Tag Archives: Kathryn Pannepacker


Old Masters Now, PMASaint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1430‑1432. Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish (active Bruges). Oil on vellum on panel, 5 x 5 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

A Guided Tour of Philadelphia in the Year 1430

by DoN Brewer

Party like it’s 1430! Art is a time capsule, and a lens on society, join me on a tour of Philadelphia to experience life like a Burgundian. Philly was a forest but in the year 1430, at the apex of the Late Middle Ages in Europe. In a country called Burgundy that once existed between France and Spain, a region that was a magnet for artists, there was ground-breaking innovation in technology in the arts.

Just like young artists do today, moving to cities, attending great art schools like The University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, seeking to achieve their creative and career goals, artists in 1430 would have become apprentices and joined guilds; the arts in Burgundy were already well established in the royal courts,  King Philip the Good inherited a well oiled arts department including sculpture and painting studios. Jan van Eyck was the duke’s personal friend and confidant, the story of his diplomatic trips to court the Queens of Europe, like a swipe right/left app, to consolidate power and find romance with art is really a trip.

Let us take a look around Philadelphia to find the influences of Burgundian life from the year 1430. In the three paintings I analyzed for A Guided Tour of Philadelphia in the Year 1430, there are architectural elements that resemble buildings we inhabit like Philadelphia City Hall with it’s French Gothic courtyard, grand steeples, turrets and towers of churches along Christian Street, and The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral with glorious stained glass and vaulted ornate ceiling.

Weaving was the major economic force in the cities of Burgundy, trade of wool into textile the fabric of society, which we take for granted now with fast fashion. Weaving is still present in the arts today in Philadelphia, especially social practice artists like Kathryn Pannepacker, Lisa Kelley and Leslie Sudock.

Leslie Sudock is the instructor at Ready to Hand SOARI Philadelphia and she is a master weaver. Through her arts practice she connects Philadelphian empathy, sanctuary, and wealth of knowledge to the community.

“I have introduced SAORI weaving to public school children in the Philadelphia recreation system, to homeless and physically-challenged neighbors in churches, shelters and health facilities, and to the general community through my participation in Arts Street Textiles: handmade with the homeless.  My own excitement at discovering SAORI continues undiminished, and I love enabling others to experience the peace, pleasure and freedom to be found in weaving SAORI-way.” – Leslie Sudock

Kathryn Pannepacker and Lisa Kelley thread the needle of the opioid crisis in Kensington with weaving and textile design classes. As a mural artist, she has used weaving as the central idea and main communicative device to connect concepts of reality to the wider community. Just as master weavers of Burgundy portrayed the economic status of the royal houses to the world, Kathryn Pannepacker and Lisa Kelly, by using weaving and textile, exposes the empathic thread of the economy that is now shredded and how through the economics of creating art stimulates healing in the community.

Kensington Storefront is a new Porch Light community space at 2774 Kensington Avenue, Philadelphia. It’s a place to make art and connect to health resources in your community.

We believe that hands-on art-making provides a pathway for individual and community healing. This new Porch Light space at 2774 Kensington Avenue, Philadelphia, is a place for creating art and connecting to resources to live a better, healthier life.

Porch Light is an initiative of Mural Arts and Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health in partnership with NKCDC, Impact Services Corporationand Prevention Point Philadelphia—along with many other community members and organizations.

— Apply to use the space!

— Strengthening community wellness through public art: https://www.muralarts.org/program/porch-light/
— Southeast by Southeast–another Porchlight project in Philly: https://www.facebook.com/PRMHCSEbySE/

There are many Philadelphia artists comparable to the traditions of arts and painting that we see in the transformative era of the Late Middle Ages. The artist and teacher Katya Held, an accomplished portrait artist who studied with the master Nelson Shanks at Studio Incamminati recently sent me a link to miniature paintings by artist Ludmila BognychevaMiniatures were the main source of communications through illustrated manuscripts and devotional objects and alter pieces in 1430. Being able to communicate an abundance of information distinctly with minimal data is an art that transcends technology from weaving to painting to writing; a correlation can be made between the the technological breakthrough of oil painting on economic growth with the growth of the internet, the world wide web.

Fashion and fine textiles are a part of everyday life now, but some artisans make fibre, jewelry, and design speak in a modern language. In Burgundian times status was announced with wardrobe, today high fashion is available at the consumer level. To differentiate from the masses one must choose wisely to stand out in the crowd. Philadelphia fashion designer Diane Litten creates multi-useful fashions that are transformable, jewelry made with coils and magnets, and stretch wacky hats with fibrous dreads.

