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Exhibition: Carrie Strine

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We’ve been following Carrie Strine on Instagram for a good few months now, watching her large-scale textile projects evolve and develop over time. She’s a New York-based quilter who specialises in doing everything by hand, which means she has the patience of a saint. She’s also got an exceptional eye for colour and composition, meaning her quilts are nothing like the tawdry swathes of fabric your grandma used to pile up on her bed – these are vibrant, exciting pieces of bold geometric pattern and minute hand-detailing that it’s actually possible to lust after.

The culmination of her past three years of hard work is about to be displayed at Philadelphia’s Art In The Age in a new show called Handwork, and to celebrate the occasion we asked her a few questions about her show, her life and her process.

Quilting is a very traditional discipline, how did you get into it?

While completing my MFA and working on a series of photographic installations, I started a tiny project hand-sewing tiny little pieces of fabric into a pair of pillows. It started out just for fun – I didn’t even have a sewing machine – then it became really clear that there was a relationship between my quilting and the installations I was making in my studio. I used to think quilting was just a little hobby that would keep my mind from getting lazy while away from my “real” work, but it’s just not the case these days. Quilting has become central to my practice.

Is it just quilting that interests you or do you experiment with other crafts too?

I’ve always just been someone who has an aptitude for making things with my hands, and I have the patience for the tedium that sometimes comes with fine craft work. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different things, but mostly textiles have been my jam. I used to be a really wild knitter and spin my own yarn, but I got sick of the connection to garments and fashion.

How long does each one take?

It can vary a lot. I always have one project going that is done completely by hand. My most recent hand-stitched project, the Medallion quilt, took me over three years to stitch and quilt. Most of the time I will machine-piece and hand-quilt, and a bed-sized quilt can take somewhere between six weeks and one year depending on the complexity and my engagement. Projects that always take so long get tiresome though, so there are also quilts that I churn out for some relief in a weekend or two.

Is it a meditative process or do you have to concentrate incredibly hard?

There are periods of concentration when planning certain parts or strategising, but most of the time is very meditative. I will also think for weeks about what my next step will be with a colour or fabric while working on a certain part of the quilt. I really enjoy having the space to work slowly.

Are there themes or ideas running through the work or is it a pure craft?

There are a lot of artists who work with textiles like Louise Bourgeois who actually remove the materials and techniques from their intended function, but I’m actually really interested in the function and tradition of quilts. I think there are a lot of interesting ways to think about how traditional quilt patterns adapt as they’ve been worked by generations of makers, or how the quilt itself has had a variety of roles in the American home. Sometimes I’m interested in how a quilt will wear over time and select materials that will wear in a certain way. I’m definitely striving to make my work something beyond pure craft, but at the end of the day you could say my quilts are just thoughtfully designed. You could say that about a lot of fine craft, but I believe it’s art as soon as the maker starts thoughtfully bringing more complicated formal and contextual concerns into their work.

Talk us through the quilts that are going to be on display in the show

You can see my latest quilt, Steps, which is an interpretation of a traditional Courthouse Steps quilt. It’s a project that’s very much about understanding the interactions of colour, while if you view it from the right distance it really makes the connection between the traditional patterns and digital imaging (more specifically a raster image). I think of the colours in this quilt building up the same way pixels do in a photograph.

Also my Medallion quilt will be on display, which is actually a replica of an English quilt worked in the same pattern from the 1890s. It’s a meditation on quilting by other makers of times and places not my own, and the ways that quilters communicate with their works. You can read a bit more about the project and the other modern quilters inspired by this quilt on my blog.

Tell us about the upcoming show.

Handwork, opens at Art in the Age in Philadelphia, PA this Friday, February 7th and will be on view until March 31st. Its a collection of my newest works, both large scale bed quilts and smaller wall pieces.

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Art in the Age Root, Barq's Rootbeer Can, and Vanilla Ice Cream sets up for a great desert option.  Not only is "Root" a great tasting spirit but it also is USDA certified organic.  |

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Mama always said you should play by the rules. Follow her advice when picking presents for all your special someones.

Love Can Be Messy
That’s a good thing at The Clay Studio’s date night (February 13; $135 per couple). Swayze-loving sweethearts throw pottery on the wheel Ghost style and take breaks for champagne and chocolate.

