Bread Helps

My mother made bread every week when I was growing up, so bread making it was never a big mystery to me. It’s a great pastime on a cold winter day and makes everything smell so good.

It’s also great to have toast made from home made bread to go with your yogurt after you’ve had two teeth pulled which I did today. Don’t go apoplectic on me. There was no pain and the teeth needed to come out. I feel much better with them gone.

To try the recipe I used, which makes four loaves, click here.

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Beading from Wolf Hall

I’ve been doing a lot of reading during the Pandemic.  I’m currently working my way through Wolf Hall  by Hilary Mantel, a book I heartily recommend. It takes place during the reign of Henry VIII and focuses on the life and career of Thomas Cromwell, one of his closest advisors.   I’ve written before how I find distasteful (!) many of the aspects of the Elizabethan world. (Although I am also working on family genealogy and learning a little about what life was like for some of my ancestors who lived through it.)  Let’s just say that religious fanaticism is nothing new and leave it at that.

I’ve gotten to the part in the book where Anne Boleyn becomes queen.  The book concentrates more on the history and personalities and does not contain detailed descriptions  of clothing and jewelry.  Still, there are some and it got me to thinking and I pulled out some of my unfinished bead design projects.  I was trying to design a necklace as a surprise afor a person (who I considered a part of my funky extended family) who loved Renaissance Fairs and was also into beading.  But she died unexpectedly and I put the project on mothballs.

Maybe I’ll take it up again.  Many of the pieces use cubic right angle weave, a stitch that was very hot at the time.  I also love cross-weave beading (right angle weave is but one form of this)  and was experimenting with that stitch as well.  Here are some pictures. Rest easy Wendy and thanks for inspiring me.

Happy New Year!

Hey, it’s been a tough year for stuffed animals too. Just ask the Le Mutts! Here’s hoping for better things in the coming year. And spread light wherever you can. That’s what keeps us going.

Happy Holidays from Boris

No matter how or what you celebrate.

Musings on a Wintery Day

Cozy inside, stormy outside.

We are facing our first snowstorm of the season in Philadelphia and I am glad that I don’t have to go outside. , One of my guilty pleasures on days like these is reading Internet Lifestyle Blogs. The headlines are great: “Don’t Make This Mistake When Roasting Fennel” or “You Might Be Killing Your Houseplants Without Even Knowing It.” And then there’s the Fashionista blogger who takes me through her pandemic daily rituals of journaling, cleaning and scenting her space with Mrs. Meyers products (actually not a bad idea) and then assures me that she doesn’t worry if her day hasn’t been “Instagram perfect.”

My mother got her jollies from reading Women’s Day and Family Circle Magazines which she bought at the grocery store. There’s nothing more stupefying than reading an article on how to bake a killer dessert followed by an article on the latest diet where you have to weigh everything and eat it with grapefruit, but that’s what these magazines were known for.

Things haven’t really changed, Nowadays, Influencers would recommend that you start your meal of organic lemons and aquafaba soufflé with some amazing affirmations (They’re genius!) which are sure to make you forget that you squat in a trailer and have to flush your toilet with a bucket of water.

Fashionista + Influencer = Influenista which sounds like a new disease to me. It’s so new, in fact, that I don’t know how to pronounce it yet. But I don’t even pronounce my own last name correctly. And I gave up on Uranus long ago.

Why the rant? No reason really. I have been working on genealogy for my family, my husband’s family and some relatives-by-marriage who I am fond of and who have expressed an interest in finding out more about their roots.

And I have started to uncover some secrets. But what was scandal 80 years ago doesn’t mean anything today. I mean no one cares if your grandparents weren’t married when they started having children, or similar “scandals.” If you had to wait until you were married, the human race would have died out long ago.

Which means that many of the little things that seem like such big problems to us today will be footnotes in somebody’s family history years from now. So enjoy a few guilty pastimes if you can. A wintry afternoon is the perfect time.

