Springville Art Museum’s Quilt Show

 Pilgrim's Progress Embroidery Close Up  

Todd and I spent the last Saturday of August with our dear friend, Rachel Hayes, at the Springville Art Museum’s Annual Quilt show. I go to the show every year, and I enjoy seeing quilts from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island mixed in with the styles closest to my heart – good old fashioned Mormon handicraft.

Here are some samples of our favorites. Sadly, the show closes tomorrow, August 31, but you can always start planning now for next summer’s show.


Riace Warriors

Time is a strange thing. We blink, and years have passed. We all blink collectively, and whole civilizations rise then disappear.

I’ve been thinking even more than usual about history and permanence. And also the cultural legacy that we will leave behind. The truth is, like everything else in the modern world, today’s culture is pretty disposable. I guess that’s no real insight.

Thinking that we, or what we build, can completely withstand the march of time is an illusion though. I look to the Greeks, whose artistic theory and style took generations to develop. Whose artwork was made from materials that we might assume would last. Sculpted marble, or cast bronze. The truth is, there are very few original Greek sculptures left. Most were melted down for weapons or smashed apart. I’ve written it here before but, a lot of what we might consider to be examples of Greek sculpture today are actually Roman copies. The original pieces just haven’t stood the test of time.

I suppose that we should sometimes be grateful for tragic events, because they can help artwork from the ancient world survive. Take the Riace warriors for example. These two sculptures were lost for a couple thousand years. It is thought they were sunk during a shipwreck, lost and forgotten on the ocean floor. Finally rediscovered in the 70s by a scuba diver.

Sometimes I think about how temporary everything is, but I am glad we still have these two sculptures as part of our human heritage.

youtube.com | Riace & Greek Sculpture

The Rubber Room

Carolena Nericcio
Carolena Nericcio

The history of belly dance is easily debated because it began before records were kept on such things. Many believe it began as a fertility rite, and others say it was a religious dance. In the Middle East, belly dance was passed down through oral traditions and imitation. Men and women both danced, but practiced separately, far from the prying eyes of the opposite sex.

It is believed to have first gained attention in the U.S. in the 1830s at the Chicago World’s Fair when dancers from Syria, Turkey and Algeria both shocked and thrilled the audience by performing without their corsets. And thus, the sexy reputation of belly dance, which still holds today, was born.

Rachel Brice
Rachel Brice

Fast forward to today and the Amerianization of the art, women like Carolena Nericcio and her contemporary, Rachel Brice have both revolutionized and added feminist thought to belly dance. Carolena is the inventor of “American Tribal Style” belly dance, an improvisational and grounded practice intended to communicate feminine friendship and strength. Rachel Brice is known as a goddess among belly dancers for perfecting Urban Tribal belly dance, a style that fuses dance from all over the world as well as components of hip hop and Gothic culture.

Belly dance welcomes women (and men) of all shapes and sizes. Many continue to dance into old age, and enjoy the physical fitness benefits. Often ignored, however, are the neurological benefits of dance. Studies have shown that the combination of music, memorization and physical activity can build neural pathways that help the mind stay active and pliable as one grows older.

This month, Todd and I are opening The Rubber Room Dance and Flexibility Studio. I am teaching performing-level tribal fusion belly dance as well as basic, intermediate and advanced classes in our newly-remodeled, yet century-year old, space. Yoga will be offered on Thursday evenings, taught by Portia Early. The studio is attached to our home, and is nothing fancy, but has quickly become a sanctuary of movement and music. Because our studio is in our home, classes are small and only offered by invitation, but we would love it if you would drop us a note if you are interested in studying yoga or dance in our space.


Tomato Preservation Simplicity

Its tomato harvest time and varieties from heirloom to cherry are plentiful. If you have an overflowing garden or even a farmer’s bushel, this is my favorite way to keep them from spoiling before you can use them. In a pinch, it also works with Roma tomatoes from the grocery store.

Preheat oven to a low temp, 250 degrees or less. Chop tomatoes into 1 inch-ish chunks and spread in a single layer across a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (I use as many cookie sheets as my oven will hold). Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 6 to 10 hours until the tomatoes resemble plump sundried tomatoes, but are not black and crispy. Store up to 3 weeks in a Tupperware or baggie in the fridge. Serve on pizzas, in pasta or on salads, or eat them like candy.

The Elgin Marbles

There are certain Greek sculptures that I consider perfect. They leave me in complete awe, and completely inspired. Of those, the Elgin Marbles are perhaps the most important and controversial.

Around 1800, Lord Elgin removed over half of the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens and put them on display in London. For people outside of Greece, these were probably the first examples of Greek sculpture they’d seen. But today, one of the main questions behind the Elgin Marbles is whether or not they should stay in London, or be returned back to Athens. Of course, Greece thinks they should be returned, and the British Museum thinks they should remain in London. Honestly, moving the sculptures is probably what helped them to survive as long as they have. But today, hundreds of millions of dollars are going into the reconstruction of the Parthenon. The Elgin Marbles, which used to surround the top of the temple, need to be considered during this restoration.

