Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last Soda Kiln Load

Where did the summer go? It seems to have melted away like ice cream in July. Now we have loaded the last soda kiln for the summer quarter at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center which means the season feels like it’s coming to a close. The good news is that we do have something to look forward to since unloading a kiln is like Christmas in July.

Callanwolde soda kiln by Future Relics Gallery
Last Soda Kiln Load

I’m especially excited about this load because I have a couple of pieces in there that are experiments. It seems that so often I’m experimenting but hey, that keeps it exciting. Right?

The kiln is split up between two classes, the morning class gets the front so they will get the first peek at their pots. My class is an evening class so we get to load first. It all works out.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to take a class there this fall. I’ve really enjoyed being there but I am worried that I’ll be spreading my time too thin. It’s okay, I can always sign up for the winter quarter if I realize that I do have the ability to dedicate myself to a class. IN the meantime, I’ve signed up for August Access so I’ll still be able to use the studio and kilns.  It’ll be fun.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meatless Monday - Zucchini Fritters

You might have noticed that I posted another recipe for Zucchini Fritters a few months ago. Some people didn’t like the idea of frying the fritters. Even when considering using healthy oils fried foods are not for everyone. It’s okay, many foods that are normally fried can also be baked and taste just as good.

I’ve made suggestions in the ingredients list for gluten free flour and bread crumbs. If you are not restricting your gluten you can use whole wheat or any other flour and bread crumbs you have on hand.

If you prefer a vegan diet you can use egg substitute and nutritional yeast for the egg and the cheese.

You can serve these with various dipping sauces depending on your taste. Some people will be happy with Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing or mayo with a clove of crushed garlic would be delicious. I made a little hot sauce by mixing some very hot bar-b-que sauce with some plain yogurt.

Ingredients:

2 large zucchini, grated
1 small onion, grated
1/4 cup rice flour (or any other type of flour)
1/4 cup panic style bread crumbs (GF or not)
1 pinch of salt
1/2 jalapino pepper, seeded and finely chopped
a splash of milk
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Grate zucchini and onion in a food processor or a grater. Place grated zucchini and onion in a mesh strainer or kitchen towel and squeeze out liquid. Add to a bowl and combine flour, salt, pepper, milk and egg, mix well.

Drop small to medium-sized rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet or lined with Silpat I used an ice cream scoop to make the rounds. Bake for 16-20 minutes, depending on the size of your fritters. Then flip and bake for another 12 minutes until golden brown on each side. Serve with garlic mayonnaise or your preferred sauce.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Enjoying Imperfection

Would you buy a less then perfect piece of hand crafted pottery? If you’re a potter, would you sell a less than perfect pot?

As people who appreciate pottery we like, even thrill over the mark of the potter. I remember listening to one potter talk about his favorite pot. It is in a museum and he knew exactly where it was because he had spent so much time enjoying the piece. What is so special about this piece? You can see a fingerprint from the potter on it. It says so much about being hand crafted.

But what about when it’s not something so obvious as a finger mark that reminds us that a pot is hand crafted? What if it’s something like a glaze drip? I think anyone who has been making pottery for a while has run into a runny glaze that flows down the pot and onto the kiln shelf. It tends to mean we have to do some grinding on the kiln shelf as well as the pot. When you turn the pot upside down, as many people do with hand crafted pots, you’ll see where the glaze was sanded smooth. Some people would consider this a flaw but not everyone.

Here’s a really pretty batter bowl made by Georgia’s own William J. “Bill" Gordy who was a very talented potter. People are always talking about his demonstrations at the Atlanta Arts Festival where he would throw a plate then turn that plate into a bowl then turn that bowl into a pitcher then throw that pitcher into a vase. That takes a lot of skill. He usually did all this while waring a shirt and tie.

Bill Gordy mixing bowl by Future Relics Gallery
Bill Gordy Batter Bowl
 Mr. Gordy was a great potter and his pieces are collectors items. Even when the foot looks like this.

Bill Gordy ceramic batter bowl by Lori Buff
Foot of Bill Gordy Bowl
I’m learning that if it’s a great pot it’s okay if it’s not perfect. It is hand crafted after all. What do you think? Would you buy this pot?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meatless Monday - Gluten Free Broccoli and Parmesan Not Meatballs

People who don’t read this section of my blog posts often say things like “I don’t know what to cook for my friends who are vegetarians.” I often suggest something simple like spaghetti but sometimes I hear “you can’t have spaghetti without meatballs.” Well, okay, they have a point. So here is a recipe for some meatless meatballs. They are made with broccoli and parmesan cheese so they go great in spaghetti but I think they are so delicious you can eat them on their own. The picture here shows them with a simple side salad. They would also be great on a long crusty roll or any other way people enjoy meatballs.

These non-meatballs are made with almond flour so they are gluten free. You can make them with egg substitute and nutritional yeast if you are vegan.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. raw almonds
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed (about 2 cups)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil mister or cooking spray

Directions:

Process the almonds in a food processor until they’re coarsely ground. Then transfer ground almonds to a medium bowl. Place the broccoli florets in the food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the chopped broccoli, cheese, and garlic to the almonds and season with a little salt and pepper. Stir in the egg. Spray a mini-muffin tin with olive oil or cooking spray. Form the broccoli mixture into 12 balls, squeezing them a little to make sure they hold their shape, and place each one in its own cup in the muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees until meatballs are golden on the outside and heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove tin from oven and run a butter knife along the edges of each muffin cup to loosen meatballs before gently removing them.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stretching Your Hands

No matter what you do for a living or a hobby your hands can be your most valuable tool.  For those of us who use our hands all day, everyday for work it becomes stressful on them. We potters push and pull clay while we are throwing. We push, carve, cut and paint our clay to decorate it. It’s a lot of stress. Then in our spare time we play musical instruments, dig and pull weeds in the garden, and grab onto the dog leash for a healthy walk. Even if you’re not a potter you may participate in many activities that use your hands all day, like typing on a computer key board.

It’s important to take care of our hands. Most people would not perform exercises like running or biking without doing some stretches also, but for some reason stretching our hands isn’t emphasized as much as leg stretches. The thing is, if you’ve ever felt the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome you know how important it is to take care of your hands.

The first time I felt with carpal tunnel pain was after driving through the Pocono Mountains with a poorly loaded trailer when I was in my twenties. Whenever I went down hill the trailer would start to sway behind me, it even pulled the truck a bit so naturally I held on for dear life. I didn’t realize the problem was too much weight in the back of the trailer so I was unable to fix it, I just gripped the steering wheel until I got to flatter land. Two days later I couldn’t move my fingers and it felt like someone had driven a spike through my palm.

My hand got better by applying ice and taking aspirin but that experience left an impression on me so I started researching thing I could do to keep my hands healthy (and my trailer properly loaded).  I talked to Yoga instructors, chiropractors, and musicians and they all pretty much recommend the stretches that I demonstrate in this video. However, it would be a really good idea if you talked to your healthcare professional about doing these stretches before you start doing them. Your health situation may be unique so it’s a good idea to check with someone who has studied medicine first and, of course, if you experience any pain or discomfort.



Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff