Spicing It Up: Hot Out of the Kiln for November, 2014

 

spicetinsclassshot

 

A few years ago, I tried my hand at a handful of ceramic spice tins.

It was a premature and unfocussed effort.  While those sweet works eventually found homes, in my artist’s heart they were close but not fully realized. They were something I needed to circle round to again.

I could be more patient. I could be more handy with my materials. I could be more.

Happily, just in time for the season of flavors and family, of memories and good smells, may I present my more?Read More >

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Thursday’s Tile: The Not Quite Finished Story of "Piece of Meat"

This is the sort of tile on the Five Senses Bench that probably looks better in a photo than in real life. Shot on the perfect overcast day, the photo provides framing and focus, which also helps us see the lovely juxtaposition of off-primary colors that lie right next to “Piece of Meat.”  (Heck, they might even qualify as off-secondary colors! Oh, and the orange-yellow squiggly things are ceramic Cheetos!)

You can find this uncooked classic T-bone steak tile curving slightly on the left end of the Taste area seat. There is really no image on the whole bench that is as blatantly raw, which was JMC’s impetus for including it. He said that the sashimi was too pretty. He was looking for defiant visual *POW* and maybe even meaty offensiveness. Well, as a Bench Curator who maintained detailed Wanted lists for each sense area, so was I!

He wanted to replicate the bright red Threadless “Piece of Meat” tee he had on. Who says art inspiration can’t be found literally right under your own nose? And whether your message is on your chest or left forever for folks to discover and contemplate, it’s just as valid, no?

As with most of the tiles we all made, we used a source photocopy, laid it over a leatherhard clay slab and traced the image with a slightly dull pencil, physically transferring both the outline and the main lines needed later when decorating. Then the shape was carefully cut out with a sharp blade, keeping it perpendicular to the image surface. No undercuts!

Ever so carefully the still-malleable tile was laid in position on the bench and gently curved to match the topography of its intended location. While in position, it also got traced around with a permanent marker, right onto the bench surface, so others would know that spot was taken! It might be weeks or even months before it was ready to be applied. Sometimes we even wrote the artist or image name in the outlined space so we would know who or what to look for if either seemed to have gone missing. Ah, group art projects!

Well, Mr. “Piece of Meat” stuck around for the duration and was thrilled with his contribution.

He told me not too long ago that he still loves that tile, but that the tee shirt is now too large for him because he’s clearly lost a few steaks’ worth of baby fat. He’d love a meat-tee that fits, but it’s “Out of Print.”

On Threadless.com anyone can vote to have a favorite tee shirt re-printed. With enough votes, they actually do it. Whaddya say we all mysteriously flood the request line and see what happens? “Piece of Meat” the tile will last forever and, with our help, maybe “Piece of Meat” the tee shirt can too.

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Art Reception Food

June is a good month for outdoor arts events and receptions and I have been to plenty of them in only the past few weeks: First Friday in Santa Cruz, The Santa Cruz Art League’s 90th Anniversary weekend, Capitola’s Art at the Beach, and two sponsored by the Pajaro Valley Art Council of Watsonville, both devoted to sculpture: one in the gallery and one of garden sculpture at nearby Sierra Azul Nursery. (And I am honored to be included in both of their exhibits.)

I am not a veteran of the art opening reception circuit, because they were always an acquired skill in my book; one I just had no compelling need for. First off, an artist makes art, and I have been way too distracted by that alone for decades now. And, while I have looked at plenty of art in plenty of cities, visited artists, attended salons and dutifully read my art history and biography books, I kept forgetting to get to the Openings.

What I have learned by steeling myself and actually showing up at these functions (rather than taking the introvert’s way out and being ‘busy’) is they are only very subtly about the Art. HA! I knew it! They are really about people getting slicked up and celebrating themselves. Food, Drink and Music are always involved. The Art attends and then just sits mutely in the corner, avoiding the crush and watching the avocado dip turn black (as Dick Cavett once said he generally did.)

Depending on the venue, the reception food and drink can either be for purchase, totally or partially catered, sponsored by varying donors/advertisers, or even consist of a potluck brought by the artists themselves. Sometimes it is a combination of them.

Well, when I signed up to bring sushi to last Sunday’s mostly-potluck reception, I really intended to bring honest-to-goodness California Rolls. They are not expensive and it’s possible to whip out a huge trayful in no time. But it is so done. So when I Stumbled Upon (and it looks like you’re getting lots of sites to click over to in this post) a blog about a kid’s birthday party where both the activity and the party favors were faux sushi made from Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats (and I probably should add “TM” after that and all the rest of the ingredients) which are then rolled around Pull-n-Peel Twizzlers, Rainbow Twists, Gummi Worms and wrapped in Tropical Tie-Dye Fruit Roll-ups, I was enchanted and immediately changed my offering. It was still “sushi” right?

Be honest, were you fooled by the photo up top? Or did it look a little garishly photoshopped, even though it is not? (And you should see it when it is posterized, highly saturated, extremely hued and contrasted! Positively bilious.)

A platter of Faux Sushi is a sticky sticky sticky affair to manage, but pretty in a Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6 and Yellow 5 sort of way. If you have extra lumps of RKT mix you can make the nigiri with Swedish Fish wrapped to the top, as in the foreground. Not surprisingly, they tasted really sweet, too. One almost needs to wash them down with Fruit Punch, for the full kid’s birthday party effect.

So, how did they go over? I thought they were an artsy party funfood offering, but I don’t really know. I arrived with the early crowd, set them on the dessert table and never went back. I spent more time looking at the art, talking to friends and associates, and moving away from the too-piercing flute of the live jazz band to find out.

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