Chapman court and plaza

On the tour of KTown, it was fun seeing old historic buildings.  1929 wasn’t all about Art Deco, another style that was still being built was Spanish Revival, with a touch of Churrigueresque. Yes, that is a tongue-twisting word that means a facade encrusted with design details.These two buildings are going through some renovation. Both are named for their developers – The Chapman Brothers, same ones that donated enough money to a small Christian college in Orange – so it was named after them.The plaza was a first of it’s kind, all the stores face inward to a large parking lot. Good old LA, drive your car in, shop for groceries and then drive out again. The first Korean BBQ that attracted the general population of LA was here. Today the whole complex is restaurants and bars – and is very successful.Across the street is Chapman Court, retail on the ground floor, apartments on the second. In some cases, the apartments were connected to a large studio – for a business or an artist studio. The tower was it’s own apartment, with tenants who only left a few years ago.A local resident of Ktown walking by. The facade is made to look like stone, along with that heavy decoration – Churrigueresque.The main arcade opened onto stores and went back to an open courtyard. The plasterwork is original, not sure about the paint, but it certainly fits in with the feel of the building.Wonderful castiron design. The new style of Art Deco (or Moderne as it was called then) was all the rage. A new style doesn’t take over right away, many designers are still work in the old familiar styles.Look at this metal work, so different from what we saw at the Wiltern.An original storefront cut up into smaller rooms for Bank of America. Once again, even though they created drywall partitions, look at the care taken to cut around the column and the crown molding.For almost 30 years the building was owned by one man, he lived in one of the apartments, where he paneled the whole place in wood. Although the library is full of law books it’s not clear he was a lawyer. Maybe he just chose law books, because they look good.Another element that probably predated the paneling – an interior Juliet balcony.The view from the tower apartment. This is iconic Los Angeles, palm trees as far as the eye can see.

 

 

Leah

The Wiltern

Twice a year the LA Conservancy has a full day special tour. This time it was over three days and it was in Ktown, otherwise known as Korea Town.

Our first stop was at the Wiltern Theater. I have been there years ago, this is a gem worth visiting. Our day started with a panel, with Wayne Ratkovitz, The Developer who set out in the 1970’s to save many of our Architectural gems.  This is one of his big saves.  We also heard from a professor and City Councilmember David Ryu about how this area became Ktown. The LA riots, 25 years ago had a lot to do with bringing the community together. Up until then, the Korean community was another invisible hard-working group of immigrants. They suffered terrible losses during the riots, and I’m sure vowed – never again. It also made the community aware that they need to become American, part of our local fabric and they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Probably to the point that some older Koreans wish their kids were less American and more Korean.Here is a great example of the success of both Ktown and the Wiltern, these aren’t homeless people, these are kids who camped out overnight to be first in line for a concert. These days most of the events at the Wiltern are aimed at a very young crowd. To my mind this is wonderful, it means that when these kids get older and discover that conservation is a good thing, their fond memories of the Wiltern will make them advocates for maintaining this beautiful building.  This building is an example of the height of Art Deco in Los Angeles. Initially, the theater was a movie theater, with retail on both sides and offices in the tower. It never did well as a movie theater, there was competition from a much larger theater down the street. As a live performance location, it has fared much better. The interior is amazing, so much plaster Art Deco elements all over. On the pillars, along the ceiling. Even on the ceiling.Inside the theater is this wonderful sunburst. Most of these elements were in such bad shape when Wayne bought the building that they needed a lot of repair work. The sunburst used to have 9 rays, now it has 7.Take a close look, each ray is a representation of an Art Deco skyscraper. This is how people imagined Wilshire Blvd would look like, except the depression happened and building stalled.All of the light fixtures were gone, Wayne went searching and paid a lot of money to find this original and put it back in its rightful place.Not easy to photograph a light in a dark room. Love the details on the frosted glass. Inside the theater are more lamps, some were bought back from antique shops, but that became very expensive so many are reproductions.More examples of the wall decorations.Tile was very important in the 1920’s-30’s. The whole exterior is different shades of Turquoise glazed terracotta.  Inside we have a number of these drinking fountains.The railings!  That wonderful industrial aspect that Art Deco has!

