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Sunday, November 29, 2009

At the Art Gallery

It was my turn to mind the store at the Spring City Art Gallery. May I show you some of my favorites?

If I had lots of money I would buy this painting from Randall Lake. Randall was the "Best of Show" winner of the 2008 Plein Air Competition.

Susan Gallacher Oil. Susan is also known for her fine watercolors.

Sheep by Osral B Allred. It is Sheep that make Spring City the town that it is today

M'Lisa Paulsen, a fine artist and special friend and I am so lucky to own one of her paintings

A painting by Kathleen Peterson, always different and always an original

You have seen many of my ceramics, so I will not post them here. There are a few of them featured at the Gallery.

I did not sell any paintings yesterday, however, I sold all of my hand painted Christmas balls. Not only that, I sold all of them to one person, a friend of mine who is one of the most talented, the most respected, well known Interior Designers. I was flattered.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Streussel Kuchen

Not Kirschwasser Torte, not Sacher Torte, not Croquembouche, not Linzer Torte but I go weak at the knees for
Streusel Kuchen

Anita's Streusel Kuchen, just looking at this picture makes my mouth water

Recently, Forbes Magazine published an article "America's top 25 Towns to live Well". Our little Spring City was listed as one of them. Spring City was settled by Mormon Pioneers in 1852. The entire town of Spring City is listed on the National Historic Register.

Because we are a Historic Town, we celebrate each May by opening our doors to visitors from far and wide.

Anita, the baker of the fine Streusel Kuchen (above and below) lives in one of those beautiful historic stone houses. Her little son was so bored with all of the visitors he begged his mother to bake her famous Streusel Kuchen. It would give him something to do and he could make a little money on the side.

Now, a few years later, every year , on the Memorial Day weekend, the line for Streusel Kuchen gets longer and longer.

And, if you would like Anita's recipe, please let me know. I don't know if she will part with it and I don't know if yours will turn out as well. It takes a special talent to bake this simple cake. Many a Baker, in the old country, has been banished from his home town for not being able to bake a decent Streusel Kuchen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cabbages in Disguise

We have traditions. For our Thanksgiving Dinner we must have turkey and bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry chutney and blue hubbard squash, red cabbage and "Cabbages in Disguise".

The table is set with the finest antique lace and the "good silver". The crystal chandelier gets a new face.

And the sideboard gets a little more attention

And then there is apple pie with whipping cream laced with kirschwasser for dessert


Monday, November 16, 2009

My students worked hard

Here are a few more tiles from our tile painting workshop. There are many more to come.

Robert, our young man, a young father, an excellent student who also holds down a full time job, surprised all of us with his artistic talents.

Robert and Richae sharing the spotlight. Richae is a charming 14 year old with lots of talent. She is a dancer with the renown BYU (Brigham Young University) Dance Group.

The talented and lovely sisters, Ricky and Sherri painted these wonderful tiles.

Little Richae (she is as big as a minute) and wears flowers in her hair, painted this colorful tile.

This is Shallan's interesting tile.Some of her tiles
are still in the Kiln. She has taken tile painting
lessons from me before. Her talent always shines

Robert painted this Delft Tile. I think his ancestors spoke to him.

Joan painted traditional dutch designs, albeit with a new color twist. These whimsical tiles, and a dozen more, will be installed in her new (but historic house) kitchen.

May, Richae, Shallan and Cindy painted these fabulous tiles. I can't wait to see what will come out of the kiln tomorrow. May is a really fine artist. She does not follow the rest but comes up with very original designs of her own. And Cindy is one of my most talented students. Cindy can continue without instructions, she will do well.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

They are out of the Kiln

I have a bunch of great students. Their work is as varied as their personalities and their ages.

Cindy, student, mother, and housewife has taken an earlier workshop from me. She is painting 42 more tiles, all putti, for her little boys' bathroom.

May has never painted a tile nor has Ricky

Not too bad for a first timer

May is an artist, you can tell.
Many more tiles will come out of the kiln today. Everyone had a very busy day yesterday. Today, last day, is always the most productive. The kiln will be working overtime. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today is the Day

Today begins the 3-day historic tile Painting Workshop. I never know what my students will be like. I could have a genius amongst them . . . . we will see.

This is "my" desk at the Scuola d' Arte in Deruta, Italy. My very first attempt painting ceramics in the maiolica style. Nothing was familiar, especially the brushes. I have since been to many places in the world and have learned many new (at least to me) techniques and, hopefully, I will have the opportunity to learn many more.

