We’ve had Mary Delany lingering in the back of our minds since reading about her in the New York Times Book Review two months ago, in a review of The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock. Delany is the artist behind over 1000 beautiful botanical collages, like the one seen above, which use nothing but paper and a few found bits to recreate flowers and other plant-life in astonishing detail.
What speaks to us about Delany, however, is not just the richness of her work but the sadness and triumph in the story behind her art. read more…
Don’t forget to enter our Mystery Tree Contest. Just tell us what you think it is in the Comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of Sally’s award-winning cookbook The Improvisational Cook. To check out the wonderfully imaginative entries that have come in so far, scroll down to the bottom of the original post. The contest ends Tuesday June 14th; we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.
We found this on Roy Arden’s great blog Under the Sun, and have no idea what it is. So we thought we’d make it into a contest. Tell us what you think this Mystery Tree Structure is in the Comments box below. Fiction and fantasy are fine. The best one gets a prize: a signed copy of Sally’s The Improvisational Cook. Contest ends Tuesday, June 14th.
Our friend Maria Robledo LOVES her garden and makes the most astonishing, impromptu arrangements from her cuttings. We were charmed and delighted by the arrangement we found on her dining table recently: no vase, no water, just a spray and a cluster of flowers placed directly on the tabletop. The flowers stayed fine throughout several hours of dinner, and Maria gave them to us to take home. We put them in water and they are just fine, two days later. The gist: read more…
A while ago, we posted an YouTube video of artist Theo Jansen’s astonishing Strandbeests, the huge, mechanical walking beests made of PVC pipe that are propelled by the wind. Jansen considers to himself to be grappling with a new form of life. In this video, he talks about the reproduction of the Strandbeests, and echoes an idea that is in the wind these days: our everyday products are the result of an artificial evolution that is similar to natural evolution. It’s what Norwegian designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen’s was exploring in her toast spoons…a sort of genetic code inherent even in inanimate objects. We owe Stuart Mason Dambrot, the concilientist|futurist we shared a cab with a while ago, for introducing this idea to us when he slyly sent us both links in the same email. The Jansen video, above, makes the concept really understandable:
“The strategy of the StrandBeest is that they charm the people. They seduce people to make them and they also seduce me to make them… read more…
When the news becomes abstract, we turn to the Big Picture’s slideshows to help us GET what is really going on. We recommend their current slideshow of the flooding Mississippi: at once frightening, heartbreaking and beautiful.
We’ve been getting emails from friends who are on their way down to the ramp supper in Helvetia, West Virginia – ramps being the pungent wild leek that grows throughout the Appalachian and Catskill mountains. We wrote about the supper this time last year, when we were headed to Helvetia ourselves, to the feast served family style in the community hall by the Farm Women’s Association – ham, beans, cornbread, slaw, applesauce, hash browns, ramps raw and cooked.
The 2011 ramp supper marks a year of big changes: two of Helvetia’s visionary elders passed away and the unique Swiss culture of the town seemed threatened. But the younger folk there are pulling together to protect and nourish what they realize to be a rare place, carrying on its rich traditions and legacy. In honor of this big transition, we reprise a chunk of the post Sally wrote last year about the spectacular Helvetia Ramp Supper, including a recipe that contains a basic method of preparing ramps that can be used for endless improvising. We offer it despite having recently read the disturbing news of the threat to ramps from over-harvesting reported in the New York Times. We don’t want to stop eating ramps – but we want to know that they were harvested sustainably, and perhaps, buy less this year, just a taste’s worth to remind us of the wild…
…found at Raised on Sandwiches with these words: “the smell of fog juice in action… reminds me of chicago’s most talented folks”.
We looked at that fog, and thought again about unformed ideas coursing around, in confusion… the seeming impossibility of finding answers and then – clarity, illumination, understanding as the fog clears. This fog made us think of the opposite of fog.
Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot of people complaining about how little time they have, how stressed they are by all there is so do, being hyper-scheduled and unable to get off the strange treadmill they have found themselves on, trying to keep everything going. We’ve been mulling this very thing for quite a while now, wondering if it’s our VIEW of time that is the problem, or how we organize ourselves…remembering times in our lives when we felt there was enough time.
We find ourselves taking great comfort in this photo of Patti Smith in the ’70′s. “Fuck the clock!“: simple and to the point, an essential attitude to start working into our days.
We also found many great nuggets in the The Possibilian, the April 25th New Yorker profile by Burkhard Bilger about brillianto/researcher David Eagleman, whose brush with death – and that slow-motion thing that happens during an accident – catalyzed his obsession with the mysteries of time and the brain.
Here are our favorite bits (among many) that shed light on the big question of how time works: read more…
Every once in a while, when we need a little perspective, we check into the Scale of the Universe website, created by Cary and Michael Huang. Move the slider from left to right and back to be reminded where you stand in the scheme of things, and of just what mysteries are out/in here. Here it is in flash.
In the past month, two dear friends from the tiny hamlet of Helvetia in the West Virginia Appalachians passed away. With them goes a great deal of memory and wisdom and beauty. We’re heading down there to pay our respects, and… just be for a while…in Appalachia’s astonishing spring, as we remember their wild, rich, completely original lives.
“Rage, rage at the dying of the light”. Eleanor Mailloux wrote us this fragment of the famous poem by Dylan Thomas when she was diagnosed with a deadly cancer. She didn’t rage, though. At age 94, she opted for no treatment, spent time with her many friends, and made no bones about the fact that she was dying, which, we realize once again, is a process of pure improvisation.
We thought it fitting to post this wondrous video of a walk along all 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, that spans from Georgia to Maine. Using stop motion, Kevin Gallagher condensed a six month journey into five minutes. Watch full screen for a mesmerizing and enlivening walk.
We’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the state of our hearts.