When I first met Doylestown native Bonnie MacAllister more than two years ago, she was helping me curate an art exhibition in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia for an online publication I was editing. I soon learned that MacAllister knew anyone who mattered in the Philly art scene, and that she’s also a prolific performer, writer and maker.
Since we opened The Tasting Room, her and her husband Victor have been big supporters of our seasonal cafe, and we’re proud to exhibit her talents on one of the Ardmore’s biggest art stages, First Friday Main Line, on Aug. 1 from 5-7:30 p.m. MacAllister will be kicking off her residency here by yarn-bombing areas outside The Tasting Room with her fiber art installation inspired by sustainable living, creative reuse and living vegetable walls called “Weaving is Like Compost: Nothing is Waste.” We’re so excited about the installation because it aligns with JPM Catering’s approach to food and events.
“The colors of the installation are inspired by the vegetable kingdom, soil layers, and the process of composting giving new life through the reuse of what is no longer waste,” she said.
The evening will include a trunk show featuring MacAllister’s works, and she is also bringing Handmade Philly, an independent, member-run collaborative promoting regional artists, crafters and designers, that will feature weaving demonstrations. The public is invited to bring their current fiber projects that they are willing to contribute to decorate Ardmore and leave their creative mark in fiber.
MacAllister, whose work (including the above 3D metal print Tortoishell Lop), will be exhibited and available for purchase inside The Tasting Room throughout August, has begun a residency in Ardmore through First Friday Main Line programming her solo show in Viva Video! The Last Picture Show in June. MacAllister staged a multimedia exhibition fitting the video store where all of her pieces are best visible with 3D glasses, beginning with an interactive First Friday reception. The exhibition featured several embroidery pieces MacAllister made in the fiber lab at NextFab Studios, a coworking gym for innovators as well as works she’d shown previously at Riverside Library at Lincoln Center in New York and the Delaware Art Museum.
In 2013, MacAllister staged a large-scale knit out in Germantown in conjunction with her solo exhibition that was covered by KYW, Newsworks and the Examiner. The community came together to decorate Maplewood Mall, the historic cobblestone area in need of a fuzzy makeover. Youth, seniors, the local library branch’s knitting group all participated.
“Children were teaching me new stitches, seasoned yarn bombers were interacting with seniors who knew traditional knitting, and every demographic was represented. Boys and men were knitting. It was so beautiful to see the community supporting a non-traditional form of site specific sculpture that some compare to graffiti.” MacAllister participated with Yarnbomb Consortium for International Collaborative Work in Manchester and in Glasgow in the Kelvingrove neighborhood (from where her family originates). The group wrapped an entire bridge in blankets with collaborations from around the globe.