max sands.


Anastasia saws.


Megan catches me trying to take a candid picture of her


Felicia makes sparks.


Daniel drills through a piece of metal.


Felicia and Daniel exchange pizza looks with one another.  Jason sends his pizza looks directly into the camera.

A Word About My Methods

I’ll be documenting the Windgate ITE Residency this summer primarily on beautifully grainy 35mm and 120 film.  This morning, I visited the darkroom which UArts is graciously letting me use for processing, printing, and scanning, and I can’t wait to get to work there and then putting the pictures up here–but in the mean time, until I am able to do so, I will have some pictures from my humble iPhone camera to share!

2017 Windgate ITE Residency Inaugural Blog Post!

Hello, lovers of art in wood everywhere, and welcome to the 2017 Windgate ITE Residency blog!  Please return here often over the next two months for updates, information, and amusing anecdotes about the residents and what they are up to!

For those who are not yet familiar, the Windgate ITE Residency is an annual program sponsored by the Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia, bringing together six artists from around the world who utilize wood in their practice in ways both conventional and inventive.  They will create, individually and collaboratively, an as-yet-to-be-determined number of pieces, on the lathe and off of it, for display in our group exhibition, which opens on August 4th at the Center.  We’ll be joined for a week by a scholar, who will produce an academic essay inspired by the ongoing work.

My name is Samuel, and as photojournalist-in-residence I’ll be taking lots of pictures of the creative process here and also collecting lots of juicy gossip–and I’ll be posting it all!  (Just kidding, residents.  Nothing to worry about!)

Our 2017 Windgate ITE cohort comprises:

Max Brosi, a woodturner and sculptor from Manor Hamilton, Ireland

Felicia Francine Dean, a furniture designer/sculptor/materials & process driven design researcher from Boca Raton, Fl, by way of Greensboro NC, USA

Daniel Fishkin, an instrument builder and composer from Bala Cynwyd, PA, USA

Anastasia Leto, a sculptor and furniture maker, also, from Detroit MI, USA, and this year’s Student Artist

Megan McGlynn, a sculptor and draughtsman from Lehigh Valley, PA, USA

Jason Schneider, a cardboard turner and furniture designer who spent his wonder years in Clifton, NJ, USA

Samuel Lang Budin, an itinerant social documentarian from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, USA

Elizabeth Kozlowski, an independent curator from Florida, USA

I look forward to speaking with you all soon!  Till then, you’ll find me at the Philadelphia Recycling Center’s Wood Dump, hidden amongst the logs.


The Exhibition!!

Prior to the opening of our “AllTURNatives Form + Spirit 2016” exhibition, we met with Albert LeCoff on Wednesday to discuss each resident’s work, specifically to help inform the acquisitions committee’s decision-making process. Each resident is requested to donate one artwork to The Center’s permanent collection. The discussion was lively and also gave us an in-depth look at the exhibition as it was taking shape under the expert hands of Karen Schoenewaldt.


Albert decided Rebecca’s chair was a comfortable place to sit while we discussed Michaela’s work.


Ashley, Katie, Rebecca, Amy, Michaela.

Rebecca and Amy, then Nuch’s work.


John Thornton, videographer, recorded our conversations, and a video he is making of the 2016 Windgate ITE International Residency will be available on The Center’s website in a couple of weeks. Here we are discussing Katie’s Jewelry Box (aka “The Thing”).

Katie and Ashley, then Amy and Michaela.


Exhibition Opening Night!!13680107_1244776452223932_4790870165341232255_o





The glass shelves were perfect for Nuch’s Lunar Phases sculpture, which was selected by the Center for their permanent collection.








The Center selected this sculpture of Amy’s for its permanent collection.


From city to countryside, depicted by Amy’s unfolding landscape sculpture.

Amy included a piano-key wall lamp and a chair from her pre-ITE work.





IMG_0968The wings move up and down when the trigger on the “gun” is pressed. Gun violence in America, especially when young children are accidentally shot, informed Ashley’s artwork during the residency.








Michaela’s handmade journals, photographs, chest for drawers, and two chairs.

