Posts Tagged With: holidays

Good food deserves better: revenge of the ramekin

This post has nothing to with ramekins. It’s just that this is the fourth in a series of musings about artful dinnerware, and I’m running out of clever sequel titles.

If you’ve read the other three posts, you know the gist. If you’re going to entertain this holiday season – or anytime around the calendar – don’t serve your wonderful food on trash (i.e., disposable plates and aluminum pans). Conversely, if all you have time to prepare is a “pack of Nabs,” at least unwrap them and place them on a tea towel in a lovely basket. Make bad food look edible, and good food look superb by serving on Kentucky Crafted items for the kitchen and dinning room.

I’ve covered the basics like plates, mugs and casserole dishes, and now I’d like to get fancy. The following are not things that everyone needs. What you are about to experience covers two things important to holiday entertaining: wowing the cream cheese out of the people who come to your house and finding gift items for the gourmand who thinks he or she already has everything.

Haley_Doug

For example, you’re never going to impress your wine aficionado friend with a bottle of wine, unless you’re a sommelier. Stop trying, and buy this fine wine caddy by Doug Haley. Made from maple, cherry or exotic woods, the caddy will hold bottles, glasses and even cheese and crackers or desserts.

Wolff_Fritz05

I know it’s not practical to buy kitchen gadgets that only do one thing, but sometimes a uni-tasker’s unique nature is a good conversation starter (i.e., guest impresser). Besides, Stone Fence Pottery’s garlic grater works up garlic and artfully presents oil emulsions for dipping – that’s one more task than a regular, old garlic press.

3 chip and dip final_1

Matthew Gaddie is a skilled ceramicist, but — I’m embarrassed to admit — I had no idea what this was when I first saw it at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.  I sort of thought it was a bird bath, maybe? That’s why these things are best left to the artists; this is actually a genius chip and dip or salad bowl, equipped to serve three different dressings or dips. This is the reason he was best of show in 2014, and I’m merely writing an article about his creations. Amazing, impressive, and no one else you know has one. Furthermore, you can get the ugly Wishbone and Ken’s Steakhouse dressing bottles off of your gorgeous table.

So that’s how you dazzle even the most ennui-ridden epicurean. Oh! I almost forgot; here’s an assortment of ramekins from Tater Knob Pottery in case you were feeling cheated by the title.

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Sarah Schmitt, arts access director 

Categories: Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering our great ones

The problem with a being an arts administrator is that you spend so much time administering the arts that you have little occasion to enjoy them. Wonderful opportunities offered by our Kentucky Arts Partners and program artists pass over our desk, and we lament not having the time to attend or participate in all of them.

We are pleased to report that this year, the planets aligned in such a way that we will be able to join the celebration during the Living Arts and Science Center Day of the Dead Festival at the Old Episcopal Burying Ground in Lexington.

We are creating an altar honoring late Kentucky artists with Kentucky-centric ofrendas. Our intention is to be faithful to the spirit of the traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration, while offering a cross-cultural interpretation that is also true to the Commonwealth. We look forward to learning and sharing on Nov.1 and, of course, having some fun.

 John Tuska style papel picado

Papel picado we made in the style of John Tuska, one of Kentucky’s great artists.

We will feature photos of artists who have passed like Rosemary Clooney, Bill Monroe, Rude Osolnik, Skeeter Davis, James Baker Hall and many others. Ofrendas will include all those foods and items a Kentucky artist might miss if far from home.

Heine Brothers’ Mexico Maya Vinic

There are layers upon layers of meaning in this offering of Heine Brothers’ Mexico Maya Vinic.

It’s inspiring to watch a Day of the Dead celebration become a part of the annual fall landscape in Lexington. This holiday from another country and culture certainly has resonance in a new home. This is likely because the participants — whether first –generation Kentuckians or tenth-generation Kentuckians — place a strong value on remembering those who came before. Nowhere is this value more evident than in our art. You can hear it in our musician’s songs and read in our author’s words. Kentucky’s strong sense of place has as much to with people who walked it and were inspired by it throughout their life, as it does with the land itself.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Folk and Traditional Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Kentucky to the Capital: Kentucky’s contribution to the National Christmas Tree

Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center staff members Rosemary Topie and Teresa McDannold were getting ready to travel to Washington, D.C., last week to attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, but ice and snow never make for good traveling conditions. Disappointed, they had to cancel their trip. Representing the state of Kentucky, 24 of the Christmas tree ornaments were created at Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center.

Located in Covington, Baker Hunt is a unique arts center. Spread out across five buildings, the 3.5 acres were donated by Margaretta Baker Hunt in 1922 to “encourage the study of art, education and science and to promote the good works of religion in Covington.”

The Kentucky Arts Council connects artists and schools each year to create ornaments for the National Park Foundation’s Christmas Tree Project.  When asked who I thought would make a good arts partner, I immediately thought of Baker Hunt. I have spent many afternoons taking mosaic classes with my daughter, as well as going to meetings and attending arts and cultural events there.

