Monday, August 9, 2010

Day trip to Material Culture

Can you say "home decor cultural orgasm?" because that is EXACTLY what this place is! Nic, baby Asa, and I were greeted at the entrance by a chatty and friendly woman named Kathy who was soooo chatty and friendly that it took me a while to realize that she wasn't a customer but an employee instead. The crew and I stood around marveling at the foreign architectural structures of many sizes along the front of the building, perfect for the yards in our one-day-realized-dream villas.
Nic had been to Material Culture several times before but I had no way to prepare myself for this place. Once inside, I felt instantly transported to a fantasy. As a person who LOVES all things eastern: African, Asian, Moroccan, Indian, Turkish, etc. as well as, all things handcrafted and made of natural fibers, raw & colorful---I was eating it all up. I needed to see every corner of this "60,000 square foot kaleidoscope" of inspiration. Carpets, baskets, furniture, pottery, masks, lighting, and so much more...all made my hand. The lack of technology and the understanding that the workmanship of these skilled trades may date back to antiquity forced me to instantly become present: totally and humbly aware of where I stand in the continuum of life and respectful of my own skills as a leathercrafter.
Turkish monks work behind the scenes keeping the place clean and orderly. We were kindly guided by an employee who is also a Professor at Moore College of Art. Nic and I were totally blown away by the ancient collection of doors, some made for the elephant entrance of homes in Indian (can you imagine that? whoa!). The Japanese beds, Moroccan lanterns, West African basket collection and a table carved from one big tree all totally excited me.
Enjoy the photos but do yourself the favor of checking out this place in person.

Material Culture
4700 Wissahickon Avenue
Philly, PA 215 849-8030

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