Thoughts of Design Inspiration

Philadelphia Philly trails - walking and biking Pennypack park Lorimer park


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Trail Inspirations in Philadelphia

Philadelphia biking and hiking trails Lorimer Park Pennypack

Finding inspiration on biking trails? Yes, you might think that in the “big city” like Philadelphia you possibly can’t do that, but it’s quite the contrary. Feel the wind in your hair and watch the scenery go by, crossing bridges along the creek and saying hello to various critters in the wild.  I have been enjoying all the trails around here, there is so many to choose from. We are in walking distance to two big parks and they also connect to one another. You can walk or bike and choose the type of trail you prefer, winding in the woods or the newer trails on the old railroad tracks. I was away from here for a few years and I must say I really missed the trails!

Philadelphia biking trails Pennypack trail

Along the new section of trails along the old train tracks

I can begin my walking (or biking) straight from the front door, there is a small distance to go on the sidewalks, but then I get to the city farm that connects to the park (Hey, you can often say hello to the cows there!). I like to go along the creek, see the ducks while I walk, sometimes a turtle, bunny or chipmunk. If on a bike, the trails that follow the old rain tracks are really awesome, the surface is nicely packed, perfect for riding. I like to go across the rail road and watch the commuter train go by (they put nice lights and gates along the trail). The old bridges have now wooden sides and it’s really fun on your bike to see the water. At one point you might even find the snack food truck along the trail, they have nice tables and chairs for you to hang out, too!

philadelphia trails bryn athyn snack station all aboard cafe

Snacks anyone? The food truck is here today, not yet open this early but later it’s snack time! (At this point you are technically in Montgomery county)

Philadelphia Trails along Fox Chase Farm

Philadelphia Trails along Fox Chase Farm

Philadelphia trails on Pennypack creek

Pennypack Creek, Philadelphia

philadelphia trails commuter train septa walking path crossing

Train is coming! Love how they put this crossing along the trail, we never thought you could just cross this part on your bike!

philadelphia trails

Along the Pennypack Creek Side Branch

Philadelphia trails

Occasionally you might see the park ranger making sure things are going great on the trails. Wave!

pennypack trail bridge biking walking path

One of the new bridges along the newest section of the trail, you breeze through so many of these!

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Yarn blasting Morris Arboretum


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Inspiration at Yarn Bombing

Yarn blasting Morris Arboretum Art installation
Yes, I had never heard of it either! I recently visited Morris Arboretum to see their yarn bombing installation on trees (and a few other places). I found it actually really inspiring, was not expecting that at all. Various trees were wrapped in large knitted or crocheted pieces of very colorful yarn creations. In the serene atmosphere of the arboretum it surely made an effect.

It wasn’t only trees, either, I thought the idea of wrapping the wooden doors in machine knit was also rather interesting! Who doesn’t want a door with a knit cover….? Some of the little bridges were also wrapped, all those little tiny spaces! And the Greek looking columns  next to the swan pond, I bet the swans thought it to be fascinating, too…

Yarn blasting Morris Arboretum Yarn blasting Morris Arboretum Yarn ArtAnyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the effect of the yarn wrapped trees. I found myself going around and around like a little kid. This might cause some inspirational pieces in my jewelry cYarn blasting Morris Arboretumreations!

spring 2016 trends


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Inspirations From Spring 2016 Fashion

Spring 2016 colors - rose quartzIn the winter I have more time to follow the fashion trends and I must say this Spring is very promising! The colors are wonderful – blues and pinks – Serenity, Snorkel Blue, Limpet Shell, Rose Quartz, some peach and yellow. So pretty and fantastic! I have a bunch of Rose quartz in my gem bead selection and also the beautiful Blue Chalcedony – it matches perfectly the 2016 fashion color Serenity.
Spring 2016 trends - lavender Rebecca MinkoffI was also browsing some runway showings and saw this gorgeous lavender that Rebecca Minkoff is using, among others. Just so lovely. You almost smell a whiff of spring air when you see that color! Rose quartz, Blue chalcedony, Lavender pearl or Amethyst stone jewelry would match perfectly.

Red Fiesta Enamel Flower Earrings

Red Fiesta Enamel Earrings by Evädesigns Available at Basketofblue.com

There is also a strong and powerful color for the red lovers – “Fiesta”, fashion experts showcase that in their Spanish influenced clothing with the ruffle dresses and bright attitude.
2016 trend colors - fiesta spanish influences

Chunky Amethyst Bracelet by Evädesigns - available at BasketofBlue.com

Chunky Amethyst Bracelet by Evädesigns Available at BasketofBlue.com

Lavender Baroque Pearl Bracelet - at BasketofBlue.com

Lavender Amethyst Pearl Bracelet Available at BasketofBlue.com

The fashionistas are also saying that extra long earrings are in and even the idea of wearing completely unmatched pairs! Not sure if I want to go there, but it’s an interesting idea.

