Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunlight, Paper, Ink, Wax and Inspiration + Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This fall is one of the most glorious ones that I can remember. I don't know if that is because it is in fact one of the most beautiful falls, or if I am just making a point to notice. Fall weather in Colorado can be bipolar. The year that Ethan was born, on Labor day in the very start of September, it snowed as we were bringing him home. I remember because I did not have the right clothes for him. In the past we would have already had some serious snow, but not so far this year, and I don't know when it will come. Other years, the first snow of any significance was on Halloween.

Either way, I made sure to get out in the fall air and enjoy the warmth of the sun on my skin, especially on my face.

On Saturday I went seeking artistic inspiration. I was a bit stuck on how to begin the castle that I must build in a few short weeks, so I thought talking to other artist might help.

My first stop was at the Pacific Coast Origami conference, which was in a hotel in Boulder. The portions of the public exhibit and vendors was very small, but interesting and the people were very welcoming. I took a number of photos to show my students who like to give a go at origami

From there I set off to visit as may studios as I could fit in a day. It was the final day of the Boulder Open Studio event which takes place during the first two weekends of October. I have been before, but it had been years. I wanted to talk to other artists, I wanted to see what they were creating and I wanted to see how they organized their spaces. I had expected to be dazzled by a host of spacious rooms with great ventilation and windows or plexiglass garage doors that allowed the sun to stream in. I was surprised to find that many of the studios were in tiny, often dark, rented spaces. Each artist made his/her space very personalized and many of the spaces were inspiring, but I also went home feeling like the cozy set up that I have in a what used to be a spare bedroom, quite sufficient.

My favorite part was talking to the artists.

I first encountered Susan Douglass who is a retired geologist. She creates very moving sculptures from her retired vellium maps from places she has been to. The shapes of her sculptures imitate some natural feature, whether that be weather, rocks, water, etc. I loved how close I could get to them. She also does a series of painting about weather. The one I have below I think is an interpretation of snow.

Liz Quan has a studio next to Susan. Liz creates exquisite porcelain sculptures. Her studio and art made me wish that I had the patience to work with that stubborn clay. I could imagine myself sitting in the sun streaming from the window in her studio carving away at the beginnings of small clay pieces. Then I remembered that porcelain and I do not get along very well, so I settled back into admiring her work.

Next up, I stopped in to see Alix Christian's studio. I know her from Two Hands and I wanted to see her space. It was my favorite studio of all. The previous tenants were leather workers. They lined some of the walls with old, worn wood and Alix's husband made wonderful, shallow shelves to hold her framed pieces.

Alix's talent style has many different styles. I was very inspired by her kid-like pieces. I may create some art like hers with art my children made when they were young. Alix is very positive and inspiring. I hope to be able to take part in one of her open studios some day. It is a bit of a challenge for me since they take place on week days.

I also stopped by a shared printing studio and encountered a few artists that I know from going to Anderson Ranch. It was nice to have a chance to chat with them.

I was also very smitten with the art of printer, Theresa Haberkorn. I am very interested in trying out wood block carved prints. I love the personality in these pieces, especially the piglet pieces. She gave me permission to show the printing blocks and the prints.

Phil Lewis had the most beautiful, gallery like space and lots of interesting art. I enjoyed learning about how his artistic processes have evolved over the years. He was kind enough to allow me to show you in the photos below.

I picked my way through a intentionally created community to see the artwork of Lee Heekin. I would have liked to talk with her about her art, but she was not there. I am very intrigued by the encaustics that she creates. It appears that she makes the boxes and does a multi-layer wax pour. After it is cooled and set, she afixes a lightbulb into the back of the box. The idea is very thrilling to me.

The best surprise of the day came from meeting Molly Hargarten. She and I like so many of the same kinds of things and have such similar artistic interests that I could imagine that we might become friends. We talked about artistic processes and realizations that we have both made. I even asked her if she would like to get together and make art some time. She had many wonderful pieces, but the red-winged blackbirds were my favorite, hands down. After leaving her studio, I was so uplifted that I decided that was a good place to end my self-guided tour. There were at least 150 more studios I could have visited, but I was satisfied and ready to head home.

Cabbage Rolls

2 pound lean ground beef
1 large Red Onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 pounds cabbage, chopped into bite size pieces (I use about 1/2 a med. head of cabbage, the weight is approximate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Tomatoes, Fire Roasted, Chopped (about 14 oz.)
¼ cup chopped parsley
1-2 TB Basil, dried
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
2 cup cooked rice
1 large pizza dough, or bread dough

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a pan on medium heat and add ground beef until cooked. Drain off the fat. Remove and place in a bowl.
To the skillet add onions, garlic and olive oil and cook stirring for 5 minutes. Add in the cabbage and cook longer, until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add in tomatoes, parsley, basil, lemon juice, salt & pepper (if using) and stir well. Finally add cooked rice and the cooked ground beef.Stir well to mix.

Divide the dough into balls about the size of a racket ball. Roll each one out on a floured board. Place about 1/4 cup of the cabbage mixture in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to make a pocket. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Repeat until they are all constructed. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the hot rolls with butter right after removing them from the oven.

These travel well. Sometimes I add a bit of Worchestershire sauce to the mix if it needs a bit of kick.

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