Thank you, Wayne Ratkovitz for saving this gem and thank you to everyone who has kept this place alive and very very viable.

 

 

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Leah

Sunland Tujunga Open Studios

It was a busy weekend, The Brewery artwalk on Saturday, then up to the far northeastern reaches of the city of Los Angeles on Sunday. For those not in southern CA, Tujunga is pronounced Ta-Hung ah. Yup, Spanish J.

These two communities are beyond the Verdugo Hills in the Crescenta Valley. An Area that would make for a nice suburb, but in the 1930’s decided to become a part of the city of Los Angeles. It has a rural rustic feel, partially because it is far removed from the rest of the city.  McGroarty Arts Center was the home of John McGroarty, journalist, statesman. Notice how local rock was used in the construction, La Crescenta Valley is very rocky, so the rocks were put to good use. Olive tree orchards were planted here because these trees can thrive in rocky Mediterranean soil.His library is used as a little museum, there is a caregiver living in part of the house, most of it is used for classes and performances.The view from the house. Beyond these hills lie Glendale, Burbank, and the San Fernando Valley, and yet, this area is very secluded.

The art was OK, I think I missed some of the best artists, this event had 40  artists in 17 locations. This is the second year this event was held, I hope it continues to grow and thrive. In this post, I’m going to concentrate on architecture rather than art.Down where I was standing is a studio made out of a shipping container, I looked up at the house and knew this is special. Sure enough, the artist/owner confirmed, this is an original Pierre Koenig Mid-Century modern. They bought the house from the original owner. She had seen an interesting house in Glendale, back in the 50’s and knocked on the door. She had $5000 dollars to build a house. Turns out the house was owned by Architect Pierre Koenig himself, so he built the home for her.Steel, a lot of glass, look what $5000 dollars could build 60 years ago!The original owner is still alive in her 90s. The new owners had a lot of deferred maintenance to do, which they did beautifully. I think I saw this house being advertised 3 years ago. I also saw comments from people who love the style but would ‘never’ move out to the boonies for this gem. The price was no longer $5000, it was probably $350,000, that is still a steal for an original Pierre Koenig home. The present owners are very well aware of their good fortune.

As I was driving to another studio, I had to slam on the brakes find a parking spot and get out to photograph another house.A Storybook house!!!  These fairytale houses were built in the 1920’s-30’s in Los Angeles. There are a number of famous ones in Beverly Hill, the Hollywood Hills, and even Culver City. When researching this one, I found one mention on someone else’s blog, no mention of this one in the ‘big’ articles I found online.The details!! I could have taken so many more pictures. One of these days I may go back just to look for hidden gems. Look at the craftsmanship! The combination of brick and stone, the interesting bricks on the walkway as well as how they are patterned. I just listened to a podcast where Clare Graham was talking about craft versus art. This time he was extolling craft over art! A man after my own heart! I would love to see more of this home, maybe from the inside.

My last stop includes some art, well if a sculpture garden based on world religions is art.This is the wonderful thing about being off the beaten path, you can get away with being eccentric. Unfortunately for me, the owner wasn’t there, so I just wandered, looked and took pictures. Wendy Aft creates all of these from found objects. Clearly, she is influenced by Eastern Philosophies. The Taj Mahal.Thai Nagas, made like they would be in Thailand, out of glass tesserae.Some native American influence.A gay Jesus? Surrounded by Chinese inspired dragon and art.

There was more, I’m limiting the pictures, this post is quite long as it is. I hope not to wait until next October to go back and explore. The artists themselves were really nice, this was supposed to be about art studios, but I got sidetracked.

