The sculptural culinary tools of Sweet Gum can bring a whole other sensory experience to the enjoyment of preparing and eating food, especially if you appreciate the workmanship and beauty of the tool you are using.
I recently discovered Sweet Gum, handmade, sculptural spoons and culinary tools for your kitchen by Joseph Huebscher, a talented woodworker in Tennessee. His artistic pieces marry form and function beautifully.
Photos via Sweet Gum
Sweet Gum has been featured in Food & Wine, Harvest & Honey, Spoonful among others. Here’s a wonderful Vimeo video, explaining his creative process, emphasizing how the different grains of the wood become the unique artistic marker of each piece.
Be sure to review Joseph’s Instagram for more inspirational spoons and handcrafted culinary tools by Sweet Gum.
Sweet Gum brings back memories of stepping on those spikey balls that covered my yard while growing up in New Orleans. I cursed them then but I appreciate what can be done with them now through science and woodworking. Who knew it had medicinal properties and it contributes to Tamiflu along with the star anise?! “The only edible part of the tree is the dried sap which makes a fragrant, bitter chewing gum. Despite its name the gum is not sweet,” as explained on Eat the Weeds. But, its wood can be used too.
Sweet Gum balls via Eat the Weeds
Here’s another interesting video about unusual culinary tools. Although this apple peeler is purely practical in nature and lacks the stylistic refinement of the previous pieces, it can make the endeavor of peeling an apple truly magical and very “appealing” indeed.
This is a short post and the only one, as it turns out, for the month of June, as I’ll pick up with more cultural and culinary delights when I come back online in July.
Do you have a stocked wood pile? If so, then you have an opportunity for artistry.
Just look at these examples of another use for the wood pile this winter and how art is everywhere.
From where the wood comes takes on a visual meaning with this fallen tree.
Perhaps this layout suggests the wood pile can be moved?
Or let it move itself.
Animals seem to be popular particularly owls.
This one changes with snow and look who’s peeking out.
Coming across this wild boar wood pile art might scare you while walking in the woods but it’s one of my favorites.
Intricate human portraits can also be created with multiple types and colored wood.
Or add color for a bold abstract impact that can be helpful in guiding your path.
This take a little extra digging but could be a good workout in the new year.
Wood piles don’t always have to be linear or laid straight in one plane, as seen in this spiral construction.
They can even be a sphere, which is very unusual. I just wonder what would happen if you took one log out for the fire? 😉
Speaking of a fire. This next wood pile reminds me of an oven. It uses a traditional stacked construction with the stair supports to help frame. The creative layout comes with 2 layers and a lot of wood that will keep you warm in the winter, hence the oven concept perhaps?
Finally, this hut construction is truly artistic and more for execution than for practical use — unless, the huts can be shelters. However, I rather suspect they may have been made by Patrick Dougherty, who fashions large sculptures out of twigs and natural objects.
However you stack your wood pile, just know it doesn’t have to be boring and you can have fun while doing the chore.
It was a family affair with our older son and his wife joining us at the Kennedy Center matinée. We had front row seats in the third tier with these gorgeous starburst cluster-chandeliers above us.
I had read the book by Mark Haddon and loved it. They were unfamiliar with the story line and it was interesting to see their heartfelt reaction for the first time. Libby teaches public high school students, so I thought she might appreciate the challenges for this teenager in the play.
It was one of the most active and physical plays I’ve seen going from a somber moment to a super-energized cacophony. The book fully captivated me and the play even more so because it added the visual and auditory layer that the book couldn’t fully generate, except in your imagination.
Both the book and the play put you in Christopher Boone, the 15 year old protagonist’s head, as if you were the one who was experiencing what it is like to have Aspergers first hand. It is a dichotomy in that he is brilliant but unable to manage social situations easily. Everyday hectic living can present crippling sensory overload for him.
Christopher sets out to solve the mystery of the death of his neighbor’s dog, who he discovers is killed on the front lawn with a pitchfork. The adventure leads to revelations that even “normal” teens, much less adults, would be shocked to their core to learn. Because Christopher has Aspergers, a milder functioning form of autism, he takes everything at face value and in some ways is able to deal with the truth better than most.
Just like when I read the book, I found myself getting uncontrolably emotional because you can’t help but be moved by Christopher’s accomplishments.
The entire set was a digital sight and sound box that was brilliantly used and constantly changing. I can’t really describe it more than let this video speak for itself — and even it doesn’t do the play justice. If you have the chance while it is on tour, it’s just something to see!
We sat at the table closest to the center dark wall
Their special cocktails: a Negroni in back (without Campari) + Rimini in front with 2 different amaros, cachaca and pineapple. Both are excellent!
