Category archives: Uncategorized

In this blog post, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a talented photographer : Claire Rosen, she is an award-winning artist, whose work resonates with a profound sense of artistry and storytelling.

How did your upbringing affect you and your creativity? 

My creativity has its roots in my earliest childhood and the way my mother and father raised my three younger sisters and me.  My created the enabling environment that nurtured and expanded my imagination. We would spend hours at the Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art, celebrate Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter with tea parties, spend evening hours reading well worn Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and go to horticulture sketching classes in a local victorian-era glass greenhouse.  My father instilled an appreciation for the classics and an interest in philosophy, his analytical mind always focused on perfecting what he set to undertake, modeling a strong work ethic and high standards for quality. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was building an interior vocabulary from these childhood experiences filled with surprise and delight, that later would become the language of my artistic practice. I will be eternally grateful for the gift and privilege of that childhood. 

Tell us about your first introduction to photography, What drew you into this world?

I found photography in my early years at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Photography gave me a voice and outlet for expression beyond what I found in other mediums.

What does photography mean to you?

The pursuit of art provides a path to a life enriched with unique personal experiences.  For me, a life in photography has offered the opportunity to constantly learn, meet and connect with interesting people, and explore fascinating places near and far. The process of making my hidden, interior life visible is therapeutic as I engage in a psychological examination of different concepts. Making pictures allows me to explore the world, work out how I feel about it, and find my place within it. Beyond personal experience, I hope to affect viewers – to capture someone else’s imagination and provide an escape from the everyday world—even if momentarily.  I hope to create images that are a window to a whimsical place where anything is possible.

What 3 words describe your photography style?

Whimsical, Fantastical, Abundant

How do you prepare for your projects? Do you picture beforehand in your mind the images you take?

When preparing for a project I gather inspiration and create extensive mood boards, mind maps, and sketches followed by research and a production plan.  I have outlined my whole workflow in my book, Imaginarium; The Process Behind the Photos. 

You can check Clarie’s work here:

All photos by Jie Deng in the eye photography

1. When and how did you start painting? 

I remember painting, drawing and sculpting with clay from a very young age.  I have a lot of positive memories of exposure to art that feel linked to the eventual path of becoming a painter myself. 

My mother is very creative and I remember her taking me to classes at Wayne Art Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I would sometimes get lost in the galleries. It was the 80s and kids wandered freely without parental supervision.  I have really good memories of that time, even if most of what I made exploded in the kiln.

My grandmother also had an incredible sense of design – her father was a gallerist and cultural critic (J.H. de Bois) in the Netherlands and she would take me local Cape Cod art galleries as a kid.  Seeing the beauty of a place expressed through art was just magical and that stayed with me. 

I remember announcing to her that one day, I would have my own gallery.  (I also told her I would be a marine biologist and a pediatrician.)  She told me, with characteristic Dutch sobering sensibility, that there were already too many art galleries on Cape Cod.

My first formal oil painting class was at Hampshire College in 2001, but at that time I was also doing a lot of photography working with a medium format camera.  

I always had a sketchbook of abstract watercolors that I would come back to, but I didn’t start to really explore abstraction with oils until I took at class with Yolanda Sanchez at Penland School of Art in 2015.  That class was a turning point for me.  Yolanda, like me, also worked in healthcare and was also a practicing artist.  

I began to see that I didn’t have to pursue only one passion.  I could practice acupuncture and painting. 

I also started to see how the practice of acupuncture and movement of qi (energy) and brushstrokes were in conversation.

2. What do you think is the most important influence in your painting?

For me painting is a space of total freedom.  It’s an expression of energetic movement and what as acupuncturists we call the Shen – heart qi – existing in that space beyond thought or the intellect.  Resting in this space during activity is so rare in our current times and that is what really excites me about the painting process.  Even if I tap into that space of consciousness for just a few moments of the painting, that is what feels most vital about the painting process.  

My wish is to convey that space to the viewer and continue exploring it in my work. It sounds very lofty but I think it shouldn’t be – I think we all have access to consciousness or a state of peace and is vital to cultivate it.  

