Saturday, August 31, 2013

Print Exchange 2013 Show

The print that Zach did for the Art House Coop's Print Exchange 2013 is on show at the Robert Blackburn Printshop in NYC, along with the other hundred of entries. If you live in NYC, the show will be up from September 5th through the 29th, with an opening reception on the 13th, from 6-8pm.


We loved being a part of the print exchange. It was so much fun receiving 10 other prints from participants across the globe. Here are some of the prints we love.






If you'd like to see all the entries online, go here.

SubSurface Graffiti

mindy and i traveled to indy today to visit the subsurface graffiti event.  they've got a bunch of walls and a bunch of guys from all over the country here painting.  we wandered around for a bit, then met up with pete brown, who offered to taxi us from wall to wall in his air conditioned automobile and introduce us to some of the guys painting.  it was hot as hell today: a rough day to be working on a wall, but it was cool to see a bunch of guys out painting and a bunch of new works going up.  here are some saturday afternoon process pictures!

indianapolis graffiti #SS2013

indianapolis graffiti

indianapolis graffiti

indianapolis graffiti

indianapolis graffiti

indianapolis graffiti #ss2013


indianapolis graffiti #SS2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

orange sky

I looked outside after dinner tonight, and saw the most awesome orange sky. Absolutely enchanting. As we head into the long weekend, I hope you find a little time to discover some magic in the everyday.

from the studio: 8.30

Super sneak peek at Zach trying something new ...


letter blocks say what

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our cat, the pacifist

This is a short video Zach shot of our cat with a cicada in the garden today.

Our cat, the pacifist. He observes, he studies, he plays, he taunts, he inspects, but he never kills. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

last cup standing

We are down to our last cup on Etsy! 

I love this teacup and saucer set embossed with ladybugs. It's so dainty, charming, and happy looking. I imagine it is perfect for that uplifting cup of afternoon tea!

zach medler ceramics
zach medler ceramics

Check out this cute ladybug set here on Etsy. And while you are there, check out some of the really cool 5x5 prints we added to the shop!

Here's a look at some of the mugs we've sold over the years ...


** fingers crossed ** that we'll get back to working in clay sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tractor and Golf Cart Parade

Small towns and their many quirky summer festivals. Have you been to any lately?

This tractor and golf cart parade is from the Tri-State Tractor and Engine show that takes place in Portland every summer. It's one of the biggest event in Portland, and it's mighty funny to this city girl!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Jamaican Veggie Soup

want something to transport yourself to the caribbean in these dying summer days?  whip up this jamaican veggie soup, throw some jerk chicken legs/wings on the grill, crank up the reggae, sip an ice cold beer or margarita, and kick your feet up to the end of the summer sun. 

i used molokhia in this soup.  it is a green leafy veggie you won't easily find it in your grocery store, unless you live in egypt (try asian or middle eastern grocery stores).  we are growing it in our garden, and had no idea what to do with it.  most recipes i found used it in soups and stews and that made sense considering its slimy, okra-like texture.  this is a really good soup.  hearty and flavorful.  don't worry if you can't find molokhia.  just replace it with spinach.  it won't have the slimy texture, but my guess is that here in the USofA, that's probably ok to most palettes.  give it try, mon.

ingredients (serves 4 as a side or starter dish.  mindy and i like to eat, so the two of us wiped this out w/ less than a serving leftover)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion
1 celery stalk
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch dried oregano
2 cups of chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cans of chicken stock
hot peppers or dried cayenne to taste
1 cup chopped molokhia (or fresh spinach)
6 or 7 cilantro sprigs

heat oil in a sauce pan.  add onion, celery, garlic and ginger.  sauté until onions are translucent and garlic is beginning to brown.  add in the spices and infuse all that trinity and oil and ginger for about a minute (stirring profusely to keep anything from burning).  add in the zuccs, potatoes, and chicken stock (use veggie stock if you want to go full vegan on this shit).  bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  cook for at least 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  you can simmer it longer if you want, but at least get the veggies soft.  then remove the soup from the heat and add in the molokhia and the cayenne pepper.  serve with a squeeze of lemon and top with fresh cilantro leaves.

suggestions:  chop up all your veggies pretty small so they are like tiny morsels of goodness in the flavorful broth.  if you want a thick creamy soup, hit it with an immersion blender.  the molokai can be easily replaced by fresh spinach.  we use molokhia because we are growing it in our garden and needed to use it for something.  it gives broth soups a thicker, slimier texture, like okra, but tastes actually similar to spinach, but more bitter.  serve it with some jerk chicken wings, put on some reggae and watch the sun set into whatever puddle you're near.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Garden Update: August 2013

After a beautiful week of early autumn-like temperatures, we find ourselves roasting in the summer heat and humidity of the midwest again. Even though I hate hot and steamy summer days, I love that the plants love it, and are using every ounce of it to grow and produce more fruit. By regularly foliar feeding the tomatoes and pepper plants a solution of epsom salts and sea kelp, I've been able to keep our plants flowering and flourishing. 