In our art tour stop at the Jan van Eyck painting, I mentioned the portrait of Queen Isabella of Portugal‘s style and beauty, fashion and physique, and the spatial illusion in the composition. It was really important that the picture accurately portrayed the Queen, Jan van Eyck lived in Portugal for months to make the portrait; a prototype dating app. It’s not hard to imagine the luxuriousness of the lifestyle in Spain, like Burgundy there were fabulous textiles, furs, lace, the best of everything.

Fine foods Jan van Eyck would have eaten on his grand diplomatic trip are available in Philly, the royal houses were great consumers of meat, imagine the feasts in the high castles by visiting a Brazilian steak house. Roasted meats served on swords, carved at the table connects over space and time through the recipes from the the wedding feast of Philip the Good to Queen Isabella of Portugal, at the change of the decade 1430 in a land called Burgundy.

Music! Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

“Piffaro delights audiences with highly polished recreations of the rustic music of the peasantry and the elegant sounds of the official wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Its ever-expanding instrumentarium includes shawms, dulcians, sackbuts, recorders, krumhorns, bagpipes, lutes, guitars, harps, and a variety of percussion — all careful reconstructions of instruments from the period.”


Link to A Guided Tour of Philadelphia in the Year 1430

Link to Robert Campin, Christ and the Virgin

Link to Jan van Eyck art tour blog post – click here.

Link to Blasco de Grañén art tour blog post – click here.

Link to Old Master Now at Philadelphia Museum of Art press release on DoNArTNeWs

Written by DoN Brewer.

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Orphan Rug

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

August 7th, a beautiful sunny Summer Day, there was a big party at 4930 Parkside Avenue. Rows of chairs were lined up on the carpeted sidewalk in front of Zakian Carpet Cleaning. The Philly press, politicians, artists, neighbors and friends all gathered for an unveiling of an important artwork. The story of the Armenian Orphan Rug is difficult to explain without tears coming to my eyes since it was woven by hundreds of orphaned children; the Armenian Orphan Rug Mural memorializes the genocide of over one million Armenians a century ago.

Zakian Carpet Cleaning owner Bob Zakian hired Kathryn Pannepacker to create a mural for a large expanse of wall on the front of the historic factory. Kathryn is well known for her carpet themed murals throughout Philly and understands how to make large scale projects happen. Philadelphia mural artists Kathryn Pannepacker and Angela Crafton along with apprentice Lizzy Mamourian interpreted the carpet in a bold, eye catching, design complementing the architecture and telling the tragic tale of Armenian annihilation with confidence and sensitivity. Lizzy had never worked on such a big project and as a representative of the Zakian family, her input to the completion of the mural can not be understated.

“Not many businesses have been around since 1923 much less still run by the same family. Each day when Bob Zakian arrives at his rug cleaning plant and showroom on Parkside Avenue, across from the Mann Music Center, he is reminded how his grandfather and then his father took extreme care in cleaning their customers’ valuable Oriental rugs.” – About Zakian Carpet Cleaning

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

“The rug is made to characterize the Garden of Eden, contains 4 million knots and took 18 months to complete.  The rug measures 11.5 feet by 19 feet and is in excellent condition. It was removed with President Coolidge’s personal possessions when he left office in 1929 but was returned to the White House as a gift from his family in 1982. The rug has only been displayed twice since then, and is a reminder of the close relationship between the people of Armenia and the United States.” – The White House

At the mural unveiling I overheard comments from Armenians whose families were affected by the genocide. Families reconnected with cousins of cousins, and friends of friends. The mural is a metaphor for the awful separation of families, children were sent to orphanages all over Europe, and a hundred years later Armenians are still reconnecting with relatives.

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

The Armenian Orphan Rug, also known as the Ghazir Orphans’ Rug, is an Armenian styled carpet woven by orphans of the Armenian Genocide in Ghazir, Lebanon. The carpet took eighteen months to make and was eventually shipped to the United States where it was given to President Calvin Coolidge as a gift in 1925. It was returned by the Coolidge family to the White House in 1982. Its most recent public display was in November 2014 at the White House Visitors’ Center as part of the exhibition “Thank you to the United States: Three Gifts to Presidents in Gratitude for American Generosity Abroad”. – Wikipedia

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn Pannepacker

“Third generation Philadelphia business owner Bob Zakian’s rug cleaning business has been a cornerstone of the Parkside neighborhood of the city for more than 92 years. Zakian’s grandparents opened Zakian Rug Cleaning in 1923 shortly after emigrating from Armenia and surviving the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

In honor of the100th anniversary of the genocide, Bob Zakian knew he wanted to pay tribute to his family’s heritage as well as give back to Parkside, the neighborhood his business has always called home.” – Kathryn Pannepacker

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

Bob Zakian, Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown, Lizzy Mamourian, Kathryn Pannepacker, State Senator Vincent Hughes, and Angela Crafton at the unveiling of Armenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker.