3. Do you work from life, photographs or from imagination?

This varies but is usually a combination of imagination and the natural world.  Light and the drama of light on the landscape is something that continues to interest me.  When working indoors I may work purely from imagination or I might set up a still life of florals to spark the process.  Other times I will paint at the ocean or in my grandparent’s backyard – any part of nature that I feel a personal resonance with or want to convey. 

4. What is your creative process like?  

I typically allow a painting to evolve while I am making it and don’t have any set boundaries beyond the canvas when I begin.  I often work outdoors in warmer months, look for places where I feel inspired and set up my easel there.  

Sometimes I will get an image of part of a painting.  I’ll sketch that out to remember it and come back to it.  I find that when I am spending time in nature (particularly by the ocean) and am emptying myself of the busy-ness of daily life by taking time to meditate, do qi gong, and sometimes journal, an idea for a painting may come.  

When I’m painting during a busy week and haven’t made the time for much contemplation I just allow myself to explore by choosing a color palette, mixing color and working from there. 

5. What are you working on right now? 

Currently I’m working on several pieces – one plein air piece I began at The National Seashore in Eastham, another large abstract floral-inspired piece, and I am starting a new piece inspired by the incredible gardens at Chanticleer. 

All photos by Jie Deng In The Eye Photography

(This photo from MaryFatimah’s website)

1. What do you like most about being an artist? 

I love creating. I love making something new, and discovering new things through my work. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I have completed a project and the wonder of discovering what the piece will be as I go. 

2. Which artists influenced you?

I am terrible with names and facts. There is so much art I like from the old masters to my 4 year olds paintings. Its hard for me to pin point specific artists. I will say my background in architecture is a big factor and I love the design work of Carlo Scarpa (an Italian architect from the 1900’s). 

3. What is your daily routine when working?

It depends when I am working on, and if I have a show or fair I am working towards. I work in very different mediums, so a day could be throwing on the wheel, painting swaths of trace paper or spinning yarn, possibly all three. I also have a lot of back-end work necessary to run my business, answering emails, applying to shows, running my website, inventory, meetings ect. 

4. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get a lot of my inspiration from nature, the colors forms and colors in nature are a constant wonder to me. I also am intrigued in our inner worlds, and how I can express that or connect with others through my work. 

5. What are you working on now? 

I am currently working on a series called internal landscapes, attempting to document feelings and movements of emotion. I am also preparing for summer and fall shows with my ceramic goods and am in production mode. 

All photos by Jie Deng In The Eye Photography

Meet Victoria, owner of TEXTILE, vintage+contemporary designers.

Please tell us about your journey to become a stylist and how did you first get into vintage clothing?

I have been a stylist for about ten years now.  I have always loved clothing and putting outfits together.  I was lucky enough to have a grandmother and mother who saved a lot of their favorite pieces from years past.  I love wearing vintage pieces!  I wanted to create a place where your favorite female designers and vintage collections could come mingle together.  And that is how TEXTILE was born. 

Where does your boutique name: Textile come from? How would you describe your boutique?

While trying to brainstorm a name for my first boutique, I was all over the place.  It’s a daunting task to name something you’ve dreamt about for a lifetime!  Fabrics and the tactile connection you have to an article of clothing is one of my favorite things.  A lot of people choose an item of clothing to wear because it feels good.  TEXTILE is an ode to fabrics and the creative process of fashion design. 

What was the first piece you fell in love with?

My mothers wedding dress is the very first piece I fell in love with.  It is this simple cream long sleeve column dress from 1975. The most beautiful figure hugging gown.  I fell in love with this as a child and that sparked the vintage lover forever!  I still have her dress today (preserved,) it’s the most important piece in my closet!  

What’s in your own closet?

I have quite the eclectic mix in my own closet.  I wear vintage clothing almost everyday.  I love pairing new contemporary pieces with vintage.  That is what you will find at TEXTILE.  A curated collection of vintage and also contemporary clothing!  I love denim.  Pairing denim with a cool vintage floral jacket or vintage lingerie is my go to.

Who are your style muses? 

My style muse has always evolved and changed from year to year.  But the women who have always had the most enviable style to me are Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss.  Eclectic, sexy, and unique.  

“I practice my soul and the compilation of my experiences on whatever paper or form will hold it.

