Second Nature: Feathers, Finery, Fur in this weekend's Inquirer

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In this weekend's Philadelphia Inquirer, I'm writing about the feather and fur artist Beth Beverly, who does her work in the Martha Street Hatchatory in East Kensington, near the Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor. Beth and I met in the height of the summer at a Philadelphia Business Journal event—found each other in a crowded room. Her story intrigued me, and so I went to find out more. My story appears during a Philadelphia Open Studio Tours weekend—one of the largest such events in the nation. Go take a walk. Find out what Philadelphia artists are up to.

My story on Beth begins like this. The whole can be found at the Inquirer, with a link going live tomorrow.

They are in the wind and in the faces of the rivers. On the rooftops and in tree nooks, in the green of the squares, on the lips of the fountains, on the library steps, on the rim of William Penn’s hat. They were here before the city was, before the Lenni Lenapes, even, and they (the peregrines and hawks, the finches, pigeons, chickadees) are, today, our urban warriors — on guard, in transit, adaptive, dialing up the volume on their songs. They fly according to no grid. They sing when they want to.

In her early twenties, Beth Beverly — a young jewelry maker — found herself obsessed with the beauty and plight of Philadelphia’s birds. She was dressing windows for Daffy’s at the time. She would hear the tragic thump of a bird against a window, and it would, she says, “crush” her. “There was this beautiful creature,” she explains, “suddenly still on the sidewalk, beneath the feet of crowds, being pushed toward a gutter.” They were birds in need of some kind of rescue, and she made herself responsible.


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