Spring 2016 trends earrings - long unmatched pairs
Fashion images from Elle.com and Marieclaire.co.uk.

blue poppy enameled copper jewelry by evadesigns


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Copper Component Inspirations

Blue enameled copper poppy

Blue enameled copper poppy

I promised to share what I’ve made so far inspired by my last visit to the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. I went nuts about the golden poppies in the stained glass window – so mesmerizing! So, I handcrafted some poppy shapes out of copper and enameled them with a torch. I’m finishing one of them into a necklace right now. I also made components out of copper – links and such, sort of rustic and very handmade.

The blue poppy is my favorite – yes, my shape is rustic, not your most finessed poppy, but I think that’s part of the charm! The other one is wild orangish even more rustic version with bright yellow melted enamel whiskers thrown on top. Still looking for ideas of how to incorporate it into a piece of jewelry. It is going to be something sort of earthy looking!

Enameled copper rustic orange poppy

Enameled copper rustic orange poppy

My copper components were so much fun to hammer – I got really into heating copper and hammering like a mad person. I recommend that to everybody… great stress reliever. I just made these swirly links today, and showed them to my husband. He instantly said ” I see these were inspired by the railings in the cathedral”. I didn’t even realize that. Well, it’s great if you can keep the inspirations producing without even knowing!

I’m incorporating all these new rustic findings into pieces of jewelry. I have actually come up with some totally new designs that are different than what I usually make. I’m very happy with how these inspired items are coming along. So, go get inspired!

copper poppy blue enameled flower poppy by evadesigns

Blue enameled copper poppy necklace

handmade copper links

Hammered and torched copper links

Hammered handmade copper links by evadesigns

Rustic copper links

Handcrafted copper links torched to patina by evadesignsMaine

Hammered and torched copper components

 

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Bryn Athyn Cathedral poppy inspirations evadesigns


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Purple Haze

purplehaze, bryn athyn cathedral purple stained glass

The “purple haze” at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral – just so beautiful!

So, I can’t stop talking about the Bryn Athyn Cathedral…I was recently just there again, and, for the first time – inside. It would take me forever to describe all of it – the stained glass, woodworking, sand stone, monel items, etc. there is so much to see! I recommend highly you go and visit, I always get great inspirations for my creative work.

I want to show you some copper pieces I’m working on while inspired by the cathedral. Yes, they are Not monel, but somehow I find a connection. (in my next post) Also, for the first time I’m inspired to create flowers from copper – starting with a poppy of course, since I’m a Marimekko fan and I saw the most beautiful stained glass picture at the cathedral with these golden poppies that were just popping out of the window. The light was hitting that window somehow from the outside just at the moment I was there and it was mesmerizing, it looked like they were truly “golden”. I have never been a big fan of flowers in my designs, but hey, you  need to experiment and see what is outside of the box. But first, more of my inspirations from my visit.

poppies, stained glass, art

Stained glass with poppies from a distance, Bryn Athyn cathedral

poppiescloser

Golden poppies at the Cathedral – they are most mesmerizing when you are standing right in front!

So, the most friendly guide (Gillian) explained that the detailed ornamental woodworking you see in the pulpits is truly two sided – the inside is what people don’t see, but both must be beautiful. The craftsmen made the intricate patterned carved woodworking on both sides of the piece, even if you don’t see it from the outside. We were encouraged to touch it from the inside and yes, it truly is two sided.

woodcarving, wood carved furniture

Woodcarving at the Cathedral – both sides need to beautiful – like us humans.

stainedglass

One of the stained glass windows at the Cathedral

The most breathtaking in this cathedral (in my opinion) is the stained glass work. There are so many of them and the techniques are incredible, the colors are so vivid and they took forever to finish. AT the front of the cathedral the mesmerizing purple light is created by both red and blue colors coming from the windows and you can truly see as if there is a purple haze inside (yes, I just mean the color). You could read a lot about how time was spent learning to make this then forgotten technique to create these colors, some of them are still secrets. Even just the blue alone is incredible to look at.

sandstone wall, bryn athyn

Sandstone walls

The walls are sand stone, the warmness it creates is quite wonderful. The color is like you are on the beach – warm, a bit beige and peach and varied with swirly patterns. Very beautiful, you just want to touch it. It gives the inside of the cathedral this all around warmness that you can’t really explain.

And yes, they just had put in the new organ! And there was a person practicing!…this was so wonderful for me. I’m a big fan of organs, long time ago I used to play one at my home church back in Finland. I used to be the church guide during the summers while in high school and I just loved to play the organ. (Thanks to the years of piano lessons I could read the music. I’m no Chopin, just your regular home town piano player.) The sound of this organ was so beautiful, I personally could just sit there for hours and just listen and stare at the purple haze.

 

organ, bryn athyn cathedral, swedenborgian

The organ at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral

 

metal handcrafted key, monel

One of the keys to the cathedral

Before leaving the tour we were able to look inside the “key box”. These keys to the cathedral doors are all handmade monel keys, carefully crafted and designed.  And, I got to hold one!

