The Sculptural Culinary Tools of Sweet Gum

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.

Sweet gum sculptural spoons on Art Is everywhere

Photos via Sweet Gum

Sweet gum 2 on Art Is Everywhere

Sweet gum spoons on Art Is Everywhere

Sweet gum 3 on AIE

Sweet gum scoop on Art Is Everywhere

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.

Joseph Huebscher from Make Beautiful on Vimeo.

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 on AIE

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.

Happy Summer!

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Butterflies Everywhere

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I like butterflies. Well, I’m finding butterflies everywhere these days. How appropriately so because of the upcoming transformative celebration of Easter this Sunday.

We host our annual brunch for about 50 folks, so this post will consequently be short. 😉

This is my recent butterfly find from Elle Decor, as they tend to be circling back in style. (Personally, I never thought they flitted out of style.)

Butterflies everywhere in style via Elle Decor on Art Is Everywhere

Butterflies in style via Elle Decor

You can find recent and previous butterfly references here.

Also, here are a few updates and worthy mentions:

 

  1. The Fearless Girl Statue will stay in place for at least a year — until February 2018. Let’s hope everyone gets so used to it that it becomes permanent.

2. If you haven’t read the book Hillbilly Elegy – A Memoir of Family & Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance, it is a worthwhile read with real enjoyment. It’s both eye-opening and exceptionally told (orated by the author) from the insider’s perspective that helps explain a large portion of America’s people and their upbringing while being one of the few to “make it” and find the American Dream. (Even Oprah read this book, or is at least shown in a photo with the book on her table.)

Although the memoir was specific to Vance, it was embraced as a personification of the everyday struggles of America’s white underclass, and it shone a light on issues including race and privilege in America.Deadline Hollywood.

This just learned — the book will become a movie.

Click this link to listen to a sample. It personally moved me with my father’s Kentucky roots and even some real life characters being similar in name. For instance, J. D.’s name and his sister’s are similar names to my brother, John D (named after my father) and my sister Lindsey. Even his first home town in Jackson, KY, is all too uncanny to me. Although he currently lives in San Francisco, is a venture capitalist, works with Steve Case, he has DC Gibson Dunn law connections. There were unexpected guffaw moments of hilarious laughter and equal shocks of sadness but if everyone read this, there could be signs of hope, which is a good thing for this time of year — and a perfect thing on which to end this post.

Happy Easter!

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The Fearless Girl

Last Wednesday a week ago, many women abandoned their work and marched to recognize “A Day Without A Woman” but I found the Fearless Girl statue facing down the well-known “raging” Wall Street Bull sculpture much more remarkable and leaving a powerful impression. Ironically the US-based political march was mostly by angry women striking about a life without women with participants shouting visceral chants against the newest administration. I’m for free speech but I think the Fearless Girl, precisely as little as she is, has more impact.

The march was strategically planned on International Women’s Day, which has a long history (since 1911) of celebrating the positive accomplishments of women. It brings recognition to the importance of women, since the oppression of women was first recognized in 1908 — with a march. The recent women’s strike was not mentioned on the IWD’s website.

This is not to say marches don’t send a message. They can and have affected change. I’m in Northern VA, where schools had to close because female teachers didn’t come to work. The Fearless Girl statue, however, gives an enduring visual perspective through the personal expression of art that a fleeting march just can’t. The statue brought all sorts of questions to mind because I didn’t know its backstory but wondered who the artist was and how the statue was able to be placed in the current location. Will it stay?

Here’s what I learned. The statue was commissioned and officially put in location by State Street Global Advisors and they tweeted this statementWe wanted to highlight the power of women in leadership. So we made room in the one place business couldn’t ignore.

Fearless Girl video by State Street Advisors via Youtube on AIE

Fearless Girl video by State Street Advisors via YouTube. Click this link to play.

This is a wonderful video! I love the demonstration of the creative process and the message. Hey, but where’s the credit to the artist, who is female, by the way?!!

Here’s how they installed — the day before the women’s march and IWD.

And the message at this little super power of a statue’s feet says much.