(Photos of Michaela’s Gordian Knots Series, courtesy Katie Sorenson.)  The sculpture with the red dot was selected for the Center’s permanent collection.





The ring in the front, center, was selected by the Center for their permanent collection.

Rebecca’s table, wall shelf, and crown were pre-ITE, and she finished her chair during the residency. The flowing, graceful necklace (last photo) cast lovely shadows!




IMG_0935The acquisitions committee selected Katie’s Flight on Wheels for the Center’s permanent collection.

Katie included several of her fantastical drawings.


Boxes of all sorts!




IMG_0865In addition to writing the blog, the “assignment” I gave myself as photojournalist was to make a representational piece of each of the other artists. I titled the series IMPRESSIONS.

IMPRESSIONS : Katie : Turning Fetish

IMPRESSIONS : Ashley : Embrace the Enigma 

IMPRESSIONS Series: Rebecca (Sophisticated Stranger), Nuch (Response to Devotions), Michaela (Blue Flow), Amy (Ghost Town)

She Sails, Letty’s ship, was selected by the Center for their permanent collection. I made this sculpture after having toured the Wharton Esherick Museum and hearing Mark Sfirri talk about Wharton’s wife Letty.


Professional studio photographs will be taken of each of the Residency artworks, so check the Center for Art in Wood’s website in a couple of weeks to view those images. Most of the artwork is for sale — if you see something that interests you, inquire — supporting these talented artists will help further their careers! 


What a fabulous summer with six amazing artists! In some ways, the work — the exhibition — may seem to be the event, however, it can more appropriately be viewed as the culmination of eight weeks of sharing work and play time together. We  bonded as a community, and each of us has stored up many fond memories.

Ashley returned to Australia to resume teaching classes that had already started. Nuch is touring California with family before flying back to Thailand. Katie drove directly back to Indianapolis and will prepare to teach classes this fall. After time spent at a friend’s wedding, Michaela made it to Maine. Amy had a short drive home to her country living. Rebecca lives in Philadelphia, so she was always “home.” I’m finally back in Indianapolis after teaching a one-day workshop at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh on Monday.

A huge thank you to The Center for Art in Wood for their ongoing support of the Windgate ITE International Residency! We wish all the best to next year’s residency.

— Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 


A Week of Wrap-Up

The lights aren’t out just yet, but it is sunset time as we wrap up our Windgate ITE Residency this week. Yesterday morning, I visited the Center for Art in Wood and some of our artwork is already hanging on walls and filling up pedestals. A few of us are rushing to put the last touches on a project or two. I’ve been struggling with color choices for the last piece in my IMPRESSIONS series, Embrace the Enigma. Look below and you’ll see why ….



Katie at her almost-always-tidy workbench. The windows have provided an every-changing view of the southwest Philadelphia skyline.


A few polite comments from Michaela and Katie:  “the colors just aren’t working for me yet.” Well, they weren’t working for me, either … a giant Christmas present?! Not what I had in mind. Ashley’s comment confirmed that the colors had to be reconsidered: OMG! It looks like two hunks of raw meet with marshmallow in between! I’m still giggling …. I am embracing the enigma and have since painted the sculpture black.


Ashley confers with Katie on how to make the heart wings move up and down. Success came late last night, and the animation works wonderfully!


It’s a gun with a heart with wings. It’ll be painted gunmetal gray.


Making frames for her paintings.



Amy adds finishing touches to the downtown buildings.

Colorful new painted wood, made by Amy!




A somewhat secret drawer in Michaela’s chest of drawers.


And, on to a new project …. looks intriguing!



Pearls adorn Rebecca’s long slender elements for the crown.


Two different versions of Rebecca’s headbands.



Nuch is boxing up her work to transport it safely to the Center for Art in Wood for Friday night’s gallery opening. It’s First Friday Gallery Tour, so I’m sure the exhibition will be lively and crowded. We look forward to seeing friends and family this weekend to help us celebrate a highly successful residency!

I’m headed back to the studio to brush on one last coat of black acrylic to Embrace the Enigma.


–Betty J. Scarpino, Photojournalist 



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