Friday, July 29, 2011

Factory 500 Member Tour: July 23, 2011

Every few months, the Factory 500 members at the Mattress Factory get together for a night to discover new artist studios, galleries, unique businesses and homes in the area. On July 23rd, the group toured several places in the Strip District and Lower Lawrenceville, getting a taste of hard cider and craft cheese as well as seeing custom concrete and current exhibitions. It was a great evening!

Janet McCall, Executive Director, explains some of the history behind Society for Contemporary Craft.

The Factory 500 members look at the current exhibition, Bridge 11: Lia Cook, Mariko Kusumoto, Anne Drew Potter.

The group arrived at 6 pm for the first stop at Society for Contemporary Craft on Smallman street in the Strip District. The members heard about the history of the establishment from Janet MaCall, Executive Director, and about some of the current exhibitions from Director of Exhibitions, Kate Lydon. The group was able to enjoy some food and drink while exploring the education workshops, galleries, and gift shop.

Paul explains some of the methods they use to create their work.

A counter top on display in the Outlaw Studios showroom.

The second stop for the evening was Outlaw Studios, also in the Strip District. Outlaw Studios prides itself on creating custom architectural concrete work for both indoor and outdoor spaces, in homes and businesses alike. Paul Kubis, one of the two founding members, explained the business idea began in 2003. In 2005, Paul and his business partner formed Outlaw Studios and moved to a 10,000 square foot studio in the Strip District. Paul spoke to the group and gave us a tour of his showroom during the evening.

The members gather around in Arsenal Cider House for a hard cider tasting.

Bill Larkin speaks to the group about their hard cider.

Next, the tour took the group to Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar, Inc., at 300 39th Street in Lower Lawrenceville. Owned by Bill and Michelle Larkin, they have made a name for themselves brewing hard cider. As a thematic Civil War-era winery, Arsenal Cider House brews their own hard cider, as well making other period drinks and sorbet. Their flavors change often, from peach and blueberry to white grape. Their menu and store reflect the history of the nearby Arsenal Park, and their drinks have been featured in restaurants and bars across Pittsburgh.

Jonathan invites the group into his home to try some craft cheese.
The Cannonball Curds made at Arsenal Cheese.

The fourth and last stop for the evening's tour was Arsenal Cheese, started by Jonathan Gaugler and his wife, Becky. Located at 274 Fisk Street in Lawrenceville, Jonathan makes craft cheese in his home and distributes it to businesses and restaurants around Pittsburgh. You can read a little bit about them in a Post-Gazette article here. Jonathan gave the group a sample of his Cannonball Curds, a cheese that he makes from start to finish.

Thank you to all our hosts for this Factory 500 member tour! The evening was full of delicious food, drink and conversation. For more pictures of the evening, visit the Mattress Factory on Flickr.

Factory 500 members are invited to join these tour ever few months. For information on Factory 500 memberships you can visit us online or you can give Abby a call at 412-231-3169.

See you all at the next Factory 500 event!

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