Read Mural honors Armenian heritage, Parkside neighborhood, by The Philadelphia Tribune staff writer Bobbie Booker.

“In honor of the 100th anniversary of the genocide, Zakian knew he wanted to share his history in the neighborhood his business has always called home.” – Bobbi Brooker

Armenian Orphan Rug Mural by Kathryn PannepackerArmenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning by Kathryn Pannepacker

When you drive down Parkside Avenue and you catch a glimpse of the colorful mural take some time to stop and take a closer look. The design incorporates fanciful animals, natural and supernatural, like characters from a child’s favorite book. One of my earliest memories is my Grandma reading to me. Armenian Orphan Rug Mural at Zakian Carpet Cleaning kindly explains the unfathomable gap of maternal and familial love that was experienced by generations of Armenians.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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BAMBOO BIRD SONG, New work by Kathryn Pannepacker

Bamboo Bird Song, New Work by Kathryn Pannepacker

May 6th– June 19th, 2015, The Samuel Lieberman Gallery –  A Partnership with Allens Lane Art CenterSatellite Gallery Director: Diane Connelly, 6128 Germantown Avenue (between Walnut and Washington Lanes) , Philadelphia, PA 19144. Monday through Thursday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Closed Friday. Saturday 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Wheelchair accessible

Please join us for a Settlement Music School Student Recital at 2:00 pm, Followed by a reception and Meet-the-Artist event.  Sunday May 31, 2015 Free Admission.

Bamboo Bird Song, a new series of weavings by textile artist Kathryn Pannepacker.  Kathryn, classically trained in weaving pictorial tapestry, expands the weaving vernacular by incorporating materials from nature in a traditional weaving method.

Inspired by the 2 acres of natural beauty on the grounds of historical Grumblethorpe, John Wister’s Big House, in Germantown, Kathryn brings the loom out of the studio into the environment where she explores and explodes, wrapping, knotting, exposing warp and weft, utilizing bamboo, Catalpa pods, pear branches, leaves and stalks, and stones in combination with yarns, rope, and sisal to create woven pieces that talk about birds, their song, nest building, flight, and a resounding celebration of life. The early morning dawn and evening chorus by the birds hidden in the bamboo and surrounding trees accompanied Kathryn as she worked, guiding the work as it was being created.

Bamboo Bird Song is currently on exhibit at the Settlement Music School Germantown Branch, Samuel Lieberman Gallery – A Partnership with Allens Lane Art Center6128 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19144

Kathryn Pannepacker is a textile/visual artist living in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. She graduated from Penn State University with a major in English and a minor in Art. She apprenticed with 3rd generation French tapestry weaver, Jean Pierre Larochette and his partner, Yael Lurie, a painter and designer for tapestry, in Berkeley, California. Kathryn then went to Aubusson, France to continue weaving as an artist-in-resident. She also had the opportunity to be an artist-in-resident in Hachioji, Japan, through the Japan Foundation.

Though still weaving pictorial tapestry, she also weaves with unusual materials. Through the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, Kathryn was commissioned to paint a 7′ x 500ft wide mural called Wall of Rugs: The Global Language of Textiles at Girard and Belmont Avenues featuring the textiles of 42 countries. Part 2 (another 18 panels) was completed at Broad and Lehigh Streets. As lead artist along with Josh Sarantitis, she orchestrated weaving workshops at homeless shelters around Philadelphia for FINDING HOME, a textile mural project through the Mural Arts Program, at 13th & Ludlow Streets in Philadelphia.

Her most recent painted-to-look-like-knitting & crochet-mural, Nana Blankets, can be seen at Diamond Street between 25th and 26th streets in North Philadelphia.

Kathryn exhibits locally, nationally and internationally, and has work in private and public collections. In the summers of 2010 & 2013, she was in Canada doing an outdoor textile installation for the international textile arts event at Moon Rain Center. She is committed to the transformative power of art in people’s lives and the sustainability of such by involving the community. She was a 2011 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award.

See her featured on the cover/Spring 2009 issue of AMERICAN CRAFT.

Kathryn Pannepacker; kpannepacker@gmail.com; 267-738-0050

Thank you to jill saull, www.GtownRadio.comfor the content of this post.

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