Monthly Archives: July 2009

Nils-Udo

I discovered Nils-Udo through the July issue of the Air France Magazine (leave it to the French to have a great airline magazine).  Nils-Udo is a Bavarian artist who left painting to work directly in and with nature in the early 1970’s and has continued to do so ever since.  Photographs of his site-specific work (by the artist himself) are being exhibited at Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, and a new installation will premiere at the site as well (through December 31, 2009 http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr)–if you’re in the area.

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Winternest.  Snow, willow switches, snowballs dyed with snowball berry juice.  Bavaria, Germany, 1993.

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Brook bed, bindweed blossoms.  Ile de La Réunion, 1990.

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Sweet chestnut leaf, spirea blossoms.  Vassivière, France, 1986.

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Earth, water, willow, grass, rowan berries, privet berries.  Aachen, Germany, 1999.

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Volcanic brook bed, foxglove blossoms.  Ile de La Réunion, 1990.

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Sunflowers without seeds, snowball berries, spindle tree seed pods on a river.  Donauried, Germany, 1993.

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Untitled-21. Lime tree, bird berries and lime tree sheets.  Aachen, Germany, 1999.


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Mirror.  Earth, water, bird berries, willow rod, blades of grass.  Aachen, Germany, 1999 .


Apologies for an un-spectacular scan-job that hardly does justice to the originals (and a few little tears too–oops).  I think my favorite might be the volcanic brook bed and foxglove blossoms–or maybe Mirror (wish I could find a better image).  I like circles and domes in general.  There is a famous blue circle in a church in Florence that I always think of and can never remember the name of the church or artist–maybe my memory made it up.

I love Nils-Udo now, and I think you should too.  If you are interested in finding out a little more about him…

His representation: Claire Gastaud (website).

Some information from a recent show in the States (click here).

A beautiful-looking book (amazon).

all photographs by Nils-Udo

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Blatant Advertising

It’s been kind of quiet on the blog because I’ve been spending most of my time doing a major overhaul of the house.  I’m organizing, and in order to get organized I’m getting rid of a lot of “stuff.”  I’ve sold books, CDs, and DVDs to Pendragon and Amoeba, clothes to Pretty Penny and Crossroads etc. etc.  Now I’m at the furniture stage.  Anyone interested in my DWR bookcases?  You can check out my enticing Craigslist ad here. SOLD

DWR says: “When fully loaded, the bookcase virtually disappears behind the books.”

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Just watch the Sapien bookcase disappear!

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New Arrangement

After battling some garden roses the other day I really thought I had forgotten how to arrange flowers over my vacation.  But garden roses never were easy to work with–all those little thorns get stuck on every little thing as you try to push a stem down into a vase.  So I gathered my strength and channelled some calm and went back at it with some fresh supplies.  I chose roses, scabiosa, chocolate cosmos, and a single sumatra lily.  This was my attempt to do something a little different than my usual.

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The colors really don’t come through right here as this arrangement was exceedingly hard to photograph given the darkness of the cosmos.  I’m happy with the results.  Elegant but a little wild.  It smells great too.  The tiny stems of the scabiosa and cosmos kept falling throught the web in the vase.  Each time you moved anything everything else would shift–so I ended up using some chopsticks to grab and gently pull stems back into place.  They’re skinnier than my fingers and their grip is more gentle too–I highly recommend trying it.

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A note about chocolate cosmos–they are some of my favorite flowers, but you have to be decisive when arranging with them because they’ll lose their petals in a heartbeat.  Luckily they look great even with a few missing.

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Perhaps My Favorite Souvenir

I’m not entirely over my vacation.  I miss it–a little.  I bought very little, but I did manage to get myself a few little souvenirs.  This book is one of my favorite things.  It combines flowers and food–what else could be more perfect for me?

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Behold, the introduction of Gourmandises en Fleurs (Delicacies in Flowers) (translated by yours truly with help from a few free translation websites)…

If the times have changes, people’s love of beautiful things remains the same.  As cuisine gets lighter, dishes have more moderate flavors, and often when we are surrounded by concrete gardens, we try to cultivate the illusion of nature…

Thus the idea was born to present a collection of complimentary recipes and bouquets.

From small lunches to large galas, create an occasion to host friends.  Give a theme to your receptions.  Taste and imagination alone can bring the heart joy.  In summer, think of refined simplicity and soft colors, or use a bit of eccentricity to accent the fragrances that emit from your kitchen.

By using the charm of flowers, your garden will grace your table with its colors, and accent your menu choices.  Some original and unexpected ideas will give your tables a personal touch–and even provide amusement.  Whether it be the Beaujolais nouveau or basket of apples from your orchard, the beginning of the fishing season or a welcome home, a red dinner, a white dinner, a dinner on the grass… the fanciful possibilities created with flowers, color, and food will make you the envy of all your guests!

The arrangements range from the somewhat ridiculous…

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Title of Arrangement: Poisson d’avril (April Fish)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Terrine de saumon au coulis de tomates (Salmon terrine with tomato coulis) (note the goldfish)

to pretty…

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Title of Arrangement: Voulez-vous goûter, grand-mère? (Would you like a taste grandmother?)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Mousse aux fruits de la passion (Passion fruit mousse)

to “fanciful”

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Title of Arrangement: Symphonie aubergine (Eggplant symphony)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Petits flans d’aubergines (Eggplant flan)

to perhaps a bit out-dated

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Title of Arrangement: Joyeux enfants de la Bourgogne! (Happy children of Burgundy)

Recipe that the Arrangement is Designed to Compliment:

Poirs au vin (Pears in wine)

It’s taking a lot of restraint to not scan the entire book.  Maybe I’ll have to start publishing one arrangement/recipe pairing per day.  I found a website where the book is available for purchase, for about the same price I paid in the used book store in Biarritz.  I’m dying to try the Magret de canard au miel et au vinaigre de cidre in my kitchen (yes, duck figurines are featured in the accompanying arrangment in Gourmandise en fleurs)!

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Sweet Before Savory

I’m away from the computer today scouting props for Terri Timely. After a rather smelly/musty trip to Urban Ore, I feel relieved to be sitting down waiting for a hot panini. The pink, fringed wrapping of this Amaretti Baratti and lightly sparkling Lissa mineral water are really soothing me.

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Thanks to the Piedmont Avenue A.G. Ferrari.

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My New Pop-Up Book

I got this beautiful woodcut pop-up book made by Alison Yates at Pretty Penny’s craft exposition this weekend.  This combined with a recent trip to Addison Endpapers is really tempting me to start making books.

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Merce Cunningham

The New York Times reports that Merce Cunningham died last night.  He was ninety.  I will miss him.  Update: the full obituary at the NY Times.

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