In ancient times the Parthenon was a powerful national symbol for Greece and, even now, it still is. The Parthenon sculptures portray both Grecian myth and daily life. The inspiration behind these sculptures, and for the building in general, was to achieve perfect proportion, harmony, and balance. The Parthenon itself was a temple dedicated to Athena, and was built on the Acropolis in the center of the city. Originally, in the heart of the temple, was a statue of Athena herself that was made of gold and ivory. Later, the temple became a treasury, used to finance Greek defense against the Persians. Hundreds of years after that it was used as a Christian Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. And still later, a Turkish Mosque. I think it was sometime around 1670 that the Parthenon was used for munitions storage, until one fine day they exploded, causing the majority of the damage to the structure.

Originally, marble sculpture was everywhere, and it was all painted in reds, blues, and gold. These surrounding sculptures portray all sorts of battles. Between gods and giants, centaurs and soldiers, Athenians and Amazons. This isn’t a surprise, because in the ancient world, Athens was constantly at war. The sculptures are relief cut, but almost free-standing. The human figures themselves stand somewhere around 4 feet tall. Most of the surviving statues have been significantly damaged.

I love this artwork. I’m fascinated with these sculptures. The folds and drapery in the clothing, the gestures and posture, the figures and war-horses. So nice! Probably my favorite though are the fight scenes between the centaurs and the humans. There is something nice about seeing a man punching a drunken centaur in the face.


britishmuseum.org | video

Thirteen Local Authors to Read Aloud at People’s Market Book Day

Zach Medler's ceramic book art
Zach Medler's ceramic book art

Books hold secrets and offer a gateway into another world. The tactile nature of the paper, the mysteries of the publishing world, and of course,  beautifully crafted phrases all make books an irresistable art form.

Zach's bookshelf
Zach's bookshelf

The People’s Market, a weekly west-side farmer’s and craft market, is celebrating local writing with their third annual Book Day on Sunday, August 21. This is a chance for the public to meet local writers and book-crafters and to stock their bookshelves with Utah-made reading material.

“As a bookworm, and by bookworm I mean book addict, Book Day is one of my favorite events,” says Tiffin Brough, People’s Market president. “People’s Market encourages local artisan entrepreneurs and makes our venue accessible for any local who makes products by hand, and that absolutely includes the literary arts.”

Thirteen local authors will read from their books between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the market which is held each Sunday from June to October at International Peace Gardens.  Five of the authors specialize in environmental writings and four are poets. August 21’s author line-up includes:

10:10-10:30—Salt Lake Community College Writing Program
10:30-10:50—Sandy Anderson
10:50-11:10—Fred Swanson (U of U Press)
11:10-11:30—Bob Eberth
11:30-11:50—Pilar Pobil (U of U Press)
11:50-12:10— Ann Torrence
12:10-12:30—Lynn Kilpatrick
12:30-12:50—Pepper Espinoza
12:50-1:05—Glenda Cotter (U of U Press)
1:20-1:40—Jeffrey M. McCarthy
1:40-2:00— Eileen McCabe
2:00-2:20—Maximilian Werner
2:20-2:40—William Holt
2:40-3:00— Keaton Charles Butler

“According to recent studies by the National Endowment for the arts, reading scores for American adults of almost all education levels have deteriorated,” says Marian Reinholtz, People’s Market board member and special events coordinator. “People are spending more time than ever watching movies, surfing the net and texting. We hold Book Day to make sure they have an opportunity to enjoy old-fashioned books written by people in their community.”

The market will also offer a Mother Goose story time for children, a community book swap for trading used books, and a booth where local books will be available and authors will be on hand to sign them.

About the People’s Market:
The People’s Market has been offering local produce, prepared foods and crafts, and is a cultural and community hub for Salt Lake City’s westside since 2005. The market exists to support farmers, gardeners and entrepreneurship in Utah. It accepts food stamps at a two for one rate, making fresh produce more accessible to disadvantaged Utahns, and exchanges debit card purchases for tokens to spend as cash. In addition, free entertainment is offered each week. The People’s Market is held from June 12 to October 23 at the International Peace Gardens, located at 1000 S 900 W, Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.slcpeoplesmarket.org

Don’t Let Your Crap Get in the Way of Your Crafts Part II

Shelves - Before

Special to ArtDuh by Laura Bramwell, Professional Organizer

Here’s Laura’s case study of how she took on a craft studio and made it bow to the Godess of order.
Before photos:

Beccy is a friend of mine who is very artistically talented.  Her specialties include: jewelry, hair accessories, and fashion design.  She can take a muumuu she found at D.I. and turn it in to a beautiful dress.

When I walked into Beccy’s craft room, I noticed several smart storage ideas, including: Painted cork boards to hang her finished jewelry, a vintage soda crate with small compartments, several tackle boxes, and a portable clothing rack to hold all of her pending clothing projects.  Although all of these ideas could potentially work to her advantage, the problem I found, which is common for most of us, was:  unutilized space.  Beccy had full shopping bags and boxes all over the room even though she had empty space in her tackle boxes, cork boards and shelves.  I spent a day following my listed tips, and without wasting one dime on new storage products, was able to turn a somewhat chaotic craft room into an organized one.  Beccy is now able to work on her projects in a more peaceful art sanctuary.

After photos

A NOTE OF CAUTION: KEEP YOUR SHOES ON!  Even after I had picked up at least a dozen pins and needles off of the carpet, I stupidly took my shoes off and wound up stepping on a pin that went all the way through my toe.  In case you’re wondering, it hurt like hell.

If your craft mess is more than you can handle, get in touch with Laura at lauraebramwell@gmail.com