October First Friday

It’s that time again…First Friday in Bethlehem rolled around on a fantastic Friday evening. This week featured various different artists throughout the valley at the shops on 3rd street. Violin prodigy Nyke van Wyk was playing with singer/guitarist Adam Web to deliver some great Jack Johnson-esque sounds in Cleo’s while ginger snaps and a creamsicle drink were being served. A singer and sax player were playing to a crowd gathered on the sidewalk and street outside of Spa Soleil and Dan Minnich opened a new exhibition at Monsoon Gallery that featured some very interesting works created by using hot welded metal.

Home and Planet had a lot going on this week, with DJ Sweetlife spinning beats and a new exhibition opened by  Nathaniel Walker Dubbs. Nathaniel’s medium is glasswork and he had some fantastic works on display in the small gallery at Home and Planet. I got a chance to speak with him a little bit about how he crafts his glass plate silhouettes and the reason why he decided to do a series on the Bethlehem Steel. Dubbs, the studio manager at the GoggleWorks glass studio in Reading, is a native of Bethlehem. He said that this show was his first solo show in his hometown so he decided to do something special. Nathanielson said he has been doing the glass plates for nearly two years and this project took nearly one year to compelete. Now a bit about how they’re made: First the plates are blown using whatever color is going to be the backdrop at the end. The top of it is then covered in black. Nathanielson then cuts out a design that he wants to have as a silhouette (think the blast furnaces, a building, etc.) and lays it over the black glass. He then secures the design and sandblasts the area around it, exposing the colored glass below the black surface while leaving the silhouette in place. It’s a fascinating process and something new to me in the area of glasswork. I highly suggest you stop by Home and Planet and take a look at his items.

Outside of Home and Planet was a very interesting couple with a great story to tell. John Byfield and Kate Hever have embarked on a journey of epic proportions, towing behind them a vintage 1962 Flying Cloud Airstream trailer. Not only is this a beautifully restored piece of Americana, it’s also completely redesigned and solar powered. On their EcoDiscovery tour the duo are stopping at places across the nation that practice sustainable and renewable ethics. After stopping at Home and Planet, John and Kate opened their home-on-wheels to the First Friday crowd to show off their incredible accomplishments. From a composting toilet to solar-powered LED lights, a wool bed, and sustainable bamboo flooring, the shiny trailer was a verifiable green machine. It took approximately 7 months to restore the trailer to its current state after they purchased it and they have done an absolutely fantastic job. The Flying Cloud project is definitely an interesting one and worth checking out if it is ever in the area again.

That pretty much wraps up my First Friday. Not long after I headed over to the Bethlehem Brew Works to hang out with some of the Lehigh Twitter Crew and pals. I love the Steelgaarden Lounge downstairs, but going from Gwen Stefani to The Cars to Rage Against the Machine to The Buggles, they really need to hire someone to spin tunes. Until next month!







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