Art Drop-Off New Year’s Day 2019

I’m still running a little behind with telling you about art-drop offs. Anyway, this time of year, I don’t do them as often because…I don’t get outside as much, depending on the weather. So there haven’t been many to talk about recently, either.

On New Year’s Day, though, the weather was just right for a walk. My husband and I went to the Pennypack Trail, new side, and left this little guy.

art drop off 1-1-19 #21

You may wonder at what kind of spot he’s sitting in. Well, this is a bridge over the creek in Bryn Athyn, right across from the Bryn Athyn post office, which occupies the former Bryn Athyn train station – remember, this is a rail trail, but the line was unused for about 30 years before the trail was put in, and in the meantime, the station changed its identity.

Anyway, this bridge needs work, and I guess they are figuring out what to do about it. It’s not a heavily traveled route, so I think things will move slowly. Pedestrians can still walk over it. It’s a nice place to stop and take a look around.

art drop off 1-1-19 #12


Nativity Scenes

Yes, I know it’s a little late for Christmas, this post. Let’s think of it as early for next year, how about it?

All right. Now I’ll explain. About fifteen minutes from home (and very near the Pennypack Trail, to orient you) is a museum called Glencairn.

The building and the museum’s mission are described in this paragraph from their website:

Glencairn, built between 1928 and 1939 in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, was once the home of Raymond and Mildred (Glenn) Pitcairn and their children. The building now serves as a museum of religious art and history. Glencairn Museum invites a diverse audience to engage with religious beliefs and practices, past and present, by exploring art, artifacts, and other cultural expressions of faith. By appealing to our common human endeavor to find meaning and purpose in our lives, we hope to foster empathy and build understanding among people of all beliefs, leading to positive social change through tolerance, compassion, and kindness.

The Pitcairns who lived here (yes, I repeat, this was their home) were wealthy (Pittsburgh Plate Glass aka PPG) and devoted to the Swedenborgian faith. They were instrumental in the construction of the Bryn Athyn cathedral, right next door. Look here for a post I’ve done on the cathedral, or search this blog under the term Bryn Athyn for more posts/info.

So it is fitting that their home is now a museum of this kind. And why am I telling you all of this information? Because they have an annual exhibit that I greatly enjoy and that I visited on December 9 with my husband – Nativity scenes. Many of them!

As background, I do not go to church now, but the Christmas holiday was important to me in my childhood for all sorts of reasons – family togetherness, the beauty of the tree, holiday lights, carol singing with friends, the excitement of getting gifts, and, as I got older, seeing the satisfaction of those I gave gifts to.

So for me, this exhibit is not about the religious aspects of the holiday but the revisiting of good memories in a childhood that was not always easy – and also, to reflect on and participate in the themes the museum’s mission statement mentions: tolerance, compassion, and kindness.

As an artist, I also marvel at the patience, faith, and craftsmanship of the people who make these nativity scenes.

All right, let’s get to the visit. We entered the castle (as I think of it):

As you can see, the scenes are arranged around the rooms, which are dimly lighted to protect the works (and flash photos forbidden, so please forgive my photography). The Nativities come from all around the world and reflect local customs. I photographed only a few, but I could show you scene after scene.

You can see that some of them were huge, with many figures:

I especially liked the guy with the Mozart hair.

Some were small, only a few figures:

Nativity 12-9 #66

I really enjoyed the glimpses of everyday life in how the figures were depicted and dressed, what other elements were included, and how the Biblical scene was reinterpreted in light of the social customs of the area the maker came from. This set is from Nigeria:

Nativity 12-9 #22

This scene is from South America:

This wise man is from Poland. The whole set of figures had the same jolly plump look. And to me, it looked like this figure was bringing a casserole. Which I thought was a very practical idea and immediately useful to a family with a new baby.

Nativity 12-9 #1010

This is the second time I’ve gone to this exhibit, and much of it was new to me. The museum has a large collection and rotates the offerings. I will make it a point to visit next year. I’m grateful for the time we spent here.


Clay Guy Art Drop Off, December 17, 2018

I’ve been very preoccupied with family matters and some commissioned artwork recently. Plus, it’s winter, so it’s cold, and it’s been raining a lot, too. Oh my goodness, everything has conspired against doing much art-drop-off activity. But I’m working on it. Here is a little clay guy setting off into the world, December 17, Lorimer Park/Pennypack Trail, at Moredon Road.

