Saturday, March 31, 2012

IAM: Artists and Foodists Part 2

We've been so busy prepping for and working the Marketplace that I just realized it's the last day of March.  Most last days of March fly by without much significance, but not this one. Today is the last day we have cable subscription. Tomorrow we will magically wake up to find only 22 channels on our TV, most of which will probably be some type of home shopping network. I had wanted to be through with the evil empire that is Comcast, but they are the only DSL providers where we live. And while we can do without TV, we sure can't live without the internet! At least with this reduced package, we're not paying for 200+ channels and complaining about having nothing to watch ...

Today is also the second day of the Indiana Artisan Marketplace; the first day the show is open to the public. The crowds that came gathered well before 10am. They were a spirited group in search of a deal. We stayed busy for most of the day, but whenever we had a chance, we went around handing out more questionnaires and collecting the ones that were done.

In this blog post, we'll be featuring interviews with an Indiana potter and a foodist from Kentucky.

Kathy Archer, of Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese, is a member of Kentucky Proud, a highly honored juried art/food program similar to Indiana Artisan. Kathy was our neighbor at this show last year. If you're not familiar with it, beer cheese is a flavored sharp cheddar cheese spread made with beer. You can find Howard's Creek online here. Their website is filled with recipes too, so if you want to know what you can do with beer cheese, definitely get your inspiration from there.

Kristy Jo Beber Stoneware Pottery

Kristy Jo Beber is an Indiana potter we got acquainted with through Facebook. We finally met her in person when she did the Round the Fountain Art Fair in Lafayette (Indiana) last year. Kristy does a ton of art fairs in the summer and you can keep up with her show schedule on her website and on Facebook. You can also find much of her work at The Orchard Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is Kristy's first year at the show. Please stop by her booth (421) if you come to the show tomorrow!

Now their answers ...

What's your least favorite customer question?
Kathy: Are they both the same?
Kristy: What's this for (about a bowl, etc.) You wouldn't think a bowl would need an explanation.

Do you work in any other media besides what you have here today?
Kathy: No. We only do one! Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese!
Kristy: I like to dabble in a little bit of everything but clay keeps me quite busy. i did create a 2nd body of work last spring, more colorful and whimsical ... but still clay ...

If you could write a recipe for your artwork, what would the ingredient list read like?
1. Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese
2. Put on favorite fresh or cooked vegetable and devour!
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 until satisfied!
1. mud + fire: 50% each
2. add swirls, dots, circles, and trees to taste
3. enjoy forever and ever

What are your thoughts on "art" vs. "product"? What about "craft" vs. "art"?
Kathy: Howard's Creek is our product, but it's an art to make! Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese is a crafted artisan cheese.
Kristy: art is ART! "Product" sounds so impersonal ... mass produced.
(As for "craft" vs. "art") Oh boy! I think the word "craft" now has negative connotations because of the items at school and church "craft bazaars" ... flowers glued to a headband, etc.

How do you deal with artist's block?
Kathy: I eat more Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese.
Kristy: I have shows lined up and know I NEED to make work all the time. Just being in the studio so many hours forces the creativity. I do enjoy visiting galleries/museum shows and try to do so at least once a month.

What do you do to pass time in your booth?
Kathy: Answer questionnaires like this while I eat Howard's Creek Authentic Beer Cheese and laugh a lot!!!!
Kristy: I am a total people watcher!

Zach will be posting interviews with the members and consignment artists of Artists' Own tomorrow. Al Knight, Sara Van Kooten Vanderkleed, Mary Thomas Firestone, Mark Needham, Lisa Hopkins, and Karen Hampton are all at the Marketplace too so stop by and see them as well!

IAM: Day Two

Busy! Busy! Busy! Just the way we like to be! We've collected some more interviews and can't wait to post them when we get home tonight. In the meantime, here's a picture of the crowd at the show ...

IAM: Artists and Foodists Part One

we are talking to ...