Brunelleschi’s Dome

OK, I’ll admit that I haven’t travelled anywhere in a few months, but I am taking an online art history course and last week I learned about Brunelleschi’s dome, which is the dome that covers the the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, Italy. What is so special about this dome? It’s huge (375 feet tall) and it’s sitting 180 feet up in the air on top of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. Fillipo Brunelleschi designed, engineered and built the dome on the top of the cathedral and finished the job in 1436. If you want to read about how he did it, I can recommend a book, Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King, which you can get on Amazon, here, or borrow from your local library or from the Internet Open Library and read on line. (Don’t forget to make a donation if you do.) I am still struggling with WordPress’s new block editor which supposed to make blogging so much easier.

The block editor doesn’t cut it for me.

But enough of my whining. Here are some pictures from a trip to Florence.

A shot out of my hotel window
Inside the cathedral looking up at the dome.
Cathedral entrance.

To read more about Brunelleschi’s dome, press here and here.

Waiting This Thing Out

The pandemic is raging again and I joined my family on Zoom for Thanksgiving dinner. I was surprised at how well it turned out. We all just fired up our computers, parked in front of them with our dinner, and had a meal together even though we were in different locations. Much safer than traveling but we did miss the human contact.

The pottery studio is closed
My shelf as I left it.

The pottery studio is closed but I was working on decorating some bowls I had thrown when the closing announcement came down. I’m hoping to get back to them after the first of the year. In the meantime, here are some pictures. Stay safe and wear your mask!

Happy Thanksgiving

Boris chows down!
Stay safe this holiday season

Look! I Made a Mug

Actually, I made two, and snatched them out of the studio before the Fleisher Art Memorial open Ceramics studio closed in response to the latest Coronavirus surge. We had been working in the studio since September with added precautions, masks, a limited number of people, and social distancing. But safety is more important.

I decided to try making a hand-built mug where the handle and walls of the mug were all one piece, and I would add a bottom. In pottery as in jewelry designing, making paper models saves a lot of time and materials. So I made a paper template for the mug.

Mug template with bottom
Mug in the making.
Underglaze painting on greenware.
Mugs after bisque fire. I covered them with a clear satin glaze.

And the scraps from the foot rings inspired me to make a covered jar with a fancy lid. I’ll do some cold finishing on this one.

Electricity from the Mind of Mildred Greenberg

Last week’s post which included a link to a film about the artist Judy Chicago got me thinking.  If being an artist is challenging, being a woman artist is even more so.   I saw a great exhibit at the Tate Modern a couple of years ago on the Guerilla Girls and one of my favorite parts of the show was their Advantages of Being a Woman Artist Poster.  You can get a look at it here.  And Jane Dunnewold has produced another excellent video, this one on Women Abstract Expressionists.  You can watch that here.

I was not familiar with the work of Mildred Greenberg although I had known her daughter, Susan for many years and at one time we had even worked in the same office.  Ancient history.   We fell out of touch and the years passed.  Then we got reacquainted, this time through my husband.   And before the Coronavirus shut everything down,  Susan invited us to the opening of a retrospective of her mother’s work presented by InLiquid, a Philadelphia Arts organization, ELECTRICITY: From the Mind of Mildred Greenberg.

Electricity

Mildred Elfman Greenberg hailed from Philadelphia and much of her early work was produced  for the W.P.A.s  Federal Art Project during the Depression.  Her bio from the British Museum, one of the many museums that have her work in their collection reads as follows.   Painter and printmaker. Born as Elfman to Russian immigrant father and American mother in Philadelphia, where lived most of her life. Married Samuel Greenberg. Graduated from Moore Institute of art and Design in 1934; WPA 1940. No work between end WWII and 1974.  That’s thirty years without making art.  I believe at this time that the family had relocated from Philadelphia to California.  It’s my understanding that Greenberg resumed her art career after moving back to Philadelphia in the 1970’s.

Geometric Figures
Student work
Work produced for the WPA
Work produced for the WPA

Later work

You can read more about Mildred Elfman Greenberg here.