Fearless girl statue base via CNN on AIE

The Fearless Girl faces the Charging Wall Street Bull.

Fearless girl statue back via wbur_AIE

via WBUR

Fearless girl statue front via CNN_AIE

She really does look like a super heroine, with her stance and standing strong in the wind, visible by the flow of her dress and movement of her hair. I hope she stays in place. Based on some of the comments on Twitter, sadly, it looks like this is a temporary installation. There is a petition going around to keep her in place, however.

Also, at the time of this writing, I could not find a single mention of credit (via State Street or the McCannNY Ad Agency, who is running their campaign) given to the female artist who created the statue and who is shown in the video. I asked about it on YouTube because overlooking this significant information seems contrary to the message the statue is being used by the ad agency to give — females make a difference (girl power and #shemakesadifference) — and should be noted as such, as should all artists.

Finally, I found the artist mentioned on KTLA 5 news, where I found the picture below. Her name is Kristen Visbal, and here’s her wonderful work!

My favorite picture thus far is how this beautifully rendered statue has already inspired little girls to be the super heros they are.

Abrianna Tabor Almonte wears her red-and-pink superhero outfit to go see the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street. (Credit: Amanda Marmor via CNN)_AIE

Abrianna Tabor Almonte wears her red-and-pink superhero outfit to go see the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street. (Credit: Amanda Marmor via CNN)

Post this publication, here’s a reader’s comment in the Washington Post remarking on the same, non-mention of the artist.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Love Dots

When I saw the pictures of Yayoi Kusama’s artwork in the paper about her upcoming exhibition at the Hirshhorn museum, I recalled one of the first posts I had written on Art Is Everywhere. It happened to be her polka dot artwork in the art exhibit “Happenings.” She loves dots and uses them with mirrors, along with and on pumpkins. The exhibit is supposed to be a sensory explosion. The Hirshhorn anticipates it being a blockbuster show and is giving out free timed passes. The artist is 87 years old and still causing quite a stir with dots — just in time to enjoy for Valentine’s Day during this month of love.

Yayoi Kusama Hirshhorn exhibit on AIE Yayoi Kusama Obliteration Room on AIE Yayoi Kusama Obliteration of Eternity on AIE Yayoi Kusam Infinity Mirrors on AIE Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture on AIE Yayoi Kusama love dot gourds on Art Is Everywhere

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Another Use for the Wood Pile This Winter

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.

Fallen Tree Wood Pile_AIE

Perhaps this layout suggests the wood pile can be moved?

Mobility Wood Pile_AIE

Or let it move itself.

Fish Wood Pile_AIE

Animals seem to be popular particularly owls.

Mobility Wood Pile_AIE

This one changes with snow and look who’s peeking out.

Bear Wood Pile_AIE

Coming across this wild boar wood pile art might scare you while walking in the woods but it’s one of my favorites.

Boar Wood Pile_AIE

Intricate human portraits can also be created with multiple types and colored wood.

Wood Pile Portraits_AIE

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.

Colored Wood Pile_AIE

Wood piles don’t always have to be linear or laid straight in one plane, as seen in this spiral construction.

Spiral Wood Pile_AIE

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? 😉

Sphere Wood Pile_AIE

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?

Under Stairs Wood Pile_AIE

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.

Wood Pile Huts_AIE

However you stack your wood pile, just know it doesn’t have to be boring and you can have fun while doing the chore.

The Other Zoo News – Washed Ashore

With all the tragic news about Harambe, the silverback gorilla that was shot to save a child at the Cincinnati Zoo, it’s nice to see other positive zoo news.

Washed Ashore is a multi-venue sculpture exhibit that is currently being hosted at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo through September 5, 2016. The large sea-life sculptures are made with plastic and other such trash items that have washed ashore.

What a great and colorful use of everyday, tossed-and-forgotten objects that really validates the statement, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” In this case, artwork that is truly everywhere.

washed-ashore-octopus-_Art Is Everywhere

washed-ashore-shark_Art Is Everywhere washed-ashore-parrotfish_Art Is EverywhereHere’s a little more info about Washed Ashore.org, their other exhibits and educational programs and what you can do with trash that you may find washed ashore on your beach this summer.