Elizabeth Garber and Nancy Bain from The Best Chocolate in Town

mindy and i have eaten best chocolates in town for the last 5 years i would say.  damn near every time we go to indy, we stop at their chocolate shop.  you can usually smell them from outside as you walk up to the door of their shop on 880 mass ave.  and today is no different.  the little chocolate jewels snug in their cases. chocolate covered pretzels. buttery toffee. turtles and caramels. you can smell them all when you walk up.  they have an assortment of their main menu of truffles and will have a long line of customers when the market opens today.  but they'll be worth the wait. Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

you can also buy their chocolates from the following places.

we first saw marcy's work at a ceramics show at Amaco/Brent Galleries in Indy.  Her teapots were in an all woman potters show that featured several artists who we know and some we didn't.  Mindy and I had found her teapots and cups to be the most interesting work in the gallery.  we admired her work last year at the artisan marketplace, are always glad to check out her new work.  she showed me a sketch on her iPad that became a teapot.  i love that she sketches and turns out what she maps out.

you can see more of Marcy's work at her website or read more about her here.

Rick Greiner

rick the pearman, as he's known to most on the indy art scene.  we met him last year at this show and he's one of our favorite people at the show to talk to.  he's funny and candid and too cool to bother with social media. we thought he'd have some great answers (and he definitely did!).

read more about Rick here.

What’s your least favorite customer question?
Marcy: Can you make it in blue?
Elizabeth and Nancy: How do you stay so thin?
Rick: What do you do with it?

Do you work in any other media besides what you have here today?
Marcy: Mostly work in clay. Sometimes less functional pottery and more sculptural object. Occasionally mixed media.....clay and mixed media sculptures.
Elizabeth and Nancy: Painting, drawing, textiles … but chocolate is our main medium.
Rick: Life; getting through each day.

If you could write a recipe for your artwork, what would the ingredient list read like?
Marcy: Sound mind, good health, creative energy, clay, glaze
Elizabeth and Nancy: Sorry, our recipes are top secret :)
Rick: Dirty body, dirty clothes, sweat and tears.

What are your thoughts on “art” vs. “product”? What about “craft” vs. “art”?
Marcy: good art has to make me want to think and feel.  Good craft = good craftsmanship.  If it makes me think and feel then it's also good art.  Isn't anything for sale a product.  If it makes me think and feel then it's also good art.
Elizabeth and Nancy: There is an art to creating my product. I think of high technical skill or craftsmanship with the word “craft.” “Art” is a very versatile word and can be a noun, verb, or adjective and can signify too many themes to answer here.
Rick: All art is product, whether it’s Van Gogh or pears. It’s all product or degrees of money.

How do you deal with artist block (like writer’s block)?
Marcy: sketch, look at other art other media, go outside....nature always inspires does science and biology, so I pull out my microscope and look at things under it.
Elizabeth and Nancy: Eat chocolate, browse through magazines for inspiration.
Rick: Get stoned.

What do you do to past time in your booth?
Marcy: My new toy....iPad is a big help and my favorite new app, Drawcast

Elizabeth and Nancy: Eat chocolate. Brainstorm new flavor combinations. Plan for the holidays.
Rick: Crossword puzzles, eating, and watching men.

Thank you Elizabeth, Nancy, Marcy and Rick. We have more interviews and posts lined up for today. Keep checking back!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Indiana Artisan Marketplace: Enquiring minds want to know ...

indiana artisan marketplace, friday, was 'get to know your neighbor' day.  all the artists were walking around during downtime talking to each other and introducing themselves.  mindy and i took on the task of asking people to answer some strange and deep or shallow questions about their experience as creative people.  we walked around and found several artists whose work we like and foodists whose food we enjoy.  hopefully these will help you get a sense of the personalities at the Marketplace this weekend, and encourage you to come and see the show. 

let me explain the questions a bit before i throw folk to the wolves for opinions here.  

what is your least favorite customer question?
-- at art fairs of all leagues and prestige customers ask terrible and often offensive questions unwittingly. 

do you work in any other media besides what you are showing here today?
-- this is a personal question for me, because i use many different media.  and i always wonder if other artists experiment with media in the way that i do.  i think a lot do, because creativity tends to be a kind of lifestyle that has experimentation and discovery at its core.

if you could write a recipe for your artwork, what would the ingredient list read like?
-- i stole this question from my friend Carolina Pedraza.  She interviewed me on her blog, The Hamster Wheel (check her out! she's interviewed some incredible people who draw), and this was my favorite question to answer. you can read my response here.