 

 

Leah

Fuller Theological Seminary

I was heading to Pasadena to see some artwork at PMCA, one of those small museums that offer very good exhibits. I parked a few blocks away and made my way to Union st. My shortcut took me here:Pasadena is a fascinating little city. Most people think of this as a nice suburb of Los Angeles, but it has so much happening here. The city is beautiful, it is full of interesting buildings and institutions. The Norton Simon Museum, the Rose Bowl, a myriad of churches, and the best example of Craftsman homes around.

It is the home of Caltech, Art Center and The Fuller Theological Seminary? What is that you ask? I had heard of it, religious seminary schools aren’t a hot ticket item, but they do exist. So why not one right here in the middle of Pasadena? These wonderful buildings are about 70 years old. They all house classrooms, not dorms. Charles E. Fuller was a radio evangelist back in the 1940’s when radio evangelism was the rage. He went further and 70 years ago established this school. In the middle of the campus stands the Women’s club, it was built in 1945, so the rest of the university grew around it.It looks like the members know how to enjoy an afternoon on the balcony.The Seminary is keeping up with the times, they have added newer buildings as well as campuses around the West.  As small as this campus is, there were plenty of students and faculty walking around.I came across this, now this is a very interesting sculpture. How often do you see artwork that depicts the actual nailing of Jesus to the cross?I have to admire the artist, what a realistic scene. Not that art has to be realistic, but it certainly is effective here.OUCH! That is painful to see even in art, clearly, I’m not the only one who has stopped here.Are these flowers ironic? or is someone appreciating the pain and sacrifice?Right next door is a small quiet little chapel. With an interesting stained glass cross built into the corner.And what I guess is a meditation corner. A pit full of pebbles that people can come in and create messages with. Like a heart, peace, and Jesus. So someone is coming in here.

So there it is another exploration right here at home, it’s what makes each day interesting.

Leah

Animals

There are animals all around us, live ones, of course, but also on quilts or in garden sculptures.  A few more quilted ones. A chicken as garden art. A sheep on a quilt.A turtle…… and a frog.Here is my own frog on the front porch.Birds, maybe they are ducks?I, of course, have owls around the yard.Dogs heads on the Mulholland Dam at Lake Hollywood.A dog sculpture doing what dogs do outside a veterinary clinic.

Needless to say, these aren’t the live ones, they are all around us as well.

Leah

Back to a Stairway walk

I think it’s been almost two years since I joined Charles Fleming on one of his secret stairway walks.This was a level 4 walk, only two miles, but it included almost 700 stairs, most of them going up. Really, on the downhill, we were on steep streets, uphill was on the stairs. We were a large group, somehow I managed to get a photo before anyway started up on these.We walked by Neutra’s home and office. He is one of the fathers of midcentury architecture. The neighborhood of Silverlake is home to many midcentury homes, as well a much much older ones.I don’t know what this is called, all I know is that it’s old and no one builds houses that look like this anymore.Across the hill and across the reservoir is this Lautner home, Silvertop.

If you follow the link, it’s in the real estate section of the LA Times from a few years ago. Charles admitted that he used to be able to play tennis on their courts until this sale went through.This is an interesting perspective of the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory. In reality, the Observatory is east of the sign, but from this angle, it looks the opposite.Here we are, starting up the Loma Vista Stairs. Quite long with many interesting homes to see.I guess it’s been a while since Charles climbed these stairs, this painted wall was new to him. And yes, quiltspiration! I love that I stumped spell check with this world – a combination of quilt and inspiration and no, I didn’t invent it, I’m just using it, in hopes that one day, everyone will know what a quiltspiration is.Across the way was this house with artwork from A to Z. The fall decorations are coming out!Some people still like kitsch, I counted 5 or 6 teapots on the fence of this house.There were a lot of us, I’m not good at estimating crowds, but I’d say at least 50 people if not more.Which caused local residents to turn as watch us go by.This initiative and signs are new to me. I do think that Charles deserves a lot of credit for bringing these stairs to the publics’ awareness.It’s always good to catch a glimpse of downtown LA.And the beautiful refurbished Silverlake reservoir. Oh, and as we were climbing one set of stairs, we bumped into a couple coming the opposite way, with Charles book in hand. They didn’t want to turn around and join us, but Charles directed them to his FB page, to find info on future group walks

I must say, most of the walkers seemed to be new, I heard many mentions that this is the first walk people have taken with Charles. Pretty impressive, he wrote a book ten years ago, not thinking it would gain any traction, and yet it has, it really really has.

