In 1983 my husband and I bought a warehouse/butcher shop on South 2nd Street in Philadelphia: a building two properties wide and the vacant lot next door. Originally built in 1890 for Delaware Ship Supply it is located two blocks from the Delaware River which flows between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. What better place for an artist’s studio? The first floor had one wall filled with bins and shelves so with a couple of islands added, that became the kitchen.
In one corner of the big front room stood a solid oak meat locker which was the bedroom for us vegetarians. And there was a heavy metal meat scale with weights hanging from the ceiling which the kids used as monkey bars.
Up stairs the top two floors had been a rooming house so we spent 2 years gutting it and removing lathe and plaster from the walls to expose rich, red brick. The second floor became my studio.
And the loft above was space for three kids.
The kilns were in the basement which was spacious with stone walls, brick pillars and huge wooden beams.
In the lot next door we made a garden. A door was cut through the south wall and we planted the placenta of my daughter (who was born in the meat locker) under a Japanese Weeping Cherry tree. Local artist Issiah Zagar created a mural on the garden wall.
Most of these photos were taken a couple years ago when I sold the old place. It was seldom so spacious and empty as it appears, the shelves so barren or the floors so clean and shiny. I spent January and February sentimentally discovering treasures and waxing floors then put it on the market and the first couple who saw it, bought it for the asking price.
Many good memories in that home and studio! A good place for creating art and raising children. The last supper of Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup with red wine for the family at home is below.