I thought that in lieu of the usual pictures, I'll do a little something different for this month's garden update by making a list of all the plants we planted this year. Of course, not everything we attempted was a success. Some plants we planted specifically for the cool spring weather, and others, for the heat of the summer. Some plants are perennials (from last year) that came back. Some plants are from the seeds that we started, and the ones we got impatient with, we ended up with store-bought transplants instead. We definitely weren't expecting to be 100% successful. We were mostly just having fun and being experimental. And we're glad for the failures since even the failures had lessons worth learning. 

picture of today's garden at 3pm

So here's our list ...

amaranth: red stripe and asia red
baby bok choy                              
basil: holy, thai, lettuce-leaf
blueberries: blue ray, jersey
broccoli rapini
carrots: tender sweet and little fingerlings
Catalina (wishbone flower)
cat mint
chin chiang cabbage
chives: Chinese (garlic) and regular
curry leaf plant
eggplants: lavender, little fingers
Impatiens (white double impatiens)
Irish poet tassels (flower)
kaffir lime
kai lan (Chinese broccoli)
kale: Siberian, blue curled
lavender: French, English
lettuce (a variety)
meyer lemon
mints: Vietnamese, orange, chocolate, peppermint
oregano: regular, spicy
ornamental oregano
pansies (a variety)
parsley : giant, flat leaf
peach tree
peppers: Chinese 5 color, mini bell, chocolate, Golden cal, purple, yellow, green, red, thai dragon, chili, jalapeno, shishito, banana pepper, Serrano, poblano
pepper cress
snapdragons (a variety)
strawberries (a variety)
swiss chard
thyme: lemon, silver
tomatoes: hybrid bush champion, roma, sweet baby girls
watermelon: little baby flower, malali
yu choy (a variety)

Pretty astounding for our tiny little patio. I can't wait till we have a "real" garden!

And in the spirit of getting ready for the fall, we planted 2 rounds of beets, some more carrots, and some turnips and radishes this month. We are also eager to try planting some Chinese veggies again. We don't have much luck with those. The worms seem to always be a step ahead of us. Maybe some floating row covers will help?

scarlet "sparkler" turnips and "pink beauty" radishes
red and golden beets
tender sweet baby carrots

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review of "County Fair" in the Journal and Courier

There was a really awesome review of County Fair in the local Journal and Courier yesterday, written by the amazing Tom Shafer. I'm a big fan of Tom's writing. He always manages to sift through the visual chaos and capture the myriad of meanings and layers, lending readers and visitors to the show brand new insight. You can scroll down for his review or read it here.

Review: Colorful 'county fair' will thrill young, old

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pringles and Olestra

This is Pringles and Olestra.

This, I believe, is their momma, though I only learned about it on hindsight. When I took this picture, I had no idea she had been busy laying her eggs on our celery plant. 

On July 28th, I found this hungry caterpillar on our celery. If you've been reading our blog for a while, you know I don't take well to worms. They scare me; I hate them. I took a picture of this nasty creature and sent it to Zach who was busy at work in the studio. Zach told me to save it for him so I tore off the leaf with the caterpillar on it and stuck it in an old ice-cream container. I shared the picture of my latest pest find on Facebook, and my brother suggested that I keep this caterpillar and watch it transform into a butterfly. I don't know what prompted me to actually go through with his nutty idea, but that was how feeding and caring for this caterpillar came to be.

The very next day, I found another caterpillar on the same celery plant. I chopped off another leaf and stuck it in the same container. I thought the caterpillars needed names, so I studied them real hard and found little "faces" on their behinds. The "face" reminded me of this:

so former caterpillar #1 became Mr. Pringles, and caterpillar #2, Miss Olestra.

Pringles entered the chrysalis stage on August 8th. We had an idea when it was happening, but we missed the entire episode.

Olestra was in less of a hurry to transform. She only became a chrysalis on August 18, ten whole days after Pringles. We slept through her transformation too.

We had no idea how long this chrysalis stage would last. I tried looking up some information, but since I didn't know what sort of butterfly we were expecting, it was hard to get an exact time frame. Then yesterday, 11 days after Pringles became a chrysalis, his metamorphosis was complete. We woke up to see a stunning butterfly eager to be freed. Of course, we missed all the overnight action as usual.

We took Pringles out to our wildflower patch and set him free.