I’ve shown you the location of the figurine plus views up and down the trail. You know, this place looks like a million other spots on earth, but to me, it’s special, because it’s my place.

Hope the clay guy finds his place, too.

Thanksgiving 2018 Art Drop-Off #3

After leaving West Park in Allentown, the site of our second Thanksgiving drop-off, we ate lunch at the Hotel Bethlehem.

Conf Bethlehem 11-22-18 #809

We had parked the car a few blocks away, next to God’s Acre, the historic cemetery of the early Moravian Church in Bethlehem. The city was founded by members of the Moravian Church and their influence is seen in all parts of the city, especially the historic section.

I wrote a post about a previous visit to this resting place for so many people, and it has a fascinating history, based in the customs of the Moravians. (Look here if you want to know more.)

Anyway, we set a figurine on a bench here.

I took a few minutes to look around at nearby gravestones. All lie flat to the ground, and the cemetery is divided into burial groups not by family but by status in society (single, married, widowed, man or woman, etc.) In your final resting place, you would have neighbors based on who died before and after you. Like so many things in life, it depends on where you are in line and how your particular story plays out, doesn’t it? Don’t push, your turn will come, and there will be a place for you. I find that idea touching, amusing, and comforting, for some reason.

This concludes my Thanksgiving art drop-off story. Thank you for reading, and I am grateful for the chance to tell you about my doings.

Thanksgiving 2018 Art Drop-Off #2

More Thanksgiving art drop-offs to talk about. For the account of the first drop-off on this day, look here.

All right. After leaving Trexler Park in Allentown, we drove a short distance into the city to West Park, an arboretum in a historic section of the city. I have known this location for decades – I do an art show here each June.

The park looks very different to me in November, but the landmarks I count on are in their accustomed places.

We set one lady at the base of the tree next to the booth space I always have in the summer show.

See these views? Summer and late fall?

All right. We set the second lady on a bench by the fountain.

Instead of water, the fountain pool was composed of gingko leaves.

West Park 11-22-18 (5)

On our way back to the car, we left one of my poetry books in the Little Library sponsored by the Church of the Mediator, next to the park. By the way, during Art-in-the-Park, the church has a really nice rummage sale. Just saying.


Thanksgiving 2018 Art Drop-Off #1

On Thanksgiving, November 22, my husband and I went to Bethlehem, PA, to eat lunch at the Hotel Bethlehem’s fabulous buffet. This trip is something we’ve been doing for some years. I do not like holidays much (I LOVE routine, and holidays are the anti-routine, the need for which I do not feel, so…) but this way of celebrating Thanksgiving is low-key and I can’t say enough about the staff at the hotel and how hard they work to make other peoples’ holiday a good one.

We decided to drop off some clay lady figurines on our way to lunch. I’ve got a few to describe so I’ll do it in a series of posts. First stop – Trexler Park in Allentown, PA, about 15 minutes from our ultimate destination.

This park features a walking/biking trail and has a small pond/lake. It was a very cold day, about 25 degrees F, and windy. We did not walk long and we were all bundled up.

I left one lady on a bench along the path:

and another one alongside the lake.

Here are some views of the lake.

Do you feel you might be remembering this place from another post? Yes, you are right. We left a couple of small clay tiles here back in the summer.

The little tiles were no longer there, so I am assuming that in the intervening months, they have found new homes and new people. I hope these lady figurines do the same.

For more pictures of the park in the summer and an account of the art drop-off, see my Art Diary entry for July 13.¬†And I have more Thanksgiving art drop-offs to show – I’ll do so in a few days in another post.



The Joy of the Routine

If you follow my poetry blog, you know that each week I take a day, or part of a day (or sometimes parts of two or three days, depending!) to devote to writing poetry. I’m currently in year two of this practice and 2018 is: Day Trip Poetry Marathon.

I like to leave home and do this activity in a suitable place, which for me has usually meant a library.

For the past year or so most of the time I have gone to Brendlinger Library, Montgomery County Community College, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. As a county resident, I can check out books and enjoy the library as much as I want. And I do enjoy it – I like the atmosphere and being around students and books.