To forever pursue an outward mark from an inward inkling is an accomplishment in and of itself.

It takes strength and magic and an unscratchable itch.

In the end, art is a solitary, personal and probably selfish experience, that exists intimately between the artist and the tools of the art.”—Diane Cirafesi

What do you like most about being an artist?

It seems there was never a choice in being an artist: it’s something you can’t NOT do. The gift Art brings is being able to process everything seen into some sort of image that stores itself in my psyche, and informs future work, whether consciously or subconsciously. And I kind of like that part of it: it’s a vision-driven life.

Which artist or painter influenced you?

I am influenced by most every artist that I have viewed, but tend toward those who evoke some sort of iconography, spiritual, abstract realism… I really like deKooning, Larry Rivers, Jim Dine, Picasso….anyone whose work reflects thought and purpose of mark.

What kind of creative patterns,routines or rituals do you have?

My circadian clock usually has me creating from late afternoon to late in the night.

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

Deciding when to stop. Which can be never.

What are you working on now?
The same work I have been working on since I picked up a pencil as a child…it’s always and ever just one giant piece of work, strung together by different media.

“Creating is an integral part of my life.  Working with clay, other natural materials, and metal connects with Earth.  Their transformation is alluring and fascinating to me – as it has been to humans through the ages.  Myths, animals and other forms of nature  influence my work.  Capturing and expressing the essence or spirit, not soley a realistic portrayal, is my goal.  I would be delighted if my functional work is enjoyed in everyday use and my non-functional work provides visual pleasure/provokes contemplation.”–Jill Beech

“I first took a ceramics class around 1981 and immediately felt an affinity and bond with clay.  Since then, I have taken many classes, mostly in hand-building, and nearly all at Penland School of Crafts – a truly inspirational place with great artists and teachers.  As my passion and involvement increased, I built a large gas kiln to expand firing capabilities beyond electric.  Until 2011 when I retired, I was a veterinarian on the UPenn Veterinary School faculty so I juggled time between the studio and working at New Bolton Center, in the large animal hospital.  Since then, I have been able to devote much more time to working in my studio adjacent to my home.”

“My functional and sculptural work is mainly made from porcelain or stoneware clay, and less frequently low fire earthenware clay.  Some of my hand built forms are perforated with hundreds of varying sized and shaped holes whilst still damp and malleable; they are then dried, fired to a low temperature ( approximately 1800 F) then sandblasted, and finally re-fired to a higher temperature, usually between 2100-2300F.  Glazes or stains are applied to some pieces.  Others have multiple layers of different coloured slips (clay suspension) applied and then rubbed through to reveal different colours, and some are left unadorned, revealing just the clay itself. Some are mounted on steel stands that I forged. I have sometimes used metal containing paint on the final fired piece to give forms the appearance of metal.  Encaustics have been used on some vessels to create layers on the surface, giving subtle colour changes and texture. Less frequently, on the low fired non-functional earthenware pieces, I paint multiple layers of acryllic paint. Horses, and to less extent other animals, influence both the forms as well as the images on the decorated surfaces of functional ware. Imagery from travel also has influenced forms.”

“Over the last few years, in addition to working with clay, I have worked with copper fold-forming,( using commercial patinas on the finished forms, and making wall panels, leaves for mobiles,  and wearable wrist cuffs), clay monoprinting,( influenced by  the late Mitch Lyons, who had a studio in London Grove) , hand made paper, recycled cardboard,  paper sculpture, and also  wire sculptures.   I particularly like Kozo for  making paper, and sometimes use encaustics on  surfaces.  My studio is near Ercildoun and is open by appointment and at my yearly open studio days.”

Meet Jan, the founder of AHHAH–arts holding hand and hearts.