 

You can probably tell how much it means to me to visit here. My husband took me to the cathedral grounds when we first met, and we used to visit and walk there often while we lived in Philadelphia. It has always been a very special place for me. I warmly recommend the experience, you will not be disappointed (and they are not even paying me)!

More about stained glass creation at the Cathedral
(from book “Bryn Athyn Historic District” by Ed Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal)

 

green stoves


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Bringing Art to Life – Did Sibelius Have a Green Fireplace?

Green stove at Halonen artist residence in Finland

Green stove at Halonen artist residence – the door has a sow with a litter of eight – depicting the eight children.

I finally got around reading  a book my sister sent me for Christmas about Finnish artists and their homes (Bringing Art to Life, Otava).  The book is about the residences of Finnish turn-of the century artists –  such as Järnefelt, Sibelius, Cedercreutz, Halonen and Gallen-Kallela.  I now have new inspirations from these artists’ homes! The homes have some very interesting features and are now inspiring me with their colors, especially with their fireplaces.

I have been using the color green recently a lot in my jewelry and scarf creations, and Sibelius, for example,  had the most wonderful green fireplace. Cedercreutz even had a “green room” and he  talked about how he felt about the color green: ” I too have my longing for new dreams, a new future self”, and green “is the color of hope, green lies on every hand, and the tree of life spreads its boughs into the surrounding space.”  The green room in his residence is the library, with green sofa, chairs and table with green curtains and over three thousand books to read.

Sibelius's fireplace in Ainola

Sibelius’ green fireplace in his living room.

The green room at the Cedercreutz residence.

The green room at the Cedercreutz residence.

Sibelius wanted his stove to be green, because he associated the color green with the key F-major. It is an impressive looking stove, I bet it kept the living room warm and provided inspiration for the composer! It was also known that Sibelius enjoyed the garden –  he appreciated vegetables and enjoyed the smells and colors of flowerbeds and visualized the keys as different colors.

Sibelius and Gallen-Kallela were friends, the story goes that one night in Kalela (Gallen-Kallela’s residence) Sibelius wrote part of his second symphony. Was he maybe inspired by the green stove…?

Gallen-Kallela's green stove.

Gallen-Kallela’s green stove.

All images are from the book  Leena Lindqvist, Norman Ojanen, (2008) Bringing Art to Life, Turn-of-the-century Finnish Artists Homes. Keuruu, FinlandOtava.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral


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Metalwork at Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Last week I visited our old hometown Philadelphia and ended up going to see The Cathedral – as we know it –  the grounds for several impressive Gothic and Romanesque style  buildings built between 1913- 1919 known as Bryn Athyn Cathedral.  When we lived here we used to go for pleasant walks on the grounds to enjoy the extensive flower plantings and to admire the architecture.

I had never really looked carefully at the metalwork that exists in the cathedral and was quite amazed how very interesting it is and then learned it uses some impressive techniques. I especially liked all the handles in the various doors that are made with monel metal. The animals depicted in these door handles have some type of biblical symbolism. So, what is monel metal? Monel is a natural alloy of nickel (67 percent) and copper (28 percent), with a small proportion of other metals. It is very tough, more difficult to work with than iron, and can be welded only using oxygen and acetylene. It will not rust, and will maintain a white, nickel-like beauty without being reflective. When hand beaten, its surface presents a pleasing texture of light and darker tones. While outdoors it develops a lovely patina of gray-green.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Monel Door Handle

Throughout the Cathedral the locks and latches are also fashioned of monel. There is a collection of forty-seven handcrafted monel keys that open the locks!

Another interesting detail about the cathedral is that there are no right angles or straight lines – this  used to be common in medieval buildings.

The stair railings that you see in the picture are quite remarkable work of art. They have a lovely green patina and work so well together with the stones of the building.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Spiral Stair Railing

Bryn Athyn Cathedral Spiral Stair Railing

Bryn Athyn Cathedral - Set of  Metal Doors

Bryn Athyn Cathedral – Set of Metal Doors

Bryn Athyn Cathedral - Set of  Metal Doors Copper

Bryn Athyn Cathedral – Set of Metal Doors

The stained glass windows of Bryn Athyn Cathedral were created using the medieval method—melting various pigment and metallic oxides into the glass itself and then having a glass blower create a disc of glass with varying degrees of thickness and brightness.

There is a set of doors that are made out of single sheets of hammered copper,  together with these monel handles they certainly demand attention!

I became interested in metalwork recently so I never actually paid attention to these marvelous details. This sure gives you an appreciation what a real metalsmith and craftsman can do!

As visitphilly describes it “This welcoming stone Cathedral, with Gothic archways, stained glass windows and carved woodwork, is the spiritual center of Bryn Athyn, a religious community with its own school system and museum. Symbolism connects theological doctrine to the Cathedral’s design, using elements of medieval simplicity and the American arts & crafts movement.”  If you wish to learn more about the Bryn Athyn Cathedral metalwork see: http://www.newchurchhistory.org/articles/cathedral/09themetalwork.php

Glass and Monel Metal Door at Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Glass and Monel Metal Door at Bryn Athyn Cathedral