Go Deeper

More Cool Things in Pittsburgh

Posted July 13th, 2009

A good trip home to the steel city includes food, art, and shopping, and I managed a good mix this weekend.

Our first stop was the Society for Contemporary Craft nestled in the historic Strip District market where you can find delicious pierogies, any Italian cheese imaginable, and enough black and gold knickknacks for the next hundred Super Bowls. The craft exhibition on our radar was Beyond Shared Language: Contemporary Art and the Latin American Experience, which brought together the work of 14 artists (working in clay, glass, metal, wood, fiber, and mixed media) who share Latin American heritage. My mother had seen a write-up in the City Paper of a meat sculpture made out of fabric, and we just couldn’t stay away.

Bound (2007) is the handiwork of Tamara Kostianovsky, who writes that her aim is to “confront the viewer with the real and grotesque nature of violence, and offer a context for reflecting on the vulnerability of our physical existence, brutality, poverty, consumption and the voracious needs of the body.” And I thought we were just going to see a giant cloth steak.

On Sunday we headed to the I Made It Market where more than 70 artists sold everything from poster prints to necklaces made from old typewriter keys (get your own at The Market takes place throughout the year at different spots, but this weekend the artists set up shop at the South Side Works, as part of the Exposed festival. Tons of booths featured some sort of recycled material–River Rats Designs for example, cleans up local rivers and turns the junk into jewelry and home accents.

And the Sardine Clothing Company, whose owners made the trip west from Manayunk, patches together strips of old T-shirts to create unique and eco-friendly skirts. The Market is all about things creative and keeping the earth happy. There’s already a branch in Los Angeles, and if the website isn’t lying to me, an in-the-works extension in Philly as well.

I’ll leave you with an image from a sidewalk art contest that unfolded near the Market, our favorite by far: Billy Mays, born in Pittsburgh’s McKees Rocks, immortalized in chalk. At least until it rains.

–Mara Miller