Grist Wheel Icon

Join the Conversation with Phillips' Mill ArtTalk

Our popular ArtTalk series features online conversations with artists, curators, playwrights and more. Join us the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. It is, however, best to check the website for scheduling information as dates sometimes change due to artists’ availability

ArtTalk is hosted by Laura Womack, President of the Phillips' Mill Community Association. Laura hosted her own syndicated show in Virginia before joining WAMU in Washington, D.C., where she also contributed to NPR. Laura became involved in the arts while living in Singapore, where she worked as a docent and developed an interest in textiles. Today, Laura is a weaver and Board President of Phillips’ Mill.
Production Team: Jen McHugh, executive producer; and Dennis Riley and Jean Mihich, content producers.

Dennis Riley, Laura Womack, Jean Mihich, and Jen McHugh(Photo credit: Sue Ann Rainey)‍
Dennis Riley, Laura Womack, Jean Mihich, and Jen McHugh
(Photo credit: Sue Ann Rainey)

You can view past shows on the Phillips' Mill YouTube channel, or scroll down to find them right here!

*Please check the website for dates and times, particularly if the Wednesday falls before a holiday.

We at ArtTalk hope to continue to grow and provide our viewers with interesting content. That includes more on-site interviews, studio tours and in person conversations. This growth requires the purchase of audio and recording equipment. Your financial support of ArtTalk can help make this possible. Click on the button below to make a contribution. We appreciate your continued support!

Donate to ArtTalk

A Collection of Past Conversations

November 15, 2023

Kirby Fredendall

Kirby Fredendall paints mood as generated by her experience of the landscape. Her paintings are a visual record of her experience in nature. They are not about how the landscape looks as much as about how the landscape can make one feel. 

Kirby is highly conscious of the section of landscape she chooses, pulling apart elements of the landscape and selectively reconfiguring them. The viewer is gently led away from a directly observed image to one where a balance is struck between the known and the felt. The surface is organized into separate areas where one can then experience the landscape as a vista across a body of water, as the transparency of light and objects seen beneath the water, and the combinations of light and color that play together among all of these views. The viewer can be drawn deep into the visual space or skate along the surface.

One observer said of Kirby’s work, ”It’s almost as if the artist was able to capture that elusive space between the physical landscape and the mental manifestations of being there; she packages up that tenuous space and serves it to us on canvas." Deborah Kostianovsky From InLiquid.

Kirby Fredendall is an award-winning artist who has exhibited widely in the region, including at Phillips’ Mill community Association. She earned a BA from Duke University. She attended Boston University’s British Art & Architecture Program in London (1987), and Duke University’s Renaissance Art & History Program in Florence (1986).

October 18, 2023

Armando Sosa

A person reaches for an apple in a tree. Underneath is a dog. A bird with it’s wings outstretched displays each feather. These can be challenging subjects for any artist who engages with detail. But for a weaver bound by the unrelenting grid of a woven cloth, they are daunting and greedy of time. Master weaver Armando Sosa is committed to surmounting these challenges. So much so that he himself built a complex loom that he researched from his native Guatemala as well as Europe and China.

Now he weaves traditional motifs in his own combinations and colors to express his dreams, his memories, and his aspirations.  The resulting works show the overlapping cultural influences that have inspired his art.

Artist Bio: Armando Sosa was born in rural Salcaja, in the Guatemalan Highlands. The son of a weaver, his job as a young boy he was guarding newly dyed threads drying on the grass of the riverbank from being trampled by cows!  At the age of eight he spun and dyed yarn. At fifteen, he wove shawls and garments on a simple 4-harness loom. At sixteen, he moved to Guatemala City where he first worked with a compound-harness loom. From 1970 until 1980, he exhibited his work in Latin America and the United States. In 1993 Armando moved to the Princeton area where he began to weave again, building a total of 4 large complex looms from memory. Various awards he has received include the title “Artist of Exceptional Ability” from the United States Government. In Jan. 2016, Sosa was named the first Folk Art Master of the State of New Jersey by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

September 20, 2023

Pamela M. Miller

Pamela M. Miller is known for her landscapes with hay rolls, which she wants to capture before they disappear from the Bucks County scene forever. She says her work is dedicated to the simple pleasure of viewing a field, to the work of a farmer’s imprint on the land, and to the long-playing motion picture of the seasons. Her homage is composed in pastel of intense color and the changing light of day.

Pam is this year’s Honored Artist as well as Signature Image artist for the 94th Juried Art Show at Phillips’ Mill. She’s exhibited at Phillips’ Mill Community Association’s annual juried art show many times and received numerous awards. She was part of Phillips’ Mill’s 75th Retrospective Invitational show in 2005 and is included in the book of the exhibition. A local fixture, Pam has exhibited widely including at the Philadelphia Sketch club, Coryell Gallery, and others. She earned her teacher’s certification at Northland College in Wisconsin and taught in public schools for many years. She now gives private classes.

