Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cups at the Buck House

Cup of the Day #84
Buck House cup by Gwyneth Leech
India ink on white paper cup,  June 9th 2011

Thursday, June 9th. It was a sweltering day. By 8:30 AM sweat ran down my back as I stood on 8th Avenue at 39th street laden with bags and hailing a cab. I tried to cool off with an ice coffee on the trip uptown and across Central Park to Madison Avenue, where we crawled in traffic to 93rd and the front door of Buck House.

I have got this down to an art now. The current version of the cup exhibition travels in a couple of Ikea bags. With quite a number of hands on deck to untangle, arrange, hang and rearrange, it was a two hour proposition to install. Buck House assistant Jean Guy, a few inches taller than I am, made short work of hammering tacks into the ceiling and then we unfurled the cups strings.

The morning light was gorgeous and added a new dimension of vivid shadows on the floor of the window space, giving me ideas for new artwork.


By lunch time the installation was almost set, a striking effect against the white wrought iron doors of Buck House. But there was one thing left to make it perfect: Yes, that is Cheryl sweeping the sidewalk! She can't help herself - she loves to clean.

Buck House laid on a beautiful coffee party in their rear garden featuring Stumptown's finest brew, or some champagne if preferred. And Miguel came up with a lethally innocent cocktail - ice coffee, Bailey's, vodka and a hint of mint. Not to be trifled with. Only regular ice coffee for me, please. I have to draw!

Deborah Buck, owner of Buck house, steps out front to cast a discerning eye over the finished window.

 Finally, in the window and hard at work drawing. 
I have to say, it was nice to be amongst the cups again.

Inside meets outside - summer dresses strolled in from Madison Avenue.  Just a little different from West 38th Street in March where everyone was still bundled up in their winter coats! There, the effect of the window was a surprising contrast of color against the hard gray street. Here, there was a pleasing continuity from the street, through the ornamented cups to the inside of the treasure-filled shop.

The view from the inside. And on this day the window space was a sauna, not a refrigerator.

An impromptu drawing workshop sprang up. "Excuse me Miss, can I draw on that empty cup?" "Can I use that pen?" Good thing I had extra everything, though I wouldn't give up my one bright blue pen. "But I need it!" exclaimed a child. "Not as much as I do", replied my selfish artist.

This time, we hung the cups without lids and let them fill with light. 

And then it was over. A last glimpse inside the Buck House after the doors closed and everyone prepared to go home.

But wait, here come friends delayed by a sudden evening thunderstorm. What is it about the cup installation and the rain? (It rained almost every day while the show was up on 38th Street.) So we lingered outside in the suddenly cool air, under umbrellas once again. I returned the next morning to take the cups down; A cup art hit and run.


  1. I felt like I was there-the story unfolds with beautiful pictures- the shadows of the cups are amazing;...great art and patterns. Congrats,Gwyneth

  2. Fabulous! What a beautiful installation...and blog. Well done, Gwyneth.

  3. Gwyneth, your posts are delightful. They give the flavor of the experience perfectly. Joyce

  4. Just fabulous! Love the shots of setting everything up....the cups just look magical in that window display....and you look so peaceful there drawing away....