Cyndi Casemier Blog
Tuscan Bean Soup Ingredients: 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 sprigs fresh oregano 1/4 teaspoon salt Black pepper, to taste 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and rinsed 5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock 4 cups baby kale or baby spinach, stems removed if tough 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, for garnish Olive oil, to serve Extra grated Parmesan, to serve Directions: Cook the vegetables: In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the vegetables look softened and the onions are turning translucent. Prepare the beans: On a plate, mash 1/2 cup of the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the vegetables in the pot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Simmer the soup: Add the remaining beans to the pot and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with the lid placed askew, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the liquid is flavorful. Discard the oregano sprigs; the leaves will have fallen into the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. While the soup simmers: Sprinkle bowls with olive oil and cheese. Add the greens to the soup: Add the kale or spinach to the pot and simmering for another 2 minutes, or just until the greens wilt. Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with oregano and more olive oil, if you like, and serve with Parmesan toasts and extra Parmesan for sprinkling. The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you. You can achieve this by cooking the dried beans from scratch, of course. Or you can skip the long simmer and pop open a can! Bean soups have the distinct advantage of tasting terrific either way. Today’s soup uses canned beans to make a 30-minute meal that tastes like it took all day. When you start this soup, sauté vegetables first to give the soup lots of flavor. Let carrots, onion, and celery cook with sprigs of oregano, then stir in the beans and chicken stock. To make sure your soup has that appealing “simmered all day” quality when using canned beans, just mash some of the beans before they go into the pot. This will give your soup the slightly distressed texture that a good bean soup should have. Simmer the soup briefly, then add baby kale or spinach for their pretty green color and texture. Parmesan toasts are an easy side dish to make while the soup is simmering and they give your dinner plenty of crunch. Sprinkle the bowls with olive oil and more Parmesan. You’re done in less than half an hour, but your soup will taste like an afternoon’s effort. Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_tuscan_bean_soup/#ixzz53KyjAEMx
Great Form and Design by West Michigan Ceramic Artists and more
Ceramic artists (potters) are a hard working group of people. They have a commitment to making the best pots possible that reflect their personal story using clay. Pots can be very straightforward like a human body: functional, beautiful and strong. Ceramic work can also be complicated, abstract, and sculptural. One of the things that I love about clay is that it connects us to others. It is a basic material that can be used for many things. As humans, we have used it for thousands of years to assist us in our daily lives. Tony Clennell I believe that we are all creative. You do creative things all day long: what you are wearing; how you cook your food; how you mow your yard; and more. Being creative can heal and connect us to something deeper than ourselves. It makes our lives richer. Using handmade pottery does enrich your life connecting you to a larger world; reminding us to take just a few minutes to consider the story of this pot; and to breathe. So what makes a good pot? “The best of pots through the ages have a quality of timelessness about them that transcends chronological and cultural boundaries. The essence of form, the movement of a brush, the quality of surface. Pottery is neither painting nor sculpture, although it has elements of both.” (excerpt from Robin’s Hopper preface in his book, Functional Pottery) Robin Hopper There are several things to consider, when looking at a piece of functional pottery: Proper use of the selected clay body and glazes. Does the pot function well for the use intended? The overall design of the pot. Which clay body and glaze is best? Any clay body – earthenware, stoneware, porcelain – can be used to make Fantastic Interesting Pottery Forms. IF the maker applies correctly formulated glazes and then fires the work correctly. What I mean by this is: Earthenware is typically what we call low fired. We have one artist – Michael Kifer who uses this type of clay. It allows him to get unusual colors and textures. Think Bright Reds, Blues, Greens, Yellows. Michael’s pottery can go in the dishwasher. I wouldn’t put it in the microwave for more than 40 seconds. Raku – is not earthenware. It is a type of firing. Typically these clay artists use groggy clay to handle the contraction and expansion of clay that occurs during a raku kiln firing. Four artists at C2C creating raku work: Tonya Rund, Scott Berman, Mike Bryant, and Diane Niehof. Stoneware – is a mix of different chemicals that help the clay be very forgiving when working with it. It is great for planters, dishes, serving pieces, vases, etc. We have several potters who work in it either throwing on the potter’s wheel or hand building to make their work. Artists at C2C who work in stoneware are: Mike Taylor, Julie Devers, Polly Wellford, Richard Aerni, Jerri Puerner, Jacob Koster, Cory McCrory, and Mary Kuilema. In the 1700’s, porcelain was considered “white gold” and history told us that in those days it caused greed and theft. Bernard Leach, a British potter, was one of the first artists to create a fairly reliable porcelain clay for ceramic artists. At C2C, Marion Angelica, Brooks Bouwkamp, Jerri Puerner, and myself use porcelain. Does the pot function well for the intended use? When you pick up a mug, do your fingers fit well in the handle? (This is a personal preference.) If you pick up a bowl, does the bowl feel balanced, not bottom heavy. If you run your fingers up from the