The Way to His Heart
Personal Gourmet delivers a three-course Valentine’s Day feast ($79-$99) to your door. Choose from decadent options such as bacon-wrapped scallops, lobster tails, and pints of Little Baby’s Ice Cream. To order, call 610-420-4424.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine
No date? No matter. On February 14, Karen Gross’s “Valentine’s Mixtape” show at Puck should make you forget your solo status. Plan a girls’ night out and giggle at her bawdy songs and stories. Tickets ($20 in advance; $25, day of show) at or at the door ($25).

There’s Nothing a Drink Can’t Fix
The W&P cocktail kit ($340) — part of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’s Philadelphia Textile Collection — comes with tumblers, a muddler, and everything else you need to mix a beverage, all nestled in a canvas bag.

Don’t Neglect Your Friends
Best buddy weathering another breakup? Dry her tears with Occasionette’s King of Jeans tea towel ($14). And because your trips to the park have dwindled since you met the One, treat your pooch to a Found My Animal leash ($56) at Roots Inc.

Make Time for Romance
Stop by Art Star Gallery & Boutique for Laura George cards ($4.50) to tuck in his coat pocket. Create mood lighting with Farmhaus votive holders ($20), made of reclaimed from a church in southern New Jersey. When things get frisky, massage on Aromabliss oils ($21-$22); the ayurvedic formulas warm you in all the right places.

You can take it from there.

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Our local distilling comrades at Philadelphia’s Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction know a thing or two about throwing their organic, botanical spirits into fine-tuned cocktails. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’re letting us in on some of their creations’ secrets—all of which are appropriately pouring in vibrant shades of ruby reds and pastel pinks.

Below, drink up their recipes for three easy-as-pie cocktails. They’ve even rallied their good friends of the moonshine-spiked wine, Spodee, to share a sippable how-to as well. We promise you, after one round of concocting and taste-testing, your Valentine will be spouting “I love you.”

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It must be unsettling to wake up one morning and realize you’re an unpatriotic weirdo, whose childhood must have lacked the requisite Happy Days moments, and therefore now finds themselves completely without the wholesome as apple pie gene; all because you despise root beer (and its equally annoying sibling, the root beer float), diners, jukeboxes, and drive-in movies. Well, that just about sums up the deepest, darkest, fears about myself from dreamland last night. Now that that’s off my chest…

The popularity of root beer seems to have eluded me for my first few decades on this planet. With no idea of the American nostalgia tied up in the product, imagine my surprise when I discovered a liqueur called Root. Kin to the Root Tea of yesteryear (of which root beer is the non-alcoholic version), Root is a certified organic, 80 proof spirit that includes some strangely named substances such as birch bark, smoked black tea, and sassafras.


But, I believe in the old adage, “Don’t knock it till you try it”; so I tried Root straight, over ice, and in a couple of cocktails proudly displayed on the Art in the Age website. No dice. Suffice it to say that after all that, I still hate root beer ~ its annoying sibling, the root beer float ~ and it’s not looking so good for my new friend named Root. So, that’s where I need your help.

I pride myself on being able to drink almost anything, and liking it too! So, if you’ve stumbled upon any Root cocktails that you love, send them on over my way? Have you personally created any Root-tails that will absolutely blow my mind? If so, drop them into the comments section below. What, if anything, does Root go well with (e.g., other spirits, herbs, foods, etc.)? Hope to hear from you soon, I’ve got a lot of Root left in the bottle.

Here’s to my very own Root Challenge.


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The 38 Essential Philly Shopping Experiences, Winter 2014

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With almost one full month of 2014 behind us, it's time to update the Racked 38, our list of Philadelphia's most essential stores. It's impossible to sum up Philly's shopping scene, but this is our rough guide—a north-to-southround-up of the places worth browsing, whether you're a tourist or a Philadelphia lifer.

Today, we're making a few minor tweaks to our round-up. The subject of 2013's most shocking store closure, SA VA, has been removed from our list. We're removing Midtown Village's Verde to make room for made-to-measure menswear label Commonwealth Proper, the founders of which unveiled a new retail store/showroom last fall. SEE Eyewear, a fashion eyewear retailer with a new location within Ardmore's Suburban Square, is now part of our 38, as well. Our map is in no particular ranked order; rather, we're taking a look from north to south. (Also see our Indie 38, a listing of the area's 38 best independent boutiques.)

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