August 23, 2023

Martha Wirkijowski

What if Edward Hopper was a Goth who read manga? Martha Wirkijowski paints nightscapes that Hopper might have painted if he’d had those references. She often depicts buildings at night, from the perspective of an observant outsider. There’s an expectancy to her paintings, an awareness. And like Hopper, Martha has a keen sense of color. But her color goes to eleven. It’s neon. Her website says she paints luminous nightscapes. That’s true, if mild. They glow with phosphorescent green, hot pink, burnt orange and magic hour blue. There’s color in her shadows, color in her whites.

Martha’s subjects are often street scenes, usually Lambertville, NJ. Lambertville’s famous Halloween extravaganza appears in Martha’s oeuvre frequently and fondly. Even when her subject isn’t that spooky holiday her nightscapes have a Gorey-esque quality, with weblike interlacing of tree branches and animated shadows. She has other subjects too, landscapes and cats.

We’ll talk with Martha about her thoroughly modern aesthetic, how she pulls off those neon colors in her nightscapes and about how much manga she does or doesn’t read.

Martha Wirkijowski graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustrations. She’s the creator of two graphic novels, Unlucky Sacred Heart Suburb Book One and Sacred Heart Suburb Book One, She’s exhibited broadly, including at Phillip’s Mill Juried Art Show, in Philadelphia Galleries, Brooklyn, and more.

View more at

July 19, 2023

Mark Sfirri

Baseball bats that branch or crook sideways… tables with legs and “bent knees” that seem to dance… candlesticks apparently made of mismatched wooden discs stacked precariously that risk the security of the flaming torches they’re meant to hold… these are some of the works created by sculptor Mark Sfirri. His wooden turnings have an insouciance that belies the precision that characterizes his work. His pieces are humorous and engaging.

Some of the best art can result from explorations of a very simple concept. Mark Sfirri has fruitfully explored multi-axis wood turning on a lathe. The technique is challenging and requires careful planning and yet Mark’s results appear effortless.

Mark Sfirri has a BFA and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. His work is in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Museum of Arts & Design in NY, Yale University Art Gallery, the LA County Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Musee de Bugey-Valromey, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the Michener Art Museum, among many others. He’s written several articles on Wharton Esherick and lectured and demonstrated on wood turning internationally.

June 21, 2023

Leon Rainbow

As a kid in California during the 80’s Leon Rainbow saw the impact other kids were having as they created a new art form through graffiti. The colors and the movement were cool. He decided that’s what he wanted to do. Now Leon is a resident of Trenton, where he not only is a graffiti artist but also teaches and sometimes juries art.

Leon says his art is a channel for deeper expression. He applies fine art composition and principles to his work which allows him to react and visually educate on social issues and current events. He uses styles that his young audience can relate to and designs his visual media with a powerful spiritual message. Leon believes that his approach allows him to reach a wide variety of people:

“Anyone who looks at my art sees something beautiful – it might just be color, shape or form – or they can tune into the narrative. My goal is to make art that resonates on several levels.”
May 17, 2023

Helena van Emmerik-Finn

Helena van Emmerik-Finn has focused on pastels as her main media for more than forty years, with oil as a second media. She paints light and color and let’s them reveal the landscape or scene in her works. Her emphasis on compositional movement engages the viewer in her subject. She says, “The preliminary drawing process has become very important to me. Once I have established this strong foundation in my work, I intuitively and quickly apply color."

We’ll talk with Helena about her process and why the technical aspects of her art are so important to creating the engaging images in her work. We’ll also explore pastels as a medium, what makes them uniquely challenging and rewarding.

Helena’s family emigrated from Holland a few weeks before she was born and settled in upper Bucks County. She attended the Philadelphia College of Art where she studied graphic design, photography and film-making. Helena is a regular participant in the Phillips’ Mill Juried Art Show. After college, Helena traveled extensively, including back-backing and youth-hostelling through Europe, North Africa and India. She now lives in Doylestown, Bucks County, with her husband, Bob.

April 25, 2023

James Dupree

James Dupree’s work is filled with intense color, lots of hues. It grows out of his personal sense of color. James’s art treads the line between politics, culture, and fine art. What lies beyond the viewer’s initial aesthetic impression, are poignant messages on race and class. As a master of his craft, the intentionality behind his work is supported by the intersection of his expression of color, form, and unparalleled technique. Paired with Dupree’s ardent activism as a stronghold within the Philadelphia community for the last forty years, this artist and agitator carefully impacts all which he touches.

Dupree holds a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design, an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and has attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He has taught at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, University of Pennsylvania, and Crewe and Alsager College in England.

James Dupree owns and operates two Contemporary Fine Art galleries, in Lambertville and Philadelphia. His work is in the collections of Philadelphia Museum of Art,LA African American Museum, The Schomburg Center in NYC, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and Patti LaBelle.


Sign up to receive our monthly Grist newsletter and other updates from the Mill.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.
Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus