The Port Richmond story in the Inquirer: an artist at work with artists

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekends in the Inquirer are like Christmases of long ago—I wake even earlier than usual, and eager. My eagerness now is for the early edition of the Sunday news, where I've written of Chanticleer garden and the Jersey Shore, of ballroom dancing and Philadelphia light, of the Schuylkill River and the cemetery where I often go before I teach my class at Penn. This weekend my story features the internationally acclaimed artist Michele Oka Doner and a spectacular Port Richmond foundry owned by the artist Jeb Stuart Wood. It's a story about collaboration, trust, and a converted warehouse in former collier country.

I met Michele during National YoungArts week in Miami. I mentioned how much I liked the pin she was wearing. She said she'd made it, slipped me her card, mentioned the loft where she lives in New York City. When I told her that I hailed from Philadelphia she replied that she has much of her work cast there in a foundry she trusts—the sort of work that ends up in the Louvre and MOMA, the Hayden Planetarium and the Miami Airport, a Tiffany's in New York City or a store clear across the world, a private home. "Come visit us at work," she said, and a few weeks later I showed up at the door of Independent Casting.

From Jeb I learned about the resurgence of a part of Philadelphia I'd never traveled through. I learned about the art of casting, about what it takes to run a foundry and to work with some of the world's leading sculptors. From Michele I learned about art as conversation, about the bronzing of organic stuff, about rivers, history, mythology. I was out of my element, and I loved it.

Here is the link to the whole story, which features a photograph of Michele at work in the foundry.


Elizabeth Mosier said...

Oh, cool! Looking forward to reading the piece tomorrow morning, Beth!

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