Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Annual CraftFactory Market

Join us in the MF Lobby on Saturday, December 14th for our annual Holiday CraftFactory! Come explore hand-made objects and artwork from Pittsburgh makers. This year's CraftFactory coincides with our Member Appreciation Day - members will receive extra discounts in the shop, free gift wrapping, and other perks. There will also be a special live performance from the unconventional musical trio the South Side Sharps. The CraftFactory runs during museum hours, 10-5pm, and is sponsored by the MF Shop.

The CraftFactory is a great way to support local artists, as well as the MF. Get your last minute holiday shopping done, and see some amazing artwork during your visit. We hope to see you there!

Interested in vending at CraftFactory events? Contact us: shop [at] mattress [dot] org

Emily Anne Shop

Emily Walley is a multimedia artist and craftsperson with a background in sculpture and art metals. She creates installations and jewelry inspired by the urban landscape, taking cues from architectural spaces, maps, and city streets. Her wood and metal jewelry designs are printed with minimalist patterns evoking an urban vibe.

You can find her jewelry for sale in Pittsburgh at the MF Museum shop and Pageboy Boutique. Visit her on Dec. 7th at Handmade Arcade. 

Hey Beast Studio

Hey Beast Studio is run by Jeff Brunner, a Pittsburgh native and resident of Brighton Heights. His studio practice began in 2010 when he got tired of being art lazy and decided to make an alphabet book for his then new niece. That book, Armadillo to Zebu: an Alphabet Book for You and Me Too, was self-published in October 2012. Since releasing the book he's completed a yearlong illustration/mail art project called 365 Critters and is currently working on a second book.

Jeff's colorful illustrations tend to focus on animal and natural forms, though occasionally an abstraction or two will slip through.

Norah Blashford has been knitting since childhood. She grew up in northern England and immigrated to the US in her twenties and settled in Pittsburgh. Norah has enjoyed knitting many sweaters and hats for her eight grandchildren. Knitting has been therapeutic and keeps Norah's hands busy. The pleasing color combinations of each hat are approved and or suggested by Norah's husband of almost 60 years, Roy, who greets each new hat with rave reviews.

John the Craftist
John the Craftist - John is actually Thea, a true rustbelt gal who makes Pittsburgh greeting cards out of her century-old apartment in Aspinwall. She believes in the importance of handcraft, correspondence, regional culture, and -- perhaps most of all -- humor. Her cards are printed on paper manufactured by a sixth-generation, hydropowered Midwestern company, and she uses mostly vintage and distressed fonts based on wood type and mid-century modern aesthetics. When she isn’t printing and folding cards, she is most likely behind the counter at Wildcard, ordering a vegan pizza from Spak Brothers, or spoiling her Mom’s three rescue cats.

B's Healing 

B's Healing"In 2010 after the birth of my kiddo, I began a quest to not have to read labels on diaper cream. We chose to cloth diaper and not only did I have to research every ingredient for possible toxicity AS WELL AS cloth diaper safety... well it made my head hurt. I wanted to make something that I knew was safe and effective and works with our body's natural ability to heal itself. Our skin eats what we wear. Let's feed it right!"

B's Healing is now making balms and deodorant, perfect for dry, itchy winter skin.

CAPA Unicorn Boutique - Featuring cards, jewelry, t-shirts and miscellaneous fantastic stuff designed and made by CAPA students and friends. CAPA is Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts 6–12 school.


MakeWan - Electronic Component Jewelry from MakeWan. It explores the unique visual texture of electronic components. Shanning Wan has a web/graphic design background, and is interested in the intersection of traditional craftsmanship, media art and digital fabrication.

South Side Sharps
This unusual grouping will perform music ranging from Renaissance to Ragtime, and will feature some holiday tunes.

What do an artist, a robotics engineer and a music teacher have in common? They live on the same street in a South Side Slopes neighborhood. They share a love of music and the arts. They get together regularly to share a meal and play chamber music. Whether accompanying the liturgy at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Shadyside or delighting their friends and neighbors with dulcet tones, the South Side Sharps are sure to entertain you.

  • Maria Mangano, Clarinet
  • David Rollinson, Euphonium
  • Bruce Lazier, Trombone

Edit 12/11/13 - Trilodeon & Devorah Naturals are no longer able to vend at this CraftFactory Event.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Family Day

November 29th is Family Day at the Mattress Factory! That means from 11am to 4pm we’ve planned fun activities for your whole family to come and enjoy. No extra charge - it’s included with your museum admission. We assure you that these collaborative activities are fun for ALL AGES and each one is related to one of the artists currently on exhibit in the galleries.

Some details on the projects:

Scavenger Hunt

Not sure where to start? Maybe this is your first time at the museum? Try the scavenger hunt first. This interactive activity is a fun way to get kids excited about exploring the museum, and together you can generate thoughtful ideas about the artwork that you see.

Gigantic Kinetic Mobile

Play with silhouettes and light as this large collaborative sculpture comes to light behind a curtain. Inspired by the work of Frank Pahl, an artist featured the current DETROIT: ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE exhibition in the main building.

Tin Can Telephones

Create and decorate your own tin can telephones and transmit your own stories and sounds with your family and friends, also inspired by a featured DETROIT: ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE artist Jessica Frelinghuysen.

