Stitching artful embroidery
By Constance Garcia-Barrio
If the colors and patterns in Nancy Lisagor’s embroidered pillows came with sound effects, you might hear popping firecrackers or the wild conclusion of Ravel’s “Bolero” upon seeing them.
Lisagor, 68, creates precise needlepoint designs consisting of upright stitches laid in a mathematical pattern. This method, known as bargello, was developed in Italy and Hungary centuries ago. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence that have a flame stitch pattern. Other classic bargello shapes include diamonds and medallions, but patterns can vary depending on the arrangement of the vertical stitches. Lisagor often gives the shapes a twist and selects hues that almost cry aloud.
Did Betsy Ross really sew the nation’s first flag?
By Dorothy Stanaitis
As mid-June 1943 approached, our teachers at James Rhodes School in West Philadelphia spent hours having us practice the patriotic songs we’d be singing in our annual Flag Day ceremony. We were already familiar with some of the patriotic songs we would be singing, but this year a new song had been added. We had heard the melody before. It was “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” but now we had to learn new words for it.
This new song described the creation of the nation’s first flag and was called “Betsy Ross Lived on Arch Street, Near Second.”
School library volunteer shares her time and knowledge
By Constance Garcia-Barrio
It’s said that every life is a work of art. If that’s true, then serving children of different creeds and colors has helped to make Elayne Blender’s days a brilliant creation.
Blender, 70, volunteers three half-days a week at Mount Airy’s Henry Houston Elementary School, tutoring mostly African-American students in literacy and math and coordinating the school’s 12 other volunteers in the school library.
Find ways to be active, involved during Older Americans Month
For 55 years, Older Americans Month (OAM) has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL’s) Administration on Aging (AoA), this celebration each May offers an opportunity to hear from, support, and celebrate our nation’s elders. This year’s OAM theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved. You are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Artist’s new outlet is making ‘malas’ for meditation
By Linda L. Riley
Tina Pritchard has felt compelled to create beauty, in one form or another, for as long as she can remember. In service of that drive, she has embarked on an eclectic variety of pursuits, from textile arts to baking to gardening, some income-producing, others not. Her most recent undertaking is making malas, strings of prayer beads used in meditation.
Volunteers exemplify Older Americans Month theme
By Marcia Z. Siegal
Older Americans Month, observed during May, highlights the contributions of older people. This year’s theme, “Engage at Any Age,” emphasizes that you are never too old (or too young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways older adults make a difference in our communities, according to the Administration for Community Living, which leads this national, annual observance.
Opportunities for seniors in Philadelphia to remain active abound, including volunteer programs that bring generations together.
PCA’s Celebrate Arts & Aging highlights joys of creativity
By Marcia Z. Siegal
Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s (PCA’s) 16th annual Celebrate Arts & Aging festival takes place during May. “Our goal is to encourage older people to experience the wealth of artistic possibilities our region has to offer and to showcase the outstanding work of senior artists,” PCA President and CEO Holly Lange said. “We also know that staying active and engaged is one of the keys to healthy aging, and the arts specifically have been shown to have a broad range of physical, mental and emotional benefits.”
Veteran volunteer offers volunteering tips
By Barbara Sherf
Longtime volunteer Bob Rossman, who retired as a computer programmer more than 15 years ago, has some tips for those looking to take on volunteer responsibilities. Rossman, 75, who has lived in Northwest Philadelphia for 40 years, enjoys a mix of volunteer activities that includes serving on several boards, as well as working with his hands.