what are your thoughts on 'art' vs. 'product'?  how about 'craft' vs. 'art'?
-- as people who work in 'craft' media (as most of us at this show are) we are often struggling for respect in a world of art that deifies concept and trivializes function.  and i really feel that because of that struggle in contemporary art, some of the best art is coming from the 'craft' media that is pushing its borders right into the highest and most thought provoking art.  

how do you deal with artist's block or writer's block?
-- i suffer it.  everyone does.  i'm always curious how others deal with it. 

what do you do to pass time in your booth?
-- sometimes i get bored to death sitting in an art fair booth, wishing I was making things instead of sitting there trying to sell them.   so mindy and i play games like "i-spy" while we people-watch. i guess i wonder what everyone else does to pass time ...

tomorrow we'll publish some responses from the people we met.

Indiana Artisan Marketplace: Preface

the first day of Indiana artisan marketplace at the state fairgrounds is wholesale day. as usual, this wholesale day was slow as buyers from galleries and gift shops cruised pass booths packed with fresh merchandise.

because it's not a heavy traffic day we've been wandering around talking to the artists and foodies, handing out interview questions to the some of the vendors. we decided that it would be fun to blog from the show and use artist interviews to promote this event and to supplement our coverage of the show. we'll post our first feature blog tonight and continue our coverage through the weekend.

 stay tuned!

indiana artisan marketplace

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Patties on the Grill

I had previously blogged about the new grill I got for Zach as his early birthday gift. I tried to explain in that post, that the gift to Zach turned out to be the best gift for me ...

Most nights I either get to sit back and enjoy the evening breeze while my lovely husband makes us dinner, or we get to make dinner together without fighting for precious real estate in this tiny kitchen of ours! You see, this new grill allows Zach to cook the main course out on the patio, while I prep the other side dishes and/or make dessert in the kitchen. It's my favorite way to wind down the work day. 

The only thing that would make this better is if I can get him to do the dishes afterwards ...  :)

The recipe of the week is for chicken patties with sage and apples. It's a nice change from hamburgers if you're looking for something new to grill!

1lb ground chicken
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 granny smith apple, peel, cored, and shredded
2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare grill. 
Mix all the ingredients and form into patties (about 3/4 cup each). Place on lightly oiled grill and cook through, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ZMEDCeramics at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Post: Brasil Graffiti

a follow up to our soho graffiti post …

our first guest blogger will be my brother, josh, who is a strength coach at the university of memphis.  a couple of weeks ago he went to sao paolo and rio de janeiro with the soccer team and besides coaching, eating and immersing himself in the fanaticism that is brazilian professional futbol, he discovered some of the best graffiti i've ever seen.  so i asked him to write a short guest blog post about the graffiti he found lining the streets and buildings of brasil.

looking through the eyes of a tourist, brasil is enormous mountains and a deep hazy forest, then a peaceful white beach and dark blue ocean, and once I became immersed in their society and culture, the serenity of the place had me at peace.  then wonder showed me another beautiful bit of scenic pleasure: graffiti.

I first noticed the tags and murals when leaving the airport of Sao Paulo but didn’t think too much of it as I was just outside of the fast-paced downtown area, and just like all downtown cities in America there was graffiti posted around everywhere, whether it was a gang sign or a full side of a building covered with a mural.  as I was heading back to the airport I told zach I’d get some pictures for him because there was graffiti around and in random places that was pretty cool.  So, I took some pictures from the bus and tried to capture every painting done in color surrounded by tags in an array of places, homes, businesses, vehicles, light poles, and on a building where I’d stare and try and figure out how someone  wrote vertical on a 10-story building from level 4 to 8 not next to any windows. I had some good photos from Sao Paulo, but I could not anticipate what Rio was going to have to offer. 

after checking in at the hotel, conveniently located on the beach, actually across the street like the rest of the hotels on the beach (unlike in America where people are  so lazy we have to plant the resort right in the sand right next to the water in fear of some random fatty having to tread more than 50 paces from their room down and through the sand because we all know how hard it is to walk in sand and I’m sure being obese doesn’t help the matter).  the long street right around the corner was filled with locals, covered in shops, markets, and eateries, with a healthy splattering of graffiti murals, each one a different style than the next.  there were only a few paintings that were completed by the same artist (huge assumption here, but that’s what it looked like and it's not like I could stop somebody and ask them in portuguese).  the vast majority of the graffiti that I’d seen up to this point had been from the bus, but now on the streets I was up close and personal with these fascinating works of art and there were still the plain black scribbles on the surroundings as well. 