inside of the bowl to the rim are the walls of it an even thickness? A casserole (lidded and un-lidded) can be very lovely for display and use. You should ask whether it can go in the oven (into a hot or cold one) or be used just for serving food. Does the lid fit comfortably on the base? Is the galley where the lid sits substantial enough to handle use? Or will you need to be careful when replacing the lid? If you are selecting a teapot; do you collect or will you use it? Many teapots are created just for pleasure; others for use. Does the teapot pour well or dribble? When you are pouring liquid from it, does the pot feel balanced? Remember you will have hot liquid inside of it. You don’t want your hands to be touching the body of the teapot. Can you pour the hot liquid easily? What makes a good pot? The overall design. “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.” Intuitively, we all know whether a piece of art “works”. When considering pottery, we use terms like: shoulder, belly, lip, neck, and foot. We look at the form’s proportions. How does the piece feel in your hands? Will you be picking it up often? Is the form graceful? Did the potter pay attention to the small details like the rim and foot of the pot? Does the surface decoration work with the form? Are the decorations appropriate, interesting, and well constructed? A famous Greek philosopher-mathematician named Eudoxus is said to have carried a walking stick with him. He would ask friends to visually divide the stick into two parts at whatever point they sensed it to be most pleasing. Much to his satisfaction, the majority of people chose a point close to the same place on the stick. From this he deduced that most people are spontaneously drawn to the same ratios. The Golden Mean or Rule is also fascinating in that the living world follows this natural law creating pleasing forms and relationships. (excerpt from Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper). This is what I mean when I say to a client “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.”
Does anyone recognize the maker? It's almost the last day of the year. I am working on a newsletter focused on "what makes a good pot?". Taking pictures of pots from my collection. I can't remember who made this teapot. Help me out.
Wonderful cookies for the Holidays
Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies Ingredients 1 cup all-purpose flour ½ cup confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 large egg yolk 3 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted Instructions In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add butter, vanilla, and egg yolk and process until mixture comes together into a moist ball. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Lightly flouring the bottom piece of parchment paper. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round or heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out dough and use a thin spatula to transfer cookies to the prepared baking pan. Bake cookies until firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks. Melt milk chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, heating for 30 second intervals, removing the bowl to stir the chocolate and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt or sprinkles and allow to rest for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. By Joy the Baker
"Mary Cassatt is the absolute master of complex relationships articulated through expressions, through gestures, through space.”
When my daughter was in elementary school, often we visited art museums. Camille made sure that we found the Mary Cassatt paintings. For many years, Cassatt's art interested her. I never really knew why Camille loved these paintings because later she focused on German Expressionism. This blog posting is one of the more interesting that I read in the last month so I thought I would share it. Let me know what you think. It's an interesting look at female artist's lives in the 1890's. Mary Cassatt Painted Domestic Life in a Way Male Impressionists Couldn’t... Gathered in an Eden-esque orchard, a group of women in fully contemporary dress pluck apples skillfully and intently. Turning, they pass the alluring fruits on to the next generation that waits nearby. This was Mary Cassatt’s vision of the modern world, painted on the wall of the Woman’s Building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. In it, she depicted a new origin myth: Rather than Eve, causing the fall of mankind, these women presented a hopeful allegory where knowledge (and equal opportunity) was available to all. The message was true to Cassatt’s ideologies—she was a champion of woman’s ability to stand alone—but it was also radical. As Cassatt recalled, “An American friend asked me in a rather huffy tone the other day, ‘Then this is woman apart from her relations to man?’ I told him it was.” Although Cassatt was not the only woman painter to show with the Impressionists, she was the sole American to be officially incorporated into the movement. Today, she is best remembered for her arresting portraits of women and children in the private sphere. Her images of domesticity are as revisionist as her Biblical subversions at the World’s Fair—paying tribute to, rather than trivializing, feminine experience. Cassatt was born in 1844 to an affluent family in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now Pittsburgh). Her parents allowed, even encouraged, their daughter to take drawing lessons during a years-long family trip through Europe—although they would have reservations later in life when she decided to pursue a career in the arts. At the time, it was uncommon for upper-class women to work as professional artists. The occupation, associated with mistresses, nude life-drawing classes, and public life, ran contrary to a woman’s expected role as mother. Throughout her life, Cassatt would vacillate between her unconventional choices (both professionally and personally—she never married) and the decorum of her upbringing. But back in Pennsylvania after her time abroad, Cassatt couldn’t help but yearn for the art world of Paris. Just after the end of the Civil War, Cassatt finally traveled with a classmate to France to study painting in the City of Lights, where she would spend most of her life. In 1877, after a dozen years of study, copying in the Musée du Louvre, and occasionally showing in the Paris Salon, she received a pivotal visit from Edgar Degas. Degas invited her to show with the Impressionists—the moment, Cassatt later said, that she “began to live.” By accepting, she became “part of an egalitarian art movement,” says University of Leeds professor Griselda Pollock. Degas, who would become Cassatt’s champion, confidant, and collaborator, indoctrinated her into his Impressionist circle. In a break from tradition, these artists were exploring everyday experiences on their canvases, painting “their own families, their social relations, the places they on holiday,” Pollock says. But in observing her lived experiences, Cassatt soon realized how different her world was from those of her male peers. “There would have been places she couldn’t go, even if she had dared,” explains Kimberly A. Jones, a curator of 19th-century French paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. “Even as a friend of Degas, she couldn’t go backstage at the Opera or hang out in the cafés.” Cassatt observed those differences in her work, exposing the complexity of gender and sexuality in the public sphere. In the Loge (1878), a painting of a man ogling a woman watching an opera, documents what Pollock calls “these extraordinary spectacles where women become part of the spectacle.” In 1877, as Cassatt was taking advantage of bustling art and theatre scenes of her adopted city, her family moved in. Her new chaperone-roommates generated a series of familial obligations, including caring for her sister Lydia, who suffered from a kidney disease. As Cassatt spent more time with her family, scenes of domesticity begin to dominate her work. In addition to the convenience of in-house models, Cassatt discovered that here, in the home, she had comfort and control. “Men were always interlopers in that sphere because they had the rest of the world to roam,” says Jones. “The fact that she was a woman gave her an understanding of that sphere that was her natural domain.” Although they are confined, Cassatt’s subjects are never decorative. These women are “educated or thoughtful or creative or in conversation,” Pollock notes. “They’re usually animated. Cassatt’s the absolute master (or mistress) of complex relationships articulated through expressions, through gestures, through space.” Her work rejects sentimentality, and her images of women and children “have nothing to do with maternity,” Pollock continues. “Images of maternity, you see in Renoir, with pink breasts.” Crucially, Pollock points out, the adult sitters of Cassatt’s portraits were usually nursemaids, rather than mothers. Her paintings juxtapose the unformed child and the formed adult, illustrating the process of “socializing women from little plump girls who have no reason to believe their lives will be limited, to becoming this finished project, where their lives will always be on show.” Cassatt’s brush revealed the tragedy and beauty of women’s lives in the 19th century, giving voice and dignity to the oft-overlooked domestic sphere. Like these paintings, her Chicago mural was populated solely by women. As she reminded that huffy American friend: “Men, I have no doubt, are painted in all their vigor on the walls of the other buildings.” written by Sarah Bochicchio , Artsy.net
Meet artisan, Sue Boehme, glass and sculpture artist
Sue Boehme I met Sue Boehme last summer. She reached out to me, introducing herself as a local artist who works in many mediums. I agreed to visit her studio and was immediately intrigued by this artist. She has been walking the creative path for a long time and has created art using many mediums such as clay, metal, and glass. Sue answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little. 1 & 2. WHAT TURNS YOU ON CREATIVELY, SPIRITUALLY, OR EMOTIONALLY? And do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? The recurrent theme in much of my work references the natural world around us- from the cosmos to cellular structures. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and find it a source of endless inspiration. As a child, I adored science and studied everything from fossils and minerals to butterflies and birds. 3. WHAT PROFESSION OTHER THAN YOUR OWN WOULD YOU LIKE TO ATTEMPT? I have been fortunate to have experienced a number of careers in my life – I was a computer programmer in the eighties, a co-owner in a family millwright services business (I handle the accounting) for the past thirty years, an adjunct art professor for eight years, and now a private art instructor. If I could pick a profession, I would work for Warner Brothers to help design props for films, or Universal Orlando to design and sculpt the items that help provide an immersive experience for guests. Another great option would be an illustrator for a graphic novel, or an animator for Dreamworks. 4. WHAT PROFESSION WOULD YOU NOT LIKE TO DO? I wouldn’t care for any profession that includes handling sewage of any type. 5. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS? My favorite artists: Henry Moores’s drawings, Kathe Kollwitz, Lee Bontecoe’s early work, Japanese printmakers, Shaun Tan, Kazu Kibuishi, and Hayao Miyazaki. 6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TOOL USED TO CREATE YOUR WORK? My favorite tool are my fingers – I am a very hands on artist. 7. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD? Sisu 8. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE WORD? Moist 9. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIAN? John Powell 10. HOW MUCH FORMAL EDUCATION HAVE YOU RECEIVED? Formal education includes a BFA in Sculpture from Kendall College of Art and Design, and approximately twenty intensive glass workshops. Thank you, Sue, for answering our questions. Stop in to the gallery to see her artwork. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm. Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, November 3, 7-8:30pm.
