Seems like forever ago that I last posted. Yes, I have been busy and became infatuated with the immediacy of posting to Twitter. . .
My friend Deborah Hall, owner / vintner of Gypsy Canyon Winery selected a short description for one of her new releases: The Collector's Pinot Noir 2013. I highly recommend the wine . . . an extraordinary vintage!
You can learn more about Gypsy Canyon Winery as well as her Ground Boots project that is "funding global good, sip by sip," at GypsyCanyon.com.
A Beautiful start to 2015
The saga of my new license plate
Festival only to discover I had received another fine for not having a front license plate. Now, I understand city's are strapped for money and Police Departments are looking to generate additional revenue, but really . . . after almost 14 years to get tickets for not having a front license plate?
This time, I made an appointment with DMV and paid for two new plates. Since this car was not intended to sport a front license plate my options were to a) drill holes into the plastic bumper, b) jury-rig magnets in a way that I found online in an Audi TT chat room, or c) take it to the Audi dealership and pay about $150 for a new specially designed plastic license plate holder. Yes, I chose option 3. Having recently just replaced my oil pan — most likely from driving on our rutted dirt road to my studio — $150 seemed like a bargain!
agaves are magical
This agave is in the front "bowl" of my property . . . I am always in awe of quickly they seem to shoot up their majestic stalks and how efficient they are at capturing the slightest amount of moisture to stay alive!
SO MANY FUN THINGS TO DO!
Riviera Theater, its easy to run across the street to the El Encanto Hotel for a drink at the end of the day while watching the sail boats off the coast.
A few days later several other friends and I spent a fun day in Los Angeles. After exploring the National History Museum and Exposition Park, we headed to for dinner. Then off to The Music Center for the Dizzy Feet Foundation's "Celebration of Dance" to see a variety of excellent dance performances by some of our favorite So You Think You Can Dance artists and more!
I also have been hearing some really good music lately . . . at the Solvang Festival Theater's Jazz In the Garden series Grammy nominee Denise Donatelli presented an outstanding performance under the oaks, so did Chicago jazz singer Paul Marinaro, and a couple of weeks ago the Brazilian sounds of Téka and NewBossa. Friday night was introduced to the Missouri-based bluegrass / folk group Clusterpluck at Casa Dumetz Winery in Los Alamos that I and others are meeting up tonight at Standing Sun Winery where they will be performing!
When i Grow up . . .
Most especially, it was terrific because I shared it with dear friends Joan and Jim whose son, Dirk, plays in Joan's band and is a virtuoso in his own right!
Orange and Cucumber Salad
If you're like me . . . there is nothing better than going to the Farmers Market and selecting fresh ingredients for a summer salad. I really like this one . . . especially with some cracked crab or
bandhini and shibori
Today I became acquainted with the beautiful tie and dye process of India known as Bandhini and Shibori.
Bhandini is one of the oldest forms of surface embellishment done on textiles with references dating back to the Jain Manuscripts. The meticulous process is created mainly by the Khatri artisans. I was introduced to this meticulous process through a traditional chitarnar (artist / designer) who draws the patterns on the fabric — sometimes floral, abstracted circles and zig-zags, figures, animals, birds or trees. The chitamar I was introduced to works with about 300 women and men to produce her exquisite designs.
The fabric is speckled with tiny square-shaped dots (bindi) typically done by women knotters (bandnari), who tediously pinch and resist tie the silk with thin threads before it is dyed.
Customarily, the dyeing is done by men — ranganaar or dyer — who dye the textile pieces in either natural vegetable or man-made dyes. Their proficiency is seen in the hues and balanced blending of color that is radiated from the material.
Shibori is another tie and dye method that creates pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting or compressing cloth. The method is generally determined by the characteristics of the cloth used.
The gorgeous scarves and shawls shown in a trunk show were from the region of Gujarat, which is renowned for its textiles. Though hard to decide because the colors are so sumptuous, I finally decided on two natural pigmented scarves — one to be a gift. Mine was dyed using purpurin, which is only present in the natural form of madder and imparts an orange/red tone. The other was dyed using indigo.
A day of Exploring and learning
Some days are just like that . . . no matter where you go or what you do, you come away so much the richer (or more frustrated) by the experience or information learned.
Today started with a guided walking tour, sponsored by the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, of the newly designated Santa Inés Historic Park with property steward Wayne Sherman. Joining me were friends Deborah (aka Gypsy, for those who followed my Morocco blog) and Joan.
The tour began at the Old Mission Santa Inés, one of California's 21 missions spread out between San Diego and Sonoma that was founded in 1804 by Father Estévan Tapis of the Franciscan order. We learn that much of the original church was destroyed in an 1812 earthquake centered near Santa Barbara. Next, we head downhill through an old Mission walnut grove and past a relatively newly replanted olive grove to one of California's earliest industrial sites — a once water-powered grist mill (1819) and fulling mill (1821). The latter permitted the production of much finer wool cloth.
While the former property owners did a lovely restoration of the old mill buildings, the State Historic Parks, in my humble opinion, were remiss in not replanting heirloom olive varietals that would have been authentic to this property — especially since they are growing olives now in hope of generating some needed funding to offset the expenses of managing the property.
Cindy Douglas, Farm Manager, leads us first through a discussion of the walnut grove, which is one of the cooperative groves that produce organic walnuts and walnut oil under the La Nogalera label. Our friend Mary Jane (aka Mama Rosa on my Morocco blog) is also a walnut farmer / ember of the cooperative.
Next, we head to the Tutti Frutti hoop greenhouses to discuss the organically farmed heirloom tomatoes and other row crops they produce. Unbelievably (and sadly), we are told that 50% of their production is sold through national chain grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Safeway, while 10% is sold through the several weekly farmers markets in Santa Barbara / Montecito / Goleta and the Food Bank, and 40% goes unsold / unused. Incredible. Part of our discussion is the need to bring farmers such as Tutti Frutti in contact with local restaurants, schools, hospitals and other end-users. However, it also seems hard to understand why the cost of their produce at Farmers Markets is priced lower in order to sell more. Or, why someone has not created a local business to use the healthy, yet unsold produce to make commercial sauces, tapanades, etc. And, at this point we are only talking about one farm and one of their crops!
To be fair, the 50% of tomatoes being sold through national chain grocery stores has more to do with their crazy notion that consumers only want certain size and perfectly round tomatoes. Really, Whole Foods . . . get real!
I am an artist and writer who aims to live life consciously and creatively with no "Plan B." My musings include experiences from my travels as well as those who inspire me.