Views of CityCenter below.
Side note: Although there is so much, actually endless topics to write about, this blog may be posted 2 times a week after this post, due to the time involved to write, which I don’t have as much as I used to with other things taking some priority. Plus, I welcome reducing some of the load.
For instance, if cleaning clutter and starting with fresh palette in your home is an objective, then find ways to use old things, like using old catalogs to make decorative Christmas trees that you can give as gifts for next year. Check off list early — Christmas gifts for next year are already done and catalogs gone. Cheers!
You can also recycle using Freecycle, where one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Post what you don’t want, leave it outside your house and chances are, someone will answer the call and pick up as theirs to claim.
This post is appropriate with this spooky weekend ahead, with Halloween and things are not as they seem.
I learned of Jennifer Angus’ work from a recent Washington Post article. She is a Madison, Wisconsin based artist, whose work will be exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in DC and will adorn their walls with bugs, that’s right, bugs!!
I’d say this is a case of intellectual + insect = ” insectual ” design!
Jennifer Angus’ Wonder Bug Covered Wall at the Renwick Gallery, images via Dezeen Magazine
Her work is truly fascinating! She based her buggy design on wallpaper!! Her insect use was inspired by her ongoing use of arthropods in her artwork and Victorian pattern, inherent in her teaching at the University of Wisconsin. The insects she uses in this installation are all different colors, shapes, sizes with many iridescent, shimmering shapes. They come together carefully placed on a beautifully, pink-colorwashed backdrop to form an overall design scheme, which is viewed as one succinct visual to the onlooker. The impression is similar to what one might have when walking into someone’s home for the first time and being awe-struck by their room’s ambiance and décor. It’s only after one views more closely that the individual design objects are bugs. As she states, “Many people who visit my exhibitions were never aware that such unusual insects exist.” She describes the purpose and her ethical use of real insects in her work on her website.
Angus’ work is entitled The Midnight Garden and is just one gallery that is a part of the Renwick’s Wonder exhibition, which features 8 other artists who, “transform perception, and work on the border between art and craft,” as stated on Dezeen magazine, where you can also see other bug-related articles. (You can see related posts on this blog on Janet Echelman and Patrick Dougherty, just a few of the artists featured, whom I’ve been inspired by for quite some time.)
While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results. (via Renwick Gallery)
Nicholas R. Bell, the curator for the show, so eloquently explains this exhibition’s significance in this statement on Dezeen magazine, “The concept of ‘wonder’ – that moment of awe in the face of something new and unknown that transports us out of the everyday – is deeply intertwined with how we experience art…These elements matter in the context of this museum, devoted for more than four decades to the skilled working of materials in extraordinary ways.“
The exhibition will be on view for 3 months but I’m so excited to see it and hope to make the opening on November 13. It is truly going to be “wonderful!”
I’ve written about bug / insect art previously with these posts:
I ran across this video below about Jake Weidmann and his Master Penmanship, which is beyond just writing. His calligraphy, illustration, artwork and control over the pen just blew me away. I know how easy it is to mess up. He does to, Considering the detail involved in his work, it’s hard to imagine how many times he might have to start over to have a perfect version. I gave up perfection a long time ago but certainly can appreciate it as well as some human flaws that might add character.
I wasn’t familiar with his work but he wields a mighty pen.
He’s passionate about maintaining the human touch to art. The physical activity of putting pen to paper is strong enough to link the brain with intelligence, communication and engagement and learning beyond what just modern email or phone call, for that matter, can do.
Handwriting as we know it is inspired by Nature and how we interpret it. Writing for him is drawing and an artistic form of expression.
His art form calls for the necessity of making sure every human knows how to physically draw a letter onto paper. Bringing back the art form of writing letters is more than just nostalgic, it is a serious, time-labored endeavor with significant long-term meaning.
For instance would the Constitution have the same significance if it was an email?
In an age when we’re all moving to be more cloud based, which I certainly follow suit for convenience and backups, I also realize that “Digitality” loses permanence! Hard copy lasts, even if it does take up physical space. There is something “noteworthy” in the physical “indelibility” and maintaining a sense of dynamic culture through handwriting.
Weidmann is a true Renaissance man, not only mastering the pen but carving, creating them, building and carving a frame for his Master Penman certificate, that he wrote, illustrated and made — all art forms in and of themselves — but centered around the humble but mighty pen.
His handmade pens are beautiful but all sold out except this one.
As he so eloquently says, “the written word gives such powerful life to [his] artwork.” And, I’d say in life. His portrait of Christ below was created in one single pen stroke!