1. Can you tell us a little bit  about yourself ?

My life has been a winding road full of many wonderful twists and turns that have all lead me to AHHAH.
I grew up in Nashville and was going to major in psychology but was invited to act in a summer theatre program my senior year and was hooked and changed my major to theatre.  I was a professional actress in NYC for 18 years, even was in a a horror film, Mad  Man where I get axed in the chest and my head shot off (that always grabs the attention of youth in detention when I share that tidbit).  
I have a BA degree in Theatre and a Master’s in Education, my thesis was “Does and Arts Infused Curriculum enhance the academic success of children labeled “at risk”?”
I have two children, Ian who is 35 and a lawyer in Norristown, and Caitlin who is  31, an artist, dancer and the most amazing mother of my 2 year old grandson in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
We moved to Unionville 25 years ago.  I started a ‘Science Alive’ program at Unionville Elementary school when it was a K-3 school when my daughter was in 1st grade and then was hired to bring the program to Chadds Ford Elementary.  After getting my Master in Education, I moved on up to Patton Middle School and  taught English, Science, Life Management Skills and assisted the after school drama program.
My husband had worked at the World Trade Center in NYC.  I had always said when my children were grown and I was a grandmother I would go back to acting.  After 9/11 I realized that if you have a dream, you can’t put it on a shelf and say “one day” but pursue it now.  I finished that school year and once again pursued acting this time in Philadelphia.  
My first day not teaching, I was cast in a show “Snow is Falling” with Philadelphia Young Playwrights. During the rehearsals, when they found out that I had been a teacher, I was asked to be a teaching artist teaching playwriting with children in inner city schools in Philadelphia.  A truly AHHAH moment.  I was a teaching artist for both PYP and the Philadelphia Theatre Company for 8 years.  

I also lead the drama program with the Philadelphia Senior Center across the street from Suzanne Roberts Theatre and was a member of CAAN- Creative Arts and Aging Network.  I was part of the planning committee for a town hall meeting at World Live Cafe in 2002 of the importance of professional arts programming with seniors that was a nationwide movement to get funding for professional senior arts programming. The theme of the town hall meeting was think globally but act locally. 

2. When and why did you start AHHAH? 

I started an intergenerational program called Hands Across the Ages which combined senior citizens at the Kennett Senior Center and teenagers at the Garage to share their stories and break down the walls between the generations.  The teens came to the senior center after school for workshops where we used theatre techniques to build connections.  The next year the seniors went to the high school as part of an after school program.
I brought this program to Philadelphia Theatre Company as part of their “Philly Reality” program.  I worked with the Philadelphia Senior Center and the World Communications Charter School which was across the street.   Fall of 2012 they picked the issue of bullying in school and that we need more arts education not more guards with guns.  The piece they wrote together was, “I AM LIVING”.  December 12 was the Sandy Hook killing.  I AM LIVING was performed to a packed audience at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.  At the talk back after the performance, young and old shared having been either bullied or being a bully, not realizing the impact of words to hurt a person and became advocates to stop bullying.
Three weeks later I found out that  three of the inner city schools where I was teaching were closing and three weeks after than I found out that funding for the arts of the other inner city schools was being cut.  I said to the director of education at PTC that if the government does not believe that children in poverty deserve an arts education and are just going to funnel them into the prison system, then we need to bring our programs to the children in the juvenile justice system.
The education director said they didn’t go there and I said, ” I guess I have to open my own organization that does.”  I quit my job.
I get up early in the morning 4 am  to meditate ( that’s when my husband starts snoring and I felt it was better to get up and meditate instead of tossing and turning with a pillow over my ears or his head!) and journal.  The day after I quit I journaled and asked  “Ok what do I do now, and as if channelled my hand wrote, AHHAH.  I wrote what does AHHAH stand for and I wrote Arts Holding Hands and Hearts.  I closed my journal and said to myself, “I guess that’s my new organization.”  

