Baking and Birthdays

We have two September birthdays* in our family, and I baked from the book for both.

Actually, first there was a peach galette back in August sometime for no reason whatsoever:

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Went so fast, I couldn’t get a picture of it whole!

These were intended for my dad, whose birthday is the 14th:

The Dutch Pecan Sandies

The Dutch Pecan Sandies

As I’ve said before, any cookie whose name begins with ‘The’ appeals to me. And these definitely appealed to me! I can usually bake cookies, have one or two out of the oven, and leave it there. These I could not stop eating! A bit salty, not too sweet, and very delicate. Too delicate to mail, actually. I think my dad would have gotten a box of crumbs had I tried, at least that’s what the guys here said. Maybe they just wanted to eat them… Sorry Daddy, I owe you a batch of cookies!

But most importantly, the 10th was the 28th birthday of this guy, son #2:

Dan, the birthday boy on the left, Brent, soon to be married!, on the right

Dan, the birthday boy on the left, Brent, soon to be married!, on the right

He googled to figure out the most complicated recipe in the book**, and this was his choice:

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White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousseline

The white chocolate makes for a wonderful cake, the topping seems light (I know what’s in it, trust me, it isn’t actually light), and the tartness of the raspberries keeps it all from being too sweet. Definitely worth the trouble!

*oops, sorry Kristyn! 

**ok, I made that part up. He probably just went by the picture and title. Maybe.

Abstract


I’ve been reading The Art of Abstract Painting, by Rolina van Vliet. It’s an interesting book, and guides you through a few different ways of taking an image as a starting point and working it in the abstract. It seems like an interesting technique to use for designing tapestries. (Just in time for the class!)

I started with this watercolor:

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Quick sketch of basic shapes

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Watercolor & ink, primary colors

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Ink sketch, less details

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Mostly monochromatic watercolor

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Moving the shapes around

None of the quick studies I did are anything I particularly like, which is fine, as that isn’t the point. Rather, it’s the difference between the last image, and the original watercolor, the way there seems to be almost no connection between them, that really interests me:

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Pastels, softening the shapes

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Morris & Warhol

The latest issue of Through Our Hands magazine has an interesting review of an exhibit at the Birmingham Museum and Art gallery, Love Is Enough. Artist Jeremy Deller, a Turner Prize winner, has put together an unlikely combo, William Morris and Andy Warhol.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelmscott_Press#The_Kelmscott_Press

Cover of the Socialist League’s manifesto of 1885 featuring art by Morris

 

I was unaware that Warhol did tapestries (did everyone else know that?), you can see the tapestry version of his famous Monroe here.

 Too bad it’s so far away, I would love to see the Holy Grail Tapestries in person!

Do check out the issue, it’s free and has quite a few articles worth reading!

One down

The first scarf is off the loom, blocked, fringe trimmed and ready to wear. I’m really very pleased with this one!

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It has a lovely drape and is incredibly soft.

I love the way the 3-1 twill creates such distinctive sides:

Front and back, post-blocking

Front and back, post blocking

Best compliment, from Son #4, “You could wear this and people would ask where you bought it.” High praise, indeed!

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Details: on loom- 13 1/4″ x 73″, 9.8 PPI

Off loom- 13 3/4″ x 68″

Post blocking- 13″ x 65″, 12 PPI

Ravelry link

So, on to the rest of the warp, choosing a different weft and perhaps a 2-2 twill this time?

Endings & Beginnings

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

Wrapped and burned Tulle, found bolts and washers, wire

After over a year spent working on the Foundations: Textiles course from OCA, I’ve realized that it isn’t taking me where I want to go. This is a mixed media art course, rather than a purely textiles course, with minimal teacher/tutor support. While this may be perfect for many students, personally I need a bit more guidance, a more hands-on, textile-based practice. I’m withdrawing from the course, though I plan to finish the last assignments independently, but without the time & expense of submission and the lengthy analytical posts. (What, you’re not sorry to be denied my artistic navel-gazing?!)

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I’ve learned a great deal this past year, been introduced to amazing artists and found some wonderful resources that I will continue to use. Understanding the important role research and sketchbook work can play is probably the most valuable thing I’ll take away from this experience. However, weaving is the area I really want to focus on, and am looking forward to Rebecca Mezoff‘s Tapestry Weaving course, starting in September!

Burnt edges

Burnt edges

Coffee or Tea?

I belong to a lovely FB page, Sketchbooks and Experiments for Textiles, full of talented artists, where there is a July challenge to post something daily. I won’t bore you (there is a you reading this somewhere, right?) with all of them (I certainly haven’t managed daily contributions!), but here are some experiments I did on making the background with tea leaves or ground coffee:

top:silver tip white lower L: blueberry black lower R: Moroccan green

top: silver tip white
lower L: blueberry black
lower R: Moroccan green

I wetted the paper, sprinkled the tea leaves, then sprayed them with water. After it dried, it looked like this:

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A whole page, ready to use:

Blueberry Black Tea-stained background

Blueberry Black Tea-stained background

Finished piece:

Stamped with weeds, dipped in watercolor

Stamped with weeds, dipped in watercolor

Same technique for the background, only using ground coffee instead, then sprayed watercolors around a stencil:

Coffee-stained paper, watercolor

Coffee-stained paper, watercolor

Next, using a piece of cotton fabric:

Coffee-stained

Coffee-stained

Fabric wrapped, soaking in wine

Fabric wrapped, soaking in wine

 

It just looks sort of old and dirty, though more interesting in real life than in the photo. Perhaps another dyeing session, Shibori-style?

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Baking

There’s been some baking going on, of course from The Book.

Back in April, we enjoyed the brilliantly modeled (by sons #2 & 4, how handsome are they?) Polish Princess:

The Polish Princess

The bottom layer is sponge cake, brushed with Tea Vodka syrup. The middle layer is a cocoa pastry buttercream (omitted the walnuts), the final layer is vanilla pastry buttercream (skipped the raisins), topped with grated bittersweet chocolate. What’s not to like? Nothing, it was amazing and very pretty!

Then in May, the fabulously named Double Damage Oblivion:

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Double Damage Oblivion

Rose describes this as “my ultimate flourless chocolate cake sandwiched between layers of my ultimate deep chocolate passion layer cake.” We opted for the jam instead of ganache to hold the layers together, seemed like there was enough chocolate already. Not that you can really have enough chocolate, can you? It doesn’t have the visual impact of the Princess, but was very, very good.

And finally, earlier this month, Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache (RLB is nothing, if not modest. See quote above… But she’s also right. No one bakes or writes recipes that come anywhere near hers!)

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Chocolate Pavorati with Wicked Good Ganache

Now, what to bake for our upcoming visit from Woman of Letters (and her Mr., I’m sure she’ll share). The summery Perfect Peach Galette or the decadently chocolate Posh Pie?

Progress

About 36" woven

About 36″ woven

The warp is long enough for two 72″ scarves, so this is about halfway through the first.

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Very pleased with the 1-3 twill, it makes each side of the fabric very distinctive.

Right side detail

Right side detail

Originally planned for a balanced weave, with warp at 22 EPI, but my weft is more like 13-14 PPI. Feels right, but we’ll see how it is after blocking!