Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Wish For Us All...

Image: Empyreal(adj) Celestial, elevated- from "The Word Project: Odd & Obscure Words- Illustrated."

PS.Publish "The Word Project" My project, thanks.

Bits & Bobs to Wrap Up the Year

1. I come across some truly baffling button designs during my button-hunts. I sometimes get the bags of mixed buttons from craft shops and cull them rather drastically, usually only 20-30 make it but the hunt is the thing. I really enjoy an evening of sorting buttons- well, it takes all kinds and it is harmless... Here are some that I came across recently that are so fascinatingly ugly that I have designated them the "2009 Buttons of the Year!" No, there have not been B-of-the-Y's for previous years and I will probably forget by this time next year, but there you are. What makes these worthy of this accolade? Well, to me they look like little maggot tartlets. You cannot see the detail but the little curls close up look like larvae and the edges look like nut-crusts. I have absolutely no idea where or when I will use them- though thinking of it they would be perfect for a "Mad-Men" style jacket made of a brown and lavender tweed.... that'll be #734 on my list of things to do.

2.I saw "Avatar" this past week in 3D. It was my first experience with the new 3D technologies. The last time was at a drive-in in the early 70's... It was stunning. I still have some problems motion-capture CGI figures; there is always something stiff around the chest/collarbones/shoulders; the skin is too tautly elastic- no wrinkles at the joints. The world seemed very completely realized, but I had to ask myself why all of the other fauna were consistently hexapeds while the "humans" only had 4 limbs- doesn't make evolutionary sense. But these are mere quibbles- I highly recommend it as an immersive experience- absolutely frivolous but life cannot be all serious all the time.

3.I am so very very grateful for all of the good things (and there are many) that have happened this past year. And even a little for the no-so-great things (and there have been more than a few)- they have been lessons that I needed to learn and I hope I am the better for them.

May you have blessed new years.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Once more with feeling...

I'm trying again with Kickstarter- this time with a much more focussed project: Publishing The Word Project.
Please visit the site and if you like what you see- pledge and then tell your friends. Even if you don't pledge- tell your friends! link to the page! blog about how wonderful it is!

There is currently a problem viewing the video, please check back- (but there's nothing stopping you from pledging now.....)


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tea & Shortbread

ince the name of this blog is "ArtWordsTea" and it is full into winter, I thought I should write a bit about tea. I drink a lot of it- mostly iced. I know- iced tea in winter? Well, (too many but that is another post) many people drink sodapop during the winter but you don't expect them to drink it hot do you? But I digress...
This time of year, I also drink a lot of hot tea. It used to be Earl Grey but nowadays it is more likely to be Lady Grey which is more fragrant with bergamot yet also not so strident. I also commit blasphemy by drinking it with milk- and sometimes a splash of caramel syrup. This is my version of the what the Hudson Valley Coffee Traders cafe- just down the street from me- serves. They use vanilla syrup and call it a Fog and it is delicious. I didn't have any vanilla syrup but I did have a dusty bottle of caramel syrup left over from something I can't recall and gave it a (pardon the pun) shot. I'm calling it a Cashmere and I'm sticking with it. But most of the time my tea is milky but unsweetened.
Since we are hurtling towards Christmas there have been invitations to potlucks. If the event is in the afternoon, i usually make Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread. I use a recipe from Melissa Clark's delightful column for the NYTimes and it is a hit every time I make it. I use a battered food processor- a benefit of my older brother's brief flirtation with cooking. (I also scored a stand mixer from the aftermath of his quixotic attentions.) On the low-tech end of the tool spectrum, I use a mezzaluna to finely chop the rosemary. This tool has two parallel arced blades and you use it by rocking it back and forth over the herbage. It never leaves the surface of the cutting board and chops much finer, in less time, and uses less effort than a knife.
I have an ivitation for this afternoon and the shortbread is in the oven, the fragrance of the rosemary and lemon with the hint of sugar fills the air.
Time for some tea...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

But I Wouldn't Want My Child to Be One...

I visited the site for United States Artists the other day when they announced their 2009 grants- alas I was not among the grantees, the notice had not been lost in the mail- and came across this bit of disturbing but not surprising information:
"A country that loves art, not artists
In a survey of attitudes toward artists in the U.S. a vast majority of Americans, 96%, said they were greatly inspired by various kinds of art and highly value art in their lives and communities. But the data suggests a strange paradox. While Americans value art, the end product, they do not value what artists do. Only 27% of respondents believe that artists contribute "a lot" to the good of society."

Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Consider the Persimmon

I ran into a friend the other day at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock. He reached into a shopping bag pulled something out and put it into my hand. It was a Japanese persimmon, still hard and a bit cold from the air outside. A small, simple act but it really stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn't stop staring at the persimmon nestled in my palm. It was as smooth and marvelously opaque as soapstone- as dense and hefty, too. The burnt orange of the skin just radiated like an ember. The smooth symmetry of the fruit, contrasted with the ruffled, brown remnants of blossom- ah, it was just enthralling. I sat and contemplated it for a while, resisting the urge to gurgle "preciousssss...."

It now sits on my bedside table reminding me of the beauty and perfection of nature, and to take the time to appreciate her gifts and the generosity of friends.

A Tree Grows in Kingston

There has been much activity around the trees on where I live on Wall St. in Kingston- much of it sad but now some of it serendipitously joyful and a bit subversive. The sad started about a month ago when crews started to cut down many of the Black Locusts that lined the street- also sad was the fact that they usually started in with their chain saws at 6am. There are damn few natural amenities in this area, the shade of the trees was one of them.
But a wonderful thing happened late one evening about 2 weeks ago. I heard pounding outside of my front windows. I saw a "tree" going up on one of the bare stumps left after the decimation of the locusts!
The activity was anonymous as so many wonderful happenings are- the anti-vandals struck and disappeared, melting into the night.
I remember thinking that the tree probably wouldn't last the night let alone the next day, but I was wrong. It has stood these past weeks totally unmolested.

That must have encouraged the anti-vandals because just a few minutes ago, I once again heard pounding out on the street...

Another tree- even more charming than the first- has gone up right in front of my windows:

I want to thank these anonymous anti-vandals who have taken something so ugly and crass and turned it into an opportunity for wonder and gladness.

(The sound of pounding continues down the block....)