Treating Everyone with Respect One of C2C Gallery’s core values is to treat everyone with respect. You say, “well, of course”. Sadly, this is not something that happens automatically in our world. As C2C grows, treating customers with respect is one of my personal core values and I am proud that is part of the gallery’s DNA. In my mind, treating people with respect should simply be part of the fabric of society. We shouldn’t have to write it down. It’s just the right thing to do. We are all humans, (as one of my girl friends reminds me often). We’re all in this together and, for the most part, people are good and want good things for society. What’s sad is how surprised people are to see this in practice. That’s because we live in a world where people say and do very disrespectful things to one another on social media and in real life. So, I thought I would share my thoughts about respect and talk about change in the gallery. Change is good. Change will not include losing our focus on always being friendly, helpful, respectful, and offering the highest quality plus widest range of art in West Michigan. Our goal is to help you include art in your every day life. You will see two new faces in the gallery – Julie Minnema and Joy Roach. Joy will be helping us on First Fridays, special events, and other busy days. Julie Minnema will be helping us on Sundays and Mondays with a focus on networking with interior designers, architects, and realtors. We have relationships with more than 45 artists. If you are one of these professionals or have a favorite pro, please consider scheduling a time to talk with Julie or myself. We would love to learn if we can be of service to you, helping one another. Sarah Mattone will be in the gallery during the week managing the sales floor and other duties. So where does this leave me? I will be in the gallery several mornings a week. Then, heading to my studio to make pots and create new forms. I am excited to be able to focus on my art, plus the business side of C2C Gallery. C2C Gallery has always been about sharing the talents of our artists with you, our clients and visitors to Grand Haven. As we grow, C2C is also supporting me, our employee’s families, our health, and our choice of lifestyle. So, once in awhile, we will not be able to be open, because a child is sick; we have the flu; a kiln needs repair; or some other emergency that is out of our control. I hope that you will understand because we only have one life – our family and our health are much more important than the gallery. For us, treating everyone with respect is a mantra that we will continue to do in ways both big and small….every day.
The Fearless Baker's Brownie Pie Give the pie a cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. I love this pie just warmer than room temperature served with ice cream piled high. Coffee ice cream is wonderful. Brownie Pie! It’s an unexpected and absolutely joyful dessert. Serves 8 For the Pie 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour pinch of fine sea salt 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed For the Brownies 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter 1/4 canola (or other neutral) oil 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% or so), chopped 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 cup chopped toasted almonds coffee ice cream or whipped cream for serving Instructions To make the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes, tossing them through the flour until each piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your palms or your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces. Continue to work the mixture together until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix to incorporate. Then add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue mixing just until the dough comes together. As it begins to come together, you can knead it a few times to make sure it's evenly combined. It's important not to add too much water to the dough, which should never be sticky. It should hold together easily in a ball but still feel almost dry to the touch. Form the dough into an even disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough to a circle 1/4-inch thick. Start in the center of the disk of dough and push away from you using even pressure. Return to the center and repeat, this time moving towards you. Continue rotating the dough and reflouring the counter as needed to prevent sticking. Transfer the dough to the pie pan. Trim away the overhang, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang all around. Tuck the excess dough under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. To parbake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pie pan. Prick the chilled dough all over with a fork. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust until the edges barely begin to turn golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the parchment and weights. Return the crust to the oven to bake for 2 to 4 minutes until just lightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the bottom of the crust with a thin layer of egg wash. The residual heat should cook the egg, but if it looks wet, throw it back in the oven for 1 minute more. Cool the crust completely before filling it. To make the brownie, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a medium, heat-proof bowl, combine the butter, oil, and bittersweet chocolate. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (with the bowl not touching the water) and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully melted and combined. Let cool slightly. Add both sugars to the chocolate mixture and mix well with a spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix well to ensure there are no flour pockets, but do not overmix. Fold in the semisweet chocolate and almonds. Pour the batter into the piecrust and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with moist, clumpy crumbs, 45 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake! Let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. I love this pie served with coffee ice cream. By Joy Wilson, Joy the Baker and Erin McDowell,Adapted from The Fearless Baker