Leah

First project I made on my Featherweight.

I was itching to sew on my new/old sewing machine.  Last year I saw pictures from Houston Quilt Market, one of them was an adorable cat made by Funky Fiber Factory. I found the pattern in a quilt store in Las Vegas. I was so anxious to start, I made some mistakes sewing the head together. Luckily I was able to remove the ears and recut some of the face pieces.Still awkward looking, but this is correct.Interesting construction on this one. I had to read the instructions very carefully. Some things weren’t clear, but reading slowly, really stopping and paying attention, paid off. So how was it working on the Featherweight? Interesting. Irene had told me that there is no reverse. I guess by 1948 they included a reverse stitch, I found this out by accident, very lucky accident.

Like any new tool, I need more practice, most of the seams I was sewing are curved seams. I had to rip out quite a few and resew them. Every machine has its own temperament. All in all, I think this is a wonderful little machine, we just need to get better acquainted. Here he is, all sewn together, just waiting to be stuffed. Then it was time for pictures, I decided to combine a Sunday walk with pictures of the cat.After a horrible heat wave with a massive local fire, we had cool overcast weather on Sunday. So off to Lake Hollywood, we went.  Yes, I got smiles and interesting looks, kitty didn’t stay put in the bag.He came out to walk himself.To lord it over all those dogs that aren’t allowed here.To climb on pipes. He had to stop on the walkway on the Mulholland Dam, everyone needs to pose with the Hollywood sign in the background. A father and son stopped to admire him, I told them he already has a special home to go to. You got it, he is going to my fifth grandchild. Here he is looking down, lording it over the dogs.So I guess certain dogs are allowed here after all.Posing with Smokey. Very good advice indeed! Especially since the Hills on the valley side are one fire.

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Leah

Local festival

In the morning I had a baby shower at my house for a dear friend’s daughter. This will be her first grandchild. Sorry, not many pictures, but I can assure you, a great time was had by all.

Then in the afternoon, I went to a community festival.I really love how neighborhoods are doing these kinds of things, I also love dancing kids. Oh and that long shadow? That is me, the days are getting shorter, the shadows are getting longer.This location is where the farmers market takes place every Sunday. So the merchants are used to the crowds, many of them simply put some of their wares out in front. The police and fire department were there, I gravitated towards the beautiful classic cars.Even this one, which has deliberately been left in it’s arrested decay state.Some people love to show off their engines. Others are showcasing pickup trucks in colors that didn’t exist when they were made. Who can resist a deep purple truck?The crafts people were all small and local. Macrame has made a comeback.What a creative way to build a display.No, the sewing machine wasn’t for sale. The lovely woman was selling handmade belts and pouches. Her dad owns a repair shop, so he has many old machines, and this one is the one she uses. Darn, why didn’t I get his name???Rope baskets are becoming a thing at craft fairs. All of my friends have made at least one of these.

Now these are dream catchers.Mexican beading and yarn art.The prices were very reasonable. As much as I love supporting other crafters, if it’s not something I really love, I won’t be buying. I do hope that this was the first of many such events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leah