Animal Inspiration and Patience

My original intent was to post my Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog post here this week but then I received these incredible pictures of animal sculptures made with cut paper. I’ll do a little of both. Plus, you’ll see an appropriate mention at the bottom in light of Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Firstly, here’s a snippet of the Animal Inspiration post:

 I recently learned of a new video about one of my favorite artists, Jane Kim, of Ink Dwell Studios. The video not only depicts her creative process but explains how she paints with Nature always in mind, through animal inspiration.

Jane’s artistic talent is tremendous as is some of her projects.

We’ve posted about Jane and Ink Dwell previously regarding the project (and here on AIE), in which she used Casart wallcoverings as templates to paint the continents for her exceptional and huge mural at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab.

1_Many-birds-painted-by-Jane-Kim_InkDwell_AIE

Many birds painted by Jane Kim / Ink Dwell

Jane has also completed an ocean collage mural at Baltimore’s National Aquarium, which I’m dying to go see, using a combination of paint and cut paper techniques, and that perfectly leading into part two of this post.

Jane-Kim_livingseashore_inkdwell_18-960x423_AIEClick here to read more of the full story...

Another amazingly talented artist using Nature and animals as their inspiration is Calvin Nichols. He creates incredibly intricate paper sculptures. He’s such a keen observer of his subjects. It’s almost as if he’s created a 3D format for scientific illustration. I love how the pieces break their framed boundaries, which is very indicative of trompe l’oeil artwork, but this is not because you know it is not real, however, the intricacy and detail is just as jaw- dropping in wonderment.

(Most of the wording below is taken from the email that I received — so I cannot take credit for it.)

1_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe has worked 25 years to perfect his method. First he draws his subject, then he cuts paper shapes to create the foundation or form upon which more intricate cut paper is adhereed on top. It must take pain-staking patience. (Something I lose more and more as I get older.)

This particular series is appropriately titled, “Paper Zoo.”Fish_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEBut he doesn’t just draw on it. He shapes it to create intricate works of staggering detail and beauty. 2_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear-process_AIE 3_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear_AIETo make the art, he starts by observing real-life animals and their movements. He takes numerous sketches that he will later use as reference for his paper art. He then cuts up thousands of tiny pieces of paper and pastes them together to form each animal. 4_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird process_AIE 5_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird_AIE 6_Owl_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe texture he is able to achieve with this technique is astounding. Given that he’s only working with white paper, the details must be exactly right in order to create the appropriate depth and shadowing. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Owl Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIt’s incredibly delicate work. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Flying Birds_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEWhile the bigger ones can take months, or even years. Flying Doves_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Dog_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE

The texture he’s been able to achieve gives the illusion that it must be soft. Make you want to touch it to find out.

Fox_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHis work has been featured in National Geographic, as well as numerous galleries and art shows all over the world.

The porcupine is probably my favorite with all those wispy paper pieces.Porcupine_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe uses X-ACTO knives, scalpels, and scissors in the construction of his critters. Beavers_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bobcat_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Mama Monkey_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThis intricacy of this money and his face captures our emotion when viewing.Monkey Surprise_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Orangutan_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bamboo Bear_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe commitment these amazing pieces of art require is just mind-blowing. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you messed up a little detail on those pieces? Talent like this just doesn’t come around that often.

I’m not sure how he was able to achieve the realism of these zebras with different colored paper but his work is for sale and he does demonstrations, so worth looking into.Zebras_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIf you’d like to learn more, for there is not much info about this artist on his website except that he is from Canada, go to his Facebook page to see his most recent news.

In keeping with our animal inspiration theme and with Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s a beautiful mural that could use some motherly care in the Mothers Building, which was originally designed to be a resting place for nursing mothers at the San Francisco Zoo. The building, with its Greco-Roman style and WPA project murals, was built in 1925 but has been closed to the public since 2002. The murals visually depict the story of Noah’s Ark in the largest existing, egg tempera work in the Western US. They could soon be lost and are in need of repair. Click here to read more of the story.