Each week I park in the lot in about the same place. It helps in finding my car if I don’t vary things too much, plus – we are creatures of habit, all of us, and this is one of mine – parking in a certain spot.

I take a photo and send it to my husband to let him know when I have arrived. Over time, I’ve got a lot of photos of the same view. Take a look – here is an array from March 3 – November 2, 2018.

Time passing in a very tangible way…

If you are a real fan of the parking lot saga, look here for a previous post I did back in February, the same thing…only a different time…

Art Drop-Off November 1, 2018

Oh, dear, it’s been a while since I have visited with you. I apologize. A lot of a lot of a lot has been going on and none of it worth documenting here, in this, my occasional record of daily life. But…

On November 1, I did my ten-mile walk. I try to do one once a month (another thing that has been neglected in the last couple of months). But the beautiful weather got me on my feet and moving.

I did the walk at the Pennypack Rail Trail, my favorite exercise trail. You may remember it from many other posts. If you’d like to know more about it and my route, look at this post from the past – I’m not going to repeat the details today, but just show you what happened.

I dedicated this walk to leaving a clay tile every mile or so. Let me explain – the walk begins in the middle, goes out 2.5 miles, back to the middle, and then on to the other end 2.5 miles away, and back. So there is some criss-crossing. Prompted by each mile marker as I came up on it, no matter the direction, I left a tile nearby, but not within sight of another one.

Well, maybe I should not have tried to explain. Here’s the gist of it – Art was dropped off. A really nice walk occupied my morning (I left at about 8 AM and finished about 10:45 or so). Here’s the evidence.

Here is the whole gang, photographed at home before I left.


First tile. In a former train control box.

On a bench, nearing Moredon Road.

At the bridge, Shady Lane, near mile marker 0.0

Bench, overlooking a tributary of the Pennypack Creek.

Bridge, crossing Pennypack Creek.

Bench, just past Terwood Road.

Stone. Just a big stone.

Bench, overlooking the floodplain and Pennypack Creek.

Bridge, crossing (can you guess) the Pennypack Creek. You can see the creek winds back and forth across the trail many times.

At the little red-roofed house, about a tenth of a mile from the finish. Look, you can see a pink Claudia taking the picture of the tile.

All right! There you have it.

Ten miles, ten tiles!


Art Drop Off September 3

On September 3, we collected the final symbol we need for the magnetic car sticker prize in the Montgomery County (PA) Trail Challenge with a walk on the Skippack Trail. And today’s symbol – the turkey.

We had not been on this trail before, though we’ve been to Evansburg State Park (in fact, we’ve done their permanent orienteering course) and the Perkiomen Trail – both of the trails listed on the sign as connecting with the Skippack.

This trail is located in a formerly very rural area now lurching through population growth and development. It’s not too far from our house, though it’s not close at all, but on weekdays it could take an hour or more to get here, with traffic. My husband lived further out up Skippack Pike when I first met him 30+ years ago and at that time I could zip up the road to visit him in good time. Now – lots of traffic lights and new houses and people.

This trail reflected the changing landscape. Some portions were very countryside-looking.

However, at no time were we out of shouting distance of a suburban neighborhood (and not a loud shout, either). The trail passes through a major township park complex with ball fields and picnic shelters. We parked the car in the middle of this park and set off for the center of the town of Skippack, about 2 miles away or so. Skippack has made a name for itself as a trendy touristy gift and artsy place to shop or to eat a meal, and it’s been doing that for as long as I’ve known the place.

I left one tile on a bridge right in town.


At first I was going to leave it here, but then I got a look at the wasps’ nest and all the wasps! and moved it along the rail.


Right outside town is the fire training center. This structure is used to train firefighters in a variety of situations. It’s interesting to see the various doors and windows that can be opened or shuttered to create different fire conditions. I’d like to see a training session in action. I guess I could; we have a similar structure in our township.


We left another tile at the pond located maybe midway between the park and the town.

And the final tile was set on a bench in the park, next to one of the many ball fields. By this time the weather had cleared and the sky was a beautiful blue.

I am interested to come back and take the trail toward Evansburg State Park next time.

Canary Melon Vine Update

Check out our guys the Canary Melon vines…they are putting on some length.

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