Pictures of failures and successes of my students' work is forthcoming.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The most beautiful milk store in the world

Every available space is covered with hand painted ceramic tiles in Farmer Pfunds milkstore of 1879

Detail of hand painted Ceramic Tiles made by Villeroy & Boch specifically for the Pfund Milk Store

The "Most Beautiful Milk Store in the World", as you can see it today, made it into the Guinnes Book of World Records in 1998.

Farmer Paul Pfund had a new idea. Milk should not be delivered in open wagons. Milk should be dispensed from a milk store. At the end of the 19th c. he moved from his farm with his family, 6 cows and 6 pigs to Dresden and opened the "most beautiful milk store in the world."

During the time of the East German regime, this beautiful shop was to be destroyed, along with thousands of hand painted ceramic tiles. It just didn't get done. They didn't get around to it. Pfunds Milk store is now a wonderful place to visit.

In a couple of days I will be teaching an intensive, 3-day historic tile painting workshop. I will have 9 students, the perfect number of students. They will receive lots of personal attention.

The workshop is being taught at the Traditional Building Skills Institute (TBSI), Ephraim, Utah. As in the past, my students will learn an old world technique, seldom taught in the United States.

Some of my students will continue learning. There is no limit to what they can achieve.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

So easy to make and so special

This time of year you will find plain glass balls in craft and even grocery stores. They are so easy to decorate. They make inexpensive and lovely gifts. These Christmas balls look very complicated but they are very easy to make. If hand painting is not your forte then this first group of Christmas balls only requires a little ordinary glue and very fine paper cocktail napkins. Cut out images and glue them onto the surface, add white dots, helter skelter, with acrylic paints to give them a little extra umph.

Cocktail napkins and white dot design

Fill a clear glass ball with several acrylic paint colors , one at a time, and swirl until inside is covered. Then paint simple design on outside.

These are all hand painted with acrylic paint. Simple designs such as Christmas candles on branches or a snowman here and there make for colorful decorations. I think it is the white dots that make them extra special.

I like to place them in a large bowl or tall glass jar, all together, for a big impact. Happy Painting!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Speaking of Gypsies

A few years ago we met Basel, a Welsh stallion. He pulled our Gypsy wagon for seven days through the most beautiful countryside in Wales, Great Britain.

Basel is a prankster. He was supposed to have been hitched to our Gypsy wagon this morning. Instead, he jumped the fence and joined a group of riders. It was raining and he was covered in mud from head to foot.

It was springtime and Basel wore a different bouquet of flowers every day. We walked by his side. On a downhill grade I had to go to the back of the wagon to help brake the speed. At the bottom of the hill, Basel would always turn his head towards me and tell me to join him up front. Carrots were in my pockets and under my hat. He always found them.

We cooked, slept and ate in the wagon. Every morning, much too early, Basel would rock the wagon with his hind quarters. He was ready for oat griddle cakes. I wore a different gypsy outfit every day. We stopped for a picnic one day. Soon a car came by. When they saw us they gathered their children, Gypsies are known for stealing them you know.

First day out. Basel really has white stocking feet, you will see. When we stopped to check our map Basel would nudge our back, as if to say "I know the way".

We had a map. It was marked with our nightly stopovers. We paid the Farmers 3 Pounds so Basel could enjoy the Spring grass. He also had "magic pellets" in the back of the wagon. He knew how to open the box so he could serve himself. He loved the magic pellets more than anything . . . . but he knew of a garden that had little green peas growing. We caught him just in time. One foot was allready over the fence.

We walked over 70 miles. It was hard to say Good Bye.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too much is not enough

What do YOU think?

Is more, more?
Or is less, less or is less more?

What do you think?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Night at the Opera

Painting by Edward Hopper, 1927
My Father had season Opera tickets for two. He would invite me once in a while. I wore my special Opera dress, sewn by my Mother, of dark blue crepe de chine. It had tiny pleats in the bodice and to make it even more special, she had affixed antique, hand made lace to collar and cuffs. My father wore his only suit, a black suit made for him by our local tailor.
We would arrive early. To get to the Opera House we had to take the train to the big city. My Father would explain the opera we were about to see. This time it was Gounod's Faust, a pretty heady story for an 8-year-old.
While waiting for the opera to begin, my Father wanted to know what made this occasion so special? What did I think? I mentioned the fine opera house, no, the beautiful architecture, no, the finely carved and gilded decorations, no, the plush red velvet seats, no, the orchestra tuning their instruments, no, the hushed conversation, no!
Everyone was dressed in their finery. OHHHH, yes, of course, that's it, everyone dressed in their Finery, that's what makes this occasion so special.