Draw Clouds

Contemplate the sky and the outdoors and draw what you see. This project is inspired by Design 99’s solar and wind-powered installation Following the Sun 2 in the DETROIT:ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE exhibition.


Trace of Memory

Add your own web of yarn and weave in your personal trace of memories in a large collaborative yarn installation inspired by Chiharu Shiota’s installation Trace of Memory in the new 516 Sampsonia Way gallery.

Hot Chocolate Bar

There’s a lot of art to see and a lot of projects to do, so we know you’ll need a break at some point in the day. That’s why we made sure to set up a FREE Hot Chocolate Bar with all the fixins. That’s a treat you can really get into.

In addition to the activities in the lobby, we’ll have a lot of extra museum educators and volunteers in the galleries to help make the day fun and educational. Hope to see your entire family there!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 16th ARTLab: Every-Body Draws

What does it mean to be connected to your own body?  How can you use your body in unconventional ways to create art?

November 16th ARTLab: Every-Body Draws is inspired by Janine Antoni’s solo show Within, located in our 1414 Monterey Street galleries.

Antoni's artistic process is rooted in performance and gesture.  She describes her work as an exploration of what it means to be a woman and what it means to have a body.  Antoni’s show is an invitation for us, as the viewer, to connect to our own bodies and explore the interconnectedness of all things.

Janine Antoni, Graft, 2013

The resin objects on the second floor at 1414 Monterey Street were inspired by milagros, folk charms that are used for healing purposes.  In Mexico they are often in the form of tiny metal medallions representing different body parts like a leg, heart, hand, or eyes. In Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, they are often 3-dimensional wax or resin. For Antoni, the “act of making [a milagro] is a kind of prayer, a kind of intention.” Like creating a milagro, the way she approaches her work can be seen as a personal contemplation of her body. A crossed leg over a leg bone is one of the several resin milagro-inspired objects in Graft that contemplates femininity. The gesture of dragging female hip bones across wet plaster is what shaped the crown molding in Crowned as well as the clay vessels representing her artistic mothers in Gertrude, Mary, and Martha. The gesture of cutting a tree in half and piercing the trunk through the ceiling is a gesture connecting the tree--the source of the materials used to construct the building itself--as a metaphor pointing to the interconnectedness of all things to a source, just as we are connected to our flesh, our bones, and to others through the act of birth.

Janine Antoni, Crowned, 2013

In our upcoming ARTLab, visitors will discover that a gesture, a movement, or even an intention can be a process for creating art. In this installation activity, participants will experiment using branches as extensions of their body to move and create a collaborative drawing. Participants will also create their own milagros expressing thanks, making a wish for someone’s wellbeing, or happiness for themselves or others.  We will hang these handmade milagros in the garden when they are completed.

ARTLab is free with museum admission and is open to all ages.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once Upon A Mattress: The Road Trip

James Turrell's 1983 Mattress Factory residency (previously discussed here, here, and here) produced seminal artworks Danaë and Pleiades, which stand as core pieces within the museum's permanent collection.  Moreover, the residency forged a warm and lasting friendship between Turrell and the Mattress Factory Co-Directors, Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk.  This friendship not only served as a catalyst for the numerous collaborations that have occurred over the years between the Mattress Factory and Turrell, but it also illustrates how the Mattress Factory works with artists.  As if with friends, the Mattress Factory aims to share and build a mutually supportive and inspiring environment where art can be created, appreciated, and developed with some smiles, laughter, and a few surprises along the way.

When his residency ended, Turrell agreed to exchange ownership of Pleiades for Barbara's stash of aged black walnut and a giant, motorized 10-foot band saw, which came with a huge motor and a joiner.  To transport all the wood and machinery to Turrell's studio in Arizona, Barbara, Michael and Turrell rented a U-haul truck and the three set off on a cross-country journey.  Barbara recalls that all along the way, after every meal and pit stop, they would race each other back to the truck, each aiming to avoid the dreaded middle seat where one had to straddle the truck's manual stick shift.  They had originally planned to explore little towns along the way in a Jaguar Turrell bought in Connecticut before the trip.  However, the Jaguar dropped all its oil before they left the Mattress Factory, so it was rigged behind the U-haul for the whole ride. 

Michael and Turrell with parade float encountered during road trip

James Turrell with Barbara and Michael after arriving in Arizona

Whether it was the laughs they shared along the road trip or the mutual appreciation they discovered on their first meeting, the Mattress Factory and James Turrell found in each other a natural friend and collaborator.  Turrell enlisted the help of Michael to install his piece Meetingat PS1 in Long Island City and again when Turrell exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 1986. 

In 1994, Turrell returned to the Mattress Factory to exhibit his works Soft Cell and Catso, Red.  A part of Turrell's Perceptual Cells series, Soft Cell is an enclosed, autonomous space with room for only one person at a time. The series explores how perception of space is influenced by light[1]

Exhibition photograph of Soft Cell, 1992 at the Mattress Factory in 1994

Catso, Red, which was designed in 1967 as part of a series of Cross-Corner Projections, was added to the Mattress Factory's permanent collection in 1994.

Exhibition photo of James Turrell's Catso, Red, 1994
Photo by Florian Holtzer

The friendship and collaboration between James Turrell and the Mattress Factory culminated in 2002's James Turrell: Into the Light, a year-long exhibition presenting a variety of newly created and older works re-imagined for the Pittsburgh audience.  We'll hear more about that mega-show in our next posting.