This article is part of a special editorial partnership with Hidden City Daily on preservation in Philadelphia. Like what you read? Check out the full March 2013 issue and visit Hidden City for more stories on the inspiring preservation work being done in Philadelphia.
It could have been a scene from the film The Money Pit. Christine and Anthony Shippam, owners of an 1894 Georgian Revival in Mount Airy’s Pelham neighborhood, were lying in bed, rain dripping down on them. “Honey, did I tell you how much I hate this house?” asked Christine.
Still pouring over the just-released GRID 2011 gift guide for presents that benefit the environment and local economy? Take a moment to hit the streets for some events that not only offer unique gifts made with love from the Philadelphia community, but also provide a festive atmosphere that will brighten your holiday shopping. Mark your calendar with these great opportunities to support some inspiring local talent, find perfect presents and let your last minute shopping fears melt away.
- If just the thought of holiday shopping stresses you out, ease your way into the task with the Waldorf School’s Whispering Wood shopping boutique. Relax in Whispering Wood’s atmosphere of essential oils and soothing instrumental music from Waldorf parent, Peter Price, while picking up some unique children’s toys hand-crafted from all natural materials. The boutique (6819 Greene St.) is open Friday, December 9 from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and December 10 and 11 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Perhaps your level of holiday-induced anxiety requires a stronger remedy. If so, hit up the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market’s 2nd Annual Holiday Show for beautifully handmade crafts, works of art and vintage items – plus, free Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsored drinks. The market boasts more than 45 vendors and live music from The Spinning Joneses and Hezekiah Leaves, Sisters 3, The Great Unknown and Levee Drivers. Take the edge off your shopping at show (2424 York St.) happening December 17 from 1:00pm to 8:00 pm.
A thick row of lush golden wheat, grass, and straw, standing roughly six feet high, divides the weathered brick interior of the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG). A gap in the middle serves as the entrance to the gallery’s first installation, “Recapturing Memories”, by art director Meei- Ling Ng. The words “Explore, Laugh, Enjoy” hang on a small easel next to the shrubbery, inviting visitors into Ng’s three-dimensional world where she elegantly blurs the line between organic and manmade.
Wine box chickens with claws of reclaimed electrical wire from construction waste nestle near long blades of grass found on the side of the road. Tiny bugs made of mismatched buttons crawl atop branches salvaged from trees chopped down in Elkins Park. Remnants of recycled materials, such as a Nike swoosh on a cardboard chicken, work to alter viewers' perception of what constitutes art.
“I want to show people that a post-consumer product can also be a piece of beautiful art,” says Ng.
Her vision is all about reworking visitors’ view of nature. By placing organic elements out of their natural context, she hopes to provoke viewers to relate to nature as they once did as children.
“When we are little, we are all connected to nature,” says Ng. “The exhibit is for children, but also the child within us.”
Growing up in Singapore surrounded by animals, Ng quickly developed a fascination with and reverence for nature. Upon moving to Philadelphia 14 years ago to complete her studies in art, Ng remained connected to the outdoors through her organic garden. However, the inspiration for “Recapturing Memories” didn’t strike Ng until she visited what she calls “the jewel of the city,” the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
Love ’n Fresh Flowers is the place for locally-grown blossoms
Jennie Love, owner of the Mt. Airy floral boutique Love ’n Fresh Flowers, describes her business as “far from traditional.” Operated out of Love’s home studio and garden, Love ’n Fresh sells only flowers grown within a 50-mile radius of Philadelphia. In fact, Love grows most of them herself.