Palos Verdes

The Santa Monica bay is very large. At one point that is where people wanted to build the port. Good thing they didn’t for two reasons, it’s actually not deep enough and now it is simply a beautiful bay. Sorry San Pedro and Wilmington, you ended up with the big industrial port.On Sunday we were invited to a birthday brunch at the Terranea resort. This is the old location of Marineland – a precurser to the many Sea Worlds out there. Although Marineland closed down in 1987, this resort wasn’t completed until 2009. Which leads me to think that these tiles were made deliberately to look old and worn. Knowing what I know about tiles, that wasn’t a good choice, it simply makes them look cheap. Since this style of tile would have been with the different colors of clay running through, at least a couple of millimeters. Oh well, how many people really look down at the floor they are walking on?Or look into a golf cart to see a Harris Hawk, hood on and all waiting to do his job.If it weren’t for his handler, I wouldn’t have known the breed. But he is there for bird abatement. He will fly over many parts of the resort, keeping the and sea gulls away – just with his presence. I did see the handler pull out a dead bird from the cooler and tear off a chunk. Even hawks don’t work for free. He needs to eat and be rewarded. No pictures of that, some people get very squeamish about real nature at work.Brunch was lovely, afterward, we changed into walking clothes and shoes and just started walking around. Palos Verdes is on cliffs high above the ocean, there are very few places that actually have a beach. Because of the different directions of wind and such in the bay, Santa Monica and Venice have very wide expanses of sand, Palos Verdes, at the southern tip, has none.

I am no geologist, but this cliff has fascinating stories to tell, of how it was created and now how it is being worn away.One thing PV has that most of LA doesn’t have, is this marine layer. On a hot July day, the clouds are hanging low in the sky. The piling is one of the few left from the Marineland days. We walked on, away from the resort and along the bluffs, enjoying the views.Even looking back down on Terranea.My love of Light houses was rewarded. Even if I don’t go in, seeing a light house up on a cliff makes me happy. This is Point Vicente Light house, that operated from 1926 until 1939. Today all the duties of a light house are done electronically, so they are historic relics of what boats had to contend with in the past. I still love them and hope that they are kept in good condition for visitors to see.This one still has the Fresnel lens, which was very powerful at the time it was installed, it could be seen 20 miles out to seeunless the fog got too thick and then the fog horn would blow.Today the danger is from the land much more than the sea. I love how the sign says: Don’t even think about it! Sadly, every few years, either accidents or stupidity happens and someone gets killed falling down these cliffs to the rocky beach below. Not far from this sign there was one of those shrines, candles and plastic flowers. No name but the relatives of the deceased must still come by.

One last look at the light house and back to our car we went.

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Leah

Judson Glass studio

What alerted me to the South Pasadena Art Walk was a post on the Judson Studio FB page. I love this 130 year old family owned company. I especially love the fact that they continue to develop and grow. They recently took on a major project, a massive Stain Glass wall in a Church in Leawood Kansas. Here is a short video of part of the process. Throughout the years of this project they shared photos and videos on their FB page, worth going back and taking a look.

Because of this project they needed more space, which they found in walking distance from their century old headquarters.Leaded glass as door decoration.The Leawood church forced them into a whole new way of creating stained  glass. Working with an expert they moved into the realm of fusing glass, not just painting. This allows for a whole new world of color and vibrancy.This piece does not need the separation of the lead, but combining the old techniques with the new is part of what Judson is doing today.

They get all kinds of commissions, from private homes, Churches, large public installations. They are often called in to repair old stained glass. The lead gets very weak after 100 years. What is fun is that they have gone back to repair work they had originally installed.

A project they are working on now, for a monastery in Wyoming. The monks are building it all by themselves. They sustain themselves with a beer brewery and a distillery, in Europe it used to be wine, so why not update the spirits here.This is 100% traditional stained glass technique. Each piece of glass will be separated by lead, first,they draw in the shading with gray or black,  they paint in the colors. In some cases, the glass is colored glass upon which they paint in the shading.Not only are the techniques very old, the subject matter is very traditional. When completed this will be transported to Wyoming and from that point on, only monks in the monestary will be able to enjoy this beauty.They had a full scale cartoon on the wall, this is a large commision. One piece is already complete and was hanging in their window.

On the second Thursday of every month they lead a tour of both facilities. I can’t make it in August but most certainly will be going in September. So look forward to an even longer disertation about glass and this wonderful family run business here in Los Angeles.

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Leah