What a remarkable image! Artists color a village in Mexico to bring beauty and benefit to the small town of Pachuca. Quartz appropriately describes it as “color therapy.”
Pachuca village_via Quartz
Oddly named German Crew group is responsible for this urban renewal project with its youth graffiti artists who transformed 209 residents’ homes with swaths of broad strokes of color.
The village is located in the most impoverished area of the Palmitas about 100 miles outside of Mexico City. The project hopes to bring cultural awareness and tourism to help fend off crime while engaging the community to take back their town.
This part of the project has taken six months, from the design by Mibe, a street artist from Mexico City, to the whitewashed basepaint before to the bright colorization.
before via ArtNet / German Crew
Pachura colored via ArtNet / German Crew
The second phase will add figurative murals to the streets scape. It’s a beautiful work in progress — putting artists to work and adding a beneficial facial “uplift” to the town — in more ways than just cosmetic.
Just look how this town stands out now! Photo via German Crew
In a previous posts, you can read about how a similar town of Favela was transformed with murals and color.
I’m always impressed when I see new ways to experience art. I discovered Taxi Fabric Art on Kickstarter today. It’s a new artistic campaign in India that is really taking art to the taxis by allowing a vehicle (no pun intended) for artists in Mumbai to submit their artwork for printing onto the fabric that is used in taxi cabs. The philosophy behind the project, from the founders:
We want to help Indian designers have their work not only be seen but also allow them to connect with members of the public who up until now perhaps haven’t understood that design can tell stories and create emotions…
Example of one of the taxicabs fitted with an artist’s design. Photos via Kickstarter and Taxifabric.org
Not only that, but this is an opportunity to bring economic benefit to those who often have even more difficulty than in America of being discovered as an artist. India is also a place of such dichotomy, with such beauty, natural wonders and gorgeous, delectable food but with such disparity with those who have very little and live with a lot of hardship.
Every Taxi Fabric design has the opportunity to be seen by upwards of 4,000 people in the 4-5 months that it features in a Mumbai taxi. If we reach our target, that will mean 120,000+ people in Mumbai will have seen the work of these designers by Christmas.
The Taxi drivers have commented that they believe their customers are not only engaging with them more, but most of them also ask them about their designs featured in their taxis. Some have even told us that they are getting more fares because their taxis stand out in a way the other taxis don’t.
3 out of the 5 designers who have made Taxi Fabrics have been contacted by members of the public who have seen their designs and want to work with them further…
Quite a fashionable ride here. Be sure to read all the artists’ stories.
Click here to read more and perhaps fund as little as $16 to this campaign. They’ve already reached $7,983 of their $12,402 goal (at the time of this writing) with 83 backers. You have until August 11th to participate.
Click on each image below to read the story behind the artwork. I’m not surprised that their website is very user-friendly, so be sure to go to the home page to check out each of these artists’ taxi’s artistic story and hit the back button to read more here.
Click on this image and other images below to read about the artist’s inspiration
What do dabbawalla delivering his dabbas, the last man standing in the train compartment, the taxi driver dodging traffic and you – battling time have in common?
Who knew hawkers could be so pretty?!
I think, if this effort takes off, and it looks like it will, the concept could be implemented elsewhere. It just goes to show you that the most everyday, taken for granted and often overlooked places show that art can be everywhere.
How you see art, may be related to your color acuity.
Test your color vision with this simple iGame Eye test and see if you see more colors than a cat or better than a bat. Remember bats live in the dark so do not need to see a lot of color. Cats on the other hand have better vision than dogs. Does this relate to intellect? Hmmmm, I wonder. Read here about the evolution of color vision, and learn which animals see in color and which don’t. It might surprise you to know that invertebrates do see color but most mammals have a limited range of color.
Full disclosure, the first time I did the test I got a 19 and color vision of a cat. The more you take the test, the better at it you will be. Also, memorization won’t help you because the color grids chage each time you take the test. A smart color test!
Meanwhile there’s an artistic bent in the test itself, the more colors you see, the more creative you may be. Find out!
Here’s another Color Hue Challenge that’s not as easy as it looks. Farnsworth-Munsell test was first created by Dean Farnsworth in the 1940’s but Pantone (the “color experts”) provides this free one online, for their X-Right Computer Screen color calibrator product, that I’ve used before for print color management.
Google is researching the links between color, creativity and productivity (via a New Orleans study effort).
Creative Thinking Hub’s article on Thinking more Creatively by Using Color is pretty interesting. No wonder blue remains my favorite color, but I love it more in combinations with other colors.