south philly

Summer in Philadelphia

:: clouds ::

We just got out of a nasty heat wave here in Philadelphia. The heat broke on Thursday with a dramatic thunderstorm. I made a little movie of the clouds forming, it was beautiful and threatening.

It was hard to do much when it felt like 104 outside. I know the cat felt the same way.

:: monkey ::

My studio gets very hot in the summer. I'm trying to find solutions to this problem. An entire wall of windows is beautiful, and a blessing in the winter, but it feels like a greenhouse in the summer. I'm working with my landlord to find the best way to install curtains, and possibly a portable air conditioner too.

In the meantime, I've been taking my work home with me.

:: books in progress ::

Mike is in Michigan teaching a class at Ox-Bow for two weeks, so I am home alone. Right now, I'm working on a big order of books for Cog & Pearl in Brooklyn, and later this week, I have some custom books to make too. I have plenty of work to keep me busy so hopefully those two weeks will just fly by. Well, almost fly by.

When he gets back, we're going to put those finishing touches on the press and then it's time for some serious printing.


Three books in the oven! Almost done, and when they are I'll post plenty of new pictures. I've been working hard this week on a set of custom journals for a friend...
And what is fueling these endeavors? Pizzaz! Let me tell you a little bit about pizzaz...
Pizzaz is a pizza native to South Philadelphia without sauce and topped with...wait for it...american cheese slices, tomatoes and banana peppers and it is so freaking good and cheap making it the perfect lunch to bring to the studio.

Maybe I should go get a slice.

Girard's Farm

If I could have a super power, I've often said I would choose the ability to observe a place where I am standing in any point and time. This wish originated during hours of looking out the window of R2 train, which runs from Philadelphia to Wilmington. The train runs through Chester, then Marcus Hook, both port towns that have seen better days, and then along the Delaware River. I'd daydream about what it must have looked like before the Swedes settled this area. Then what did it look like as industry started to scatter along the river?

Below are a few pictures from xzmattzx's, well, really nice photo tour of Marcus Hook on Skyscraper City.

the beautiful American Viscose Company building

I want it.

But I digress. The title of this post refers to my new neighborhood, Girard Estate, defined as the area between Passyunk and Oregon and Broad and 22nd St. So I am living on Stephen Girard, once the richest man in America's, land. This whole neighborhood was once a 583 acre farm, named Gentilhommiere, full of exotic fruit trees and vegetables imported from Europe.

Now, the house sits alone, in the center of a small city park. I was really surprised the first time I saw it.
from pwbaker's excellent flickr set of the farmhouse

Around it is a shady, quiet, almost suburban, and not at all typical south philly neighborhood, that I walk through whenever I have the chance. If you're interested there's a guide on the architecture of the neighborhood here.