3. Can you share some stories from AHHAH programs?

I teach 6 am yoga at Yoga Secrets in Kennett. That morning after teaching I asked, Can anyone get me into the prisons legally.
There was a new person in class who said she was a parole officer and said I need to talk to Carrie Avery and Joe Frankenstein at the Chester County Youth Center.  I said,”Is this a horror film joke, Carrie and Frankenstein! It wasn’t.  I met with Carrie and Joe and a week later I started a weekly trauma sensitive yoga class.  Three months later we started a creative writing program.  That was in 2013.
The first writing program was with girls in the shelter for homeless and abused girls at CCYC. There were 4 girls, all from Coatesville.  The first girl who shared was Sarena, who wrote, “I am the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother who was the daughter of a teenage mother with no father in sight.”  The next girl who shared wrote about being raped at 12 by her uncle while her mother was in the room and the baby crying that stopped him from taking her again but she forgave him because she knew that she would be in prison in her heart if she didn’t forgive.  I knew then that AHHAH had to make Coatesville our base to see how we could stop the youth from Coatesville entering the juvenile justice system.
Our first grant was a 21st Century Learning Center grant and we facilitated trauma sensitive yoga and after school playwriting classes with students at Scott Middle School in 2014.  We then found out that children in kindergarten were being suspended in Coatesville.  We knew if we were going to be more than a bandaide we needed to reach families with children 0-5.  We started a Family Story Time Yoga program for children 2-5 with a caregiver at the Coatesville Library.
One of the mothers in our first class, mother was a teacher in Early Start a program with Head Start.  She introduced us to the director of Coatesville Head Start and we facilitated Storytime Yoga for free to 5 Head Start classes in Coatesville.  2019 AHHAH brings our Storytime Yoga program to over 400 children in Chester County.
 In my research of why so many children in poverty enter the juvenile justice system I found statistics that children in poverty are exposed to 30 MILLION words less by the time they are five than children in a middle class or more affluent household.
2015 was the City of Coatesville’s 100 anniversary.  I spearheaded a “PULL” (Pop Up Lending Library) Campaign to get 100 both indoor and outdoor PULL Stations throughout Coatesville.
2018 the Longwood Rotary gave AHHAH $1500 for materials to build 10 PULL Stations in Kennett Square. The Kennett Square community embraced the PULL Campaign.  AHHAH partnered with the Kennett Library and the Kennett Culture and Arts group in identifying locations, artists, and collection of books.

Please check AHHAH website for more

Meet Caroline, artist, art writer, event maker.

How do you introduce yourself?
Caroline Roosevelt. 

How did you find yourself in the art world and decide to stay?
My passion has always orbited around art. As I child, I started drawing and was encouraged to do so by my mother (who is an artist!) I excelled at art in high school, entering and placing in competitions, and studied studio art and art history at Connecticut College. After graduating, I moved to Philadelphia and attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where I continued to suss out what I’m trying to do with my art. As an adult, I continue to pursue artistic endeavors while also engaging the community. I write an art column for Chadds Ford Live and Chester County Press called Mixed Media, and have been enjoying that since November. I still create my own work, and sell my cards at worKS, as well as participate in community art events. I recently established a Pop Up Arts committee dedicated to uplifting the arts in the Kennett area through Pop Up Events. It seems that, no matter where I go, art follows me and I’m realizing that’s not a coincidence. 

What are you working on right now? How did the project come to you?

Right now I’m working on a few paintings for the Evening of The Arts. I’m looking to expand into some more fauvist styles of painting. I have also just learned how to frame my own work, so I’m practicing that as well. 

We also have a Pop UP Art event in Kennett Square on June 1st so, stay tuned for more info!

Why did you decide to move to Kennett square?
I am originally from the area. After living in dense metropolitan areas for 10 years, I was ready to slow down a little bit and recalibrate, and that landed me back in Kennett which has been a really fantastic thing for me. I work for the Kennett Township, and participate in community events in the borough as well. I love this community!
What do you like most about Kennett Square?
I love how Kennett has grown into itself in the past ten years. It’s changed from a sleepy agricultural town, to a lively community full of artists and entrepreneurs with big ideas. There will always be a part of the community that will long for the past, and challenge ingenuity, but overall, I see Kennett as receptive to change while still respecting its roots, and that’s one of the most attractive things about this town. 

Meet Nat– a fine art photographer in Kennett Square. 1.Tell us a little bit about you?

I am originally from Brooklyn N.Y. We moved a lot when I was a kid which always made me feel like an outsider. I think that helped me to be a keen and objective observer of my surroundings which has served me well when I hold a camera up to my eye. After spending many years on the F Train to Manhattan where I worked as a commercial photographer, my wife and I decided it was time to make a change. We set our sights on the Brandywine Valley and ultimately ended up here in Kennett Square, where we raise our two daughters. My day job is in the Exhibitions department at Winterthur Museum in nearby Wilmington. When I’m not at work I spend just about every minute making or thinking about making images. It’s an obsession really. I can’t not do it.