Full Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

images via San Francisco Chronicle

Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE Lamas in Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

A Carving Frenzy Yields Furry Animal Friends

This is a busy week so I’ll leave you with this incredible video of Lueb Popoff using a chainsaw, which at first appears to be a carving frenzy with no plan in sight. However, a beautiful sculpture eventually evolves with several furry animal friends that appear to magically “come out” of the woodwork.

How in the world does he do it?! Pretty fantastic.

I also like the music. Kinda the pace I’m keeping this week.

Everything Colossal

I’ve been following the Colossal blog for so long that I was surprised that I had not put it on my Blogroll. It must be because it’s not one of those things that I don’t have to think about knowing to do. Well, I’ve remedied that now and added to my list.

When I last clicked on their site, every one of their posts was filled with inspiration.

Here’s a quick sampling from Colossal.

 1_David Oliveira_wire sculpture_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

I love anything seashells! I collect them.

2_Shells by Lonac_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

This takes an amazing ability to sync the laborious stop-motion film (based on time sequence photos) to the music. Beautifully achieved but incredibly time-consuming.

3_Fluxos Claymation_via Colossal_Art Is Everwhere

Like seashells, I love anything with aquariums and fish. This is so other-worldly to see.

4_Aquatic Aquarium Layout_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 5_Aquatic Aquarium Layout_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

The detailed nature of these illustrations are more inspiring to me than the subject; although they remind me of a modern-day Arcimboldo.

6_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 7_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 8_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

What a fantastic diptych and triptych idea + artfully repurposing old surf, skate and ski boards.

9_Artboards_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 10_Artboards triptych_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

I also saw these masks below for sale on Etsy. They would be great for Halloween but they are just a little too scary for me, reminding me of some sub-cult or slasher movie if you saw someone on the street wearing one and walking toward you.

11_Wintercroft mask_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

And if the current posts don’t grab your attention, you can click on their suggested posts at the bottom. Of course I was intrigued by the kaleidoscope one because it reminds me of Spirograph.

12_Trending Colossal_Art Is EverywhereAnd here’s the post about Ornate Textiles by Suzan Drummen.

13_vlissingen-j-voor-site_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

Can Historic Murals Be Divisive?

There is an ongoing issue with racial division coming to the forefront lately. I usually don’t take on such political topics and it is not my intent to do so here but simply report and as usual show some connectivity to how art really is everywhere and relates in our lives.

There is controversy a-brewing at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama over the historic murals that were painted by Chicago artist John W. Norton. He painted the large-scale, eight-foot murals to depict the story of the Old South and the New South in the 1930’s when the courthouse was being built.

Old and New South Murals via BhamWiki on Art Is Everywhere

Old and New South Murals via BhamWiki

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 1_Art Is Everywhere

Old South section via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 2 _AIE

New South via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 3_AIE

Old South full mural via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 4_AIE

New South full mural via AL.com

They have existed without complaint until recently when Anne Garland Mahler, a Birmingham native who teaches now at the University of Arizona, started an online petition on change.org to have them removed because she cites them as being racist.  She indicates, “These murals have been described by scholars as white supremacist images and even the Chicago firm, Holabird & Root, that originally designed the courthouse and commissioned the paintings, has stated their support for the removal of the murals.“…”Since these murals are works of art and were painted by a famous muralist, we are not necessarily advocating for their destruction.”…”Most importantly, these images do not belong in the courthouse.”

There is precedent here with a twist when the now famous Maine Labor History Mural by artist Judy Taylor painted in 2008 was removed by then Governor LePage in 2012. It caused so much controversy that a lawsuit ensued by artists to keep it in place. Here was what resulted after a long battle, reported in Yankee Magazine:

The solution to many problems in this life is simply for enough time to pass for the problem to disappear on its own. What seems to have happened in the case of the Maine Labor History Mural is that, with litigation at an end, new Maine State Museum director Bernard Fishman, former director of the Rhode Island Historical Society, approached new Maine Labor Commissioner Jeanne Pacquette about exhibiting the mural in the museum lobby. Artist Judy Taylor was consulted on the move and consented. Gov. LePage apparently had no objections. And the U.S. DOL, which paid for the mural and had been demanding its money back if the mural were not exhibited, agreed that it would be okay for the mural to hang, at least temporarily, in a non-labor department facility…. And, with its new-found fame, the mural will now be seen by thousands more people than would ever have seen it in the tiny, airless DOL waiting room.