I decided to be adventurous and walk around the beach area by myself to seek out some more graffiti.  I asked our guide if it was safe to be by myself in the streets of Rio and she seemed fully confident that no one would mess with me because I’m bigger than you.  I made my way toward the pier where the beach ended and saw more black cats than paintings so I continued on towards the bridge where I remembered seeing a couple tags from the bus.  when I finally made it there I had stumbled upon a goldmine of various paintings by different artists on the supports beneath the overpass. my initial impression of graffiti was that it was everywhere, but you had to seek out the good stuff.  at least that was my impression until I was pleasantly surprised as I traveled through the downtown streets of Rio by bus.  if there was a wall, it had paint on it.  If it was a side of a store or a market or a restaurant or a school, it didn’t matter, it was covered in amazing and finely rendered paintings.  i couldn’t get enough pictures downtown.  it was amazing.  the variety was vast in themes and messages, sizes, colors and writing styles. And each one was more exciting than the last. 

the only way this could possibly be appreciated is through days of travel by foot through the downtown streets of Rio where the graffiti brings an added feature of beauty to an already mysticly scenic country.  in my opinion, if you're into graffiti paintings then your time and money would be well spent on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, brasil.  and while youre there enjoy the beautiful people and their cultures.  i'm saving my money and learning Portuguese.

-- josh medler, march 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

more block print t-shirts

The t-shirts that Zach made over the weekend are more than amazing. You might think I speak of them with much bias. But the truth is, all the shirts are one of a kind, handmade pieces of wearable art. You won't ever have to worry about making the "Who wore it best?" headlines when you wear these shirts.

Every shirt starts with an original hand-carved linoblock image. Zach draws them:

... carves them (some images are made out of multiple layering blocks)

zach medler

... tests them

zach medler block print

and finally, he prints them.

zach medler

We have a limited number of these shirts and we hope to sell them all at this weekend's Indiana Artisan Marketplace. If you live in the area, do stop by the Indiana State Fairgrounds to see us! We'll be at booth 238! 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

the first spring day of spring

i spent the majority of the day in the studio printing t-shirts.  mindy brought me a sandwich for lunch and checked to make sure i wasn't making anything weird.  she keeps me on task like that.   when i got home she was working on an arugula basil pesto.  it smelled awesome, but then we tried it.  ugh.  recipes can encourage the addition of WAY too much salt sometimes.  she was quite upset with the pesto, so we decided to go for a walk to get away from it.  mindy had never been to celery bog, so we decided we'd take the short drive and walk on the trails.  we were immediately taken by all the new green in the woods.  we walked and talked about how we might develop collaborative work with her cousin, bernice, who works in the fashion industry.  we tossed ideas and intentions back and forth passed the black water rotten bog full of ducks and robins, squirrels and people with strollers, cameras, tripods, backpacks, bullshit, and walmart in the distance.  it was such a beautiful day: the first spring day of spring (it's been hot as hell here the last 3 weeks or so).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

cat + cat grass

cat + cat grass = a very happy cat

Friday, March 23, 2012

lean mean block printing machine

mindy and i went to the studio early today to do all the paper printing we had left to do before the indiana artisan martketplace next weekend.  it rained hard over night and through the morning so the first thing i did was check to see if the flood came back in the studio.  the guys working on the building cleaned out the drain in front of the garage door and built a retaining wall along the edge to divert the water that rushes off the hill toward the river.  luck would have it that it works.  the keith haring knock-offs i drew in the new cement held the water back.  and the fence row of super heroes i sprayed on the wall did their job in keeping the water at bay.

once i got over the joy of no more flooding i realized i forgot everything i had to work on, so i ran home again while mindy wandered around the studio prepping our space for printing.  we ended up making 250 post cards and greeting cards, every one different, mostly featuring our most popular images, as well as some new images we hope everyone will enjoy.  since dropping clay for the first time in ever, cards and small size prints will have to become our 'bill-payer' item.  they are toned down versions of some of the larger prints i've done, using as few blocks as possible to create the story.  these are something that we are intending to keep affordable, so i can't spend 2 hours putting 47 layers on one piece.  instead i'm focusing on trying to simplify my stories to be told in about 4-5 layers.  they are fun and thoughtful and a great way to communicate, and with mindy's help they went pretty quickly.