2.How did you get into photography?

I was very visual when I was a child. This might sound strange but I would arrange images of my surroundings in my head in ways that would aesthetically please me. During my middle-school years I received as a gift my first 35mm camera, a Nikon FM. It gave me the opportunity to get those images out of my head and into an actual photograph . When I got to high school I really immersed myself in the craft of photography. I spent every minute I could in the darkroom. The obsession became so great that I would accidentally cut classes because I’d lose track of time trying to get that perfect print. After graduating high school I attended a very intensive photography school and quickly landed an assistant’s job in the studio of a small advertising agency in NYC. I started out like most assistants do—sweeping the studio, developing film, painting sets, and changing the cat litter. I soon worked my way up to staff photographer, doing mostly still life work for catalogs and ads for big name clients in the NY giftware and toy industry. As a way to escape the monotony of photographing merchandise I started to shoot people. I fell in love with portraiture and it’s what I love to do most now.

3. What’s your favorite subject?

My daughters, without question. They are the most expressive, generous, and patient people. If I ran out of anything else to photograph, I’d be very happy to photograph them everyday. I’m not sure how they’d feel about that though.

4. What do you think about film vs digital?

I’m kind of two minds about this. Film will always be special to me. Artistically speaking there’s a certain soulful quality and warmth about film as well as the tactile aspect of the materials that’s very exciting to me. I like how it forces you to slow down—to be more thoughtful, more deliberate. I attended an alternative process workshop last year that reinvigorated my interest in making old-school, hand-crafted images. However, compared to digital sensors, film can be limiting in terms of speed, color temperature, workflow, and that sort of thing. Not to mention the cost factor of film and development. Despite all that there seems to be a resurgence of film in the marketplace at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia or a real honest-to-goodness backlash to our overly digitized world. Time will tell but what I do feel very strongly about is whichever medium best expresses your artistic vision is the right medium to use.

5.Where do you get your inspiration?

That’s the kind of question I could answer for days! I like finding the extraordinary in what would otherwise be considered very ordinary subject matter. I look for the beauty in the imperfection of things. Also, since I was very young, I’ve been quite fascinated and maybe even obsessed with the passage of time. I like fleeting moments. The moments between moments. I’m not sure if it necessarily comes through in all my work, but it is always on my mind.

6.A photographer who inspires you

When it comes to the great iconic figures of photography, Irving Penn has probably had the greatest influence on me, especially when I was a younger photographer. He blurred the lines between art and craft. He treated street trash with the same care and attention to detail as he would the finest examples of haute couture. What I love most about Penn is how he focused in equal measure on the dignity and humanity of his portrait subjects, whether they were artists, celebrities, common workers, or indigenous peoples.

Having said that though, I’d regret not adding that in the past few years I’ve become friends with several like-minded photographers, some who I’ve only met through social media, who are generous, supportive, and constructive. Photographers who create and share amazing, meaningful, and very personal work. Work presented without ego. Work that inspires conversation and exploration. That kind of inspiration is hard to beat.

To learn more about Nat’s work check his instagram:

“Stan Smokler’s steel sculptures recall the visual wit and cunning assemblages of Picasso and Gonzalez, as well as the American voices of David Smith and Richard Stankiewicz.”–



Did you upbringing influence your work?

I am from the Bronx, New York and I believe that the fast pace combined with my learning experience of my youth influenced my work…the use of material / recycled was always at my disposal.



Where do you get your inspiration ? 

I was inspired by nature and its forms….the breathing and wrestling of the material.



What are your favorite sculptures you have made? 

My work has  always been with me…  I do not have a favorite work…   a process….from my early work; to work I plan and build today….


What are you working on now? 

I am working on a figure that stands 8 feet tall…gears …lots of them….!!!   lots of rust !!…. the movement will be a figure that billows and blows from the sides……..I am working on several works as I travel in time.  



What do you like doing when you are not making sculptures?

And speaking about travel….that is the gift to either see new places / old places or read about places that make me wonder…I will research the place and begin a new work….