Maine-Labor-History-Mural_via Yankee Magazine on Art Is Everywhere

Maine Labor History Mural’s current home_ via Yankee Magazine

I would also say that controversy can be resolved with respectful dialogue — communication “with” rather than “at” one another.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the Courthouse Murals because removal can cause extensive damage and the cost can be exorbitant at an estimated $100,000, when that money and effort could be possibly better spent on the citizens and their community.

 County Commissioner President Pro Tem, Sandra Little Brown, writes an impassioned plea for their removal and makes some valid points for everyday living with the murals and what they represent. I’ve even tried to envision myself having to view them daily and recalling painful past struggles — if that is the only thing you see. However, they provide a beautifully rendered, stylistic depiction that is indicative of the Industrial Movement post Art Deco, despite the subject representing America’s honest history. They also show progress and historically represent the mindset of the 1930’s, not present day era, as they were painted then, not now. Diego Rivera also painted the American Worker in the 30’s during the industry labor movement. Detroit fought hard and won to keep these murals intact as their many other museum acquisitions had to be sold during the city’s declared bankruptcy. However, these are one of the main tourist attractions to the museum and have since become even more so visited.

Diego Rivera Murals at Institute of Arts in Detroit_via Huffington Post on Art Is EverywhereEqually persuasive is Wayne Flynt’s argument that,”Addressing systemic issues involves confronting policies, but dealing with historic symbols is more complicated and divisive.”  He is Auburn University’s professor emeritus of history. His closing phrase is poignant, “What, as a historian, I find wrong about that is this no longer allows us to have a conversation about the way we were,” Flynt said. “And the way we were is the problem.

Perhaps this is a solution, as stated on AL.com:

Linda Nelson of the Jefferson County Historical Commission has suggested installing educational materials near the pieces and a third mural documenting Southern progress. Jackson told the commission he’s open to that idea.

Nelson and Flynt say they understand the emotions that the artwork stirs, but they would rather preserve reminders of the region’s past than wipe it away.

Until a resolution can be found, at least there is comfort in enjoying the beautiful building and some of its many details.

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 7_AIE

You can almost see Atticus here.

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 6_AIE Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 5_AIEI’m from the South, a New Orleans gal, and I currently live in a Southern town of Alexandria, VA, right outside the most political town of Washington, DC. We are grappling with our own “Confederate” symbols that became controversial in the sad wake of the senseless Charleston church murders. Although some landmarks, streets and Confederate flags are being removed or replaced, this beloved statue, where the Confederate Soldier, entitle Appomattox stands in the middle of a busy street with his back to the North, is totally symbolic of the Civil War when the North and South were at such odds and pays tribute to VA’s dead in the wake of such a horrific war. It would take more than just a city order to remove as it is on the historic registry of landmarks and is owned by the state, so it is staying.

Appomattox via DCMemorials.com on Art Is Everywhere

Appomattox via DCMemorials.com

There are countless other murals and artwork that resonate with people because they precisely depict a figure who or an image that represents a time and place in America’s history that should not be forgotten.

As I write this piece and with these controversial racial times, I am reminded of one of my favorite books, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I learned from reading it how Russia used the everyday tactic of simple changes to erase history, like changing street names, renaming and removing landmarks. The next generation never knows its past and does not reflect on it. Therein mistakes are often repeated. It has a striking similarity.

Recently in Seattle, James Crespinel, the original artist of his tribute mural to Martin Luther King below was touching it up and so many people stopped to complain because they were worried he might be damaging it. Once he explained his purpose, the passersby were welcoming of his careful and loving preservation.

MLK mural via TheStranger on Art Is Everywhere

MLK mural via TheStranger

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