now we're on our way to our local crappy big box art/shit supply store (aka hobby lobby, aka hob nob, aka snobby lobby) to pick up some matt board to mount the prints to...

unfinished ...

lately everything has felt like it's in a state of unfinished.  the studio is unfinished.  the prints are unfinished. the tshirts.  the cards.  the houses.  living arrangements.  everything.  moving away from clay has been strange, like i'm missing something or forgetting to do something.

the last 2 days i built the walls and racks and pedestals for what will be our booth at the indiana artisan marketplace next weekend.  last night mindy and i went to the studio to load the walls into the van and see how much room we had left.  after being greeted by the loud-ass-headache-inducing-bullshit-metal that the people i share my studio with were blasting through the building, i began stuffing walls in the back of the van.  one, two, three hinged double panels and one wall with a clothes rack in the middle and a shelf, and two pedestal benches.  wait, those pedestals won't fit.  well, it was a disaster and i was red-faced pissed.  the blasting metal bullshit didn't help.  there was no room left.  none.  all i got in the van was the walls.  so unless i'm just showing off my carpentry skills (which i lack), i'm gonna need to re-evaluate this situation.

this morning after re-thinking, i will eschew the shelf since we have very little sculpture anyhow, and build another pedestal bench to hold the houses.  i pray it all fits in there this time.  ugh.  the business of selling things everyone likes but don't want to buy, sucks.  sometimes i think it would be wonderful to show up to an office at 8 and go home at 5, put my feet up in a la-z-boy chair and not remember what it is i did in the time i was awake.  but then, i remember that while i hate getting frustrated with a career in who-knows-what, an actual 'career' would whittle me into nothing worth thinking about.

so, today, it's back to the studio, (hopefully it won't be flooded, since it rained like hell last night) to finish up the last of the t-shirts, bags, books, and cards.  mindy is coming with me to help, which i love.  i like my space in the studio, but she is probably the one person who does not hinder me while i'm working.  she's inspiring.  other people seem to be soul-sucking,  like an anesthetic vaccuum in the studio.  i wish it only sucked up the dirt and dust on the floor.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Five Spice Pork Shoulder

I absolutely hate pork. But I love this fragrant five spice dish and the smell of it reminds me of home. Slow cooking the pork makes it tender and juicy. I make this for dinner, nibble at the pork and eat a big plate of rice drenched in the sweet and spicy sauce, dressed with baby bok choy, mushrooms, and quail eggs. Yum. 

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Shao Xing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp five spice powder
dash of pepper
2.5lb pork shoulder, trimmed 
2 bunches of baby bok choy, sliced
shitake mushrooms
can of quail eggs, drained (optional)
2 scallions, sliced (optional)

In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, combine first 7 ingredients. Add the pork and toss to coat.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
5 minutes before serving, gently fold baby bok choy, quail eggs and mushrooms into the pork and cook, covered, until heated through.
Serve with rice, topped with scallions.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Portland Magnolias

This first day of spring greeted us with ...

plenty of magnolia blooms!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

things we did over spring break ...

Zach cleaned off the patio, which gave us the space we needed to start a small herb garden ...

sage and tarragon with a jalapeno pepper plant in the middle

parsley, mint, basil, and thyme

then this happened:

like we thought it would ... and that's why we're also growing the cat his own bunches of yum (hopefully he'll stay off of ours).

sprouting catnip, cat grass, and cat oat grass

We also got Zach his early birthday gift ... 

that totally turned out to be a bigger gift for me!

grilled salmon with a side of roasted zucchini and wild rice

grilled steak, lemon pepper shrimp, and portobello mushrooms

grilled Jamaican jerk chicken wings, mixed vegetables and salad with lime dressing

We took a hike in Happy Hollow Park ... something we haven't done since the anaphylaxis episode.

Zach climbing up a maple tree!

Now both spring break and winter are officially over.

Hope you had a great weekend!

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