Now we'll wait for Miss Olestra to do her thing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

re: chapter 4: collage

'family portrait' is collection of framed panels.  i love how the ugly frames work in this piece.

collage is the way that i work.  it is as natural a part of the process as drawing itself.  but i don't use print media.  in fact, i'm really pretty terrible at cutting and tearing out magazine and other print media pieces to tell a story.  it's better when i make my own.  but everything starts from the idea of layering individual images and patterns into a conglomerate narrative.  and typically i layer them onto an already-collaged-together surface of assembled items, creating many layers of layers.

letter blocks say what
this piece is 'untitled'.  it is a stencil collage layered together.  there is so much to discover in its many layers.

the way i understand 'collage' is as a verb meaning: to assemble items, taken out of their original context to create a new conglomerate context, which is built from the context of each individual assembled out-of-context item.  and this follows through for everything i collage with.  the images and patterns work the same way.  they all have their own context.  and when i combine them together the narratives come out, but they don't come out in watercolor.  they develop out of their own back stories; their own context.
a bit more intentional than many of my other works, 'ed-u-ma-cation' tells a more direct story, but all the layers of pattern and objects give it a context that touches closer to home than if i just put these images on canvas.  that tray is meaningful.  so is the drawer and the denim jacket with the capitol on it. see this post for more details.

this is how stories gain depth and richness, and the strength of visual narrative, is its ability to only suggest a narrative, and allows the viewers mind to tell the story.  thereby, making it relatable.  suggest a direction but do not lead or insist.  i like that my work can be hypocritical.  that means that there's not too much there as to tell the viewer exactly the route to take or story to tell.  i like that some of them start to become like scavenger hunts, where the viewer just starts looking to try to find all the different images in the work.  that searching then becomes part of the narrative.  collage is just working in a contemporary drawing method.  there are many layers to living and collage mimics that.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Middle Eastern Okra and Tomato Beef Stew

I've seen Persian, Iranian, Greek, Lebanese, and Pakistani recipes for okra and tomato stew, so for this week's recipe, I'm making a combination of all those versions and simply calling mine "Middle Eastern"- inspired.

This simple and flavorful dish is best made in the summer because of the abundance of fresh okras and tomatoes around. Make it for someone who hates okra. I'm pretty certain this will change their mind!

1lb beef stew meat (you can also use lamb if you prefer)
1lb okra, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1lb roma tomatoes, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste

Marinate beef stew meat with tumeric, salt, pepper, and coat with all-purpose flour. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook okra and onion in a little bit of olive oil until okra is bright green and onions are soft. Remove okra and onion from pot and set aside.
In the same pot, cook beef and garlic in olive oil. When beef is no longer pink, add tomatoes.
Cook tomatoes until saucy, stir in half of the cilantro, then cover, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, add okra and onion to the pot. Cover and simmer for another 1/2 hour.
Before serving, stir in remaining cilantro and lemon juice.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

re: chapter 3: light and plex
the city scape is built into the shadow box of the tv and backed with plex and a light.

one of my favorite materials to paint is plexiglass.  it's one of the few surfaces that i actually spend money on and purchase new.  images painted on plex tend to have a hi-def look to them.  they are super clear and sharp edges look SHARP.  the transparency of the plex is great for creating layers of depth to look through.  plus (and this is super important), it remains translucent after sloshing it with paint.  this allows me to back light it and give the work another dimension.

zachmedler.blogspot.comthe high gloss surface itself plays really nicely off of all the reclaimed surfaces that surround it.  it has the manufactured plastic look to it, even after painting on it.  and placing it appropriately within the dynamic of the overall assemblage, the sheen of the surfaces contrasts perfectly with the dull and destroyed found objects.  but adding light, brings a whole new dimension.  it suggests the notion that something exists behind the surfaces, giving depth to the work that is otherwise not there with the light off.  using light is nothing new.  flavin was doing it way back in the day.  many artists use it now, but for me adding light to a work means more than just the brightness.  while flavin's work with fluorescent bulbs flattened out everything behind it, my work with light tends to do the opposite.  but then i'm not near as minimal as he was.

for me, adding light is all about thinking in a contemporary way.  what is life without electricity?  and more, what is life without at-your-beckon light.  so it's important for me to find ways to include the idea of 'plugging in' a painting.  this is something that i work with regularly, but it is still a very vague idea that i'm sketching my way through.  the assemblages work perfectly for the idea of adding light, because the whole piece is not lit up.  it plays off the contrast of 'no light.'  but i love experimenting with the extra dimension that it brings.
the plex in this 'fake plastic dolls' gives depth and dimension to the flat surface.  it also acts as that cheap plastic toy packaging. mindy wrote about this painting last year. if you like to read it, find the post here.

using light allows me to think of my paintings as more alive.  like the way a city develops in layers over time: the skyscraper built on top of old shophouses and super highways built on top of cobblestone streets.  it points to the idea of 'progress,' while exposing that which has been progressed upon.

zach medler
this piece hangs at Star City Coffee and Ale House in lafayette.  it is a single large piece of plex, painted on both sides and illuminated as a light box.  the plex allows for a lot of depth using just a few layers.

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