Students, age 6 to 12, from two sections of the Lil Rembrandts class, created the ornaments under the direction of Chad Turner and Judy Sander. One class chose to study the state of Kentucky’s symbols. The other focused on making collages from photos of our national parks. The class that worked on the symbols, such as the state tree, bird and butterfly used Model Magic. The other class used acrylic paint.

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Photo used with permission of Baker Hunt Cultural Center.

While Rosemary and Teresa did not travel to the ceremony, they did get together with the group to celebrate the project. Here are a few of the photographs of the students and their ornaments now hanging on the National Christmas Tree.

Jean St. John, arts education director

Categories: Arts Education | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Give the gift of performance

The calendar couldn’t do it, but the snow last week has finally moved me into a state of elation over the possibility that Christmas will be here soon — Hooray! I’ll be watching my TV listings for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version, of course), and my must-see, A Charlie Brown Christmas — it wasn’t such a bad little tree. And with the notes of those familiar theme songs, I have to admit that it’s time to do some shopping.

I love my family and friends, but we often don’t share the same taste and I anguish for weeks and months about what to get “Aunt So-And-So” or “Cousin What’sHisName.” No way I’m buying anyone a tie or a fruit cake. And Sue, my BFF in fourth grade, put the fear of god in me as far as paper dolls as an appropriate Christmas gift. (Does anyone still make paper dolls?) Even toy shopping is stressful.

Some experts say to give gifts that you like. That certainly makes it easier. And how about gifts that you like and your family and friends will love? Of course — gifts that keep giving, music and dance! One of my very favorite things in the world is live performance and the next best thing is a recorded performance. Tickets to shows or CDs and DVDs make excellent gifts for anyone, anywhere, anytime! If I’m on your Christmas list, I’ll take two of each.

The Kentucky Arts Council has put together a listing of live performances by some of the performers in its Performing Arts Directory. All Performing Arts Directory artists go through a rigorous panel process in order to be included in the directory and you can rest assured these artists are among the very best. I began doing my Snoopy dance as soon as I saw the range of live performances available this season. From classics like Lexington Children’s Theatre’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Lexington Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker to the enchanting Yule Y’all, a Celtic celebration with Keltricity and the Chattering Magpies and the Louisville Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular. And that just scratches the surface. With all the exciting performances on the list, your Christmas shopping can be done in a heartbeat and you can sit back and enjoy the show along with the applause from all your delighted friends. Ticket prices are excellent–some are even free. Have a look at the listing and take your favorite people out to enjoy a live performance, or two, or three!

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Heath and Molly’s three CD holiday gift pack, a perennial favorite.

If you can’t get everyone together to go to the show, have a look at our listing of Performing Arts Directory artists CDs and DVDs. Each has been recently released and will provide hours of entertainment value to the lucky so-and-so who gets them. From Latin-mountain fusion artists’ Appalatin to rock-and-rooters Heath and Molly, the Lexington Ballet Company to the Louisville Chorus, gypsy jazz by Stirfry Musette to Lexington Vintage Dance–oh my, so much to enjoy! And there’s still more — cowgirl fun by Raison D’Etre, folk music by LaMay & Reese, good ol’ country music by Dale Pyatt and the Chickengrease Band and wait, we aren’t done yet…There’s too much to capture in one short blog post. With so much music and dance to choose from, every Who in Who-ville will be thrilled and even the Grinch will rejoice!

Tamara Coffey, individual artists director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Good food always deserves better (and sometimes bad food does too)!

This is the third in a series of posts I have written about Kentucky Crafted products for the kitchen and table.  I truly love functional pieces of art, and the vessels for your food should reflect the work and care you put into the cooking process. If you want to use paper plates, then just serve up a bunch of Hot Pockets and Cheetos. Don’t go to the trouble of brining and basting a turkey if you’re just going to serve it in disposable aluminum bakeware. Good food deserves better than to be served on trash.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s mighty judgmental. Not everyone has the time and energy to whip up a seven course meal to be served on fancy artisan-made trays. I have a life, and the holidays are a busy time!”  And, you would be partially correct. Even though the holiday season starts before Halloween now, somehow actual holiday minutes and hours seem limited. I still say that’s no excuse. Even if the food you make is not worth topping with shaved truffles, you might be able to compensate with elegant Kentucky Crafted kitchen solutions.  Replace your lack of time with an abundance of class.  Great dinnerware isn’t just for the foodies. For example:

At least pour the eggnog into a pitcher instead of implying that guests should drink it straight from the carton like a teenage boy looking for a midnight snack.

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Take the premade, store-brand dinner rolls out of the bag and toss them in a basket.

Madonna Cash Basket

Madonna Cash Basket

They don’t know it’s a bagged salad, and you prove nothing by announcing it proudly.

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

We know you didn’t hand press the cider this morning or even bother to mull it, but put it in a decent mug.

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Would it hurt you to drink wine from a bottle instead of a box for this special occasion?

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

If the extent of your culinary repertoire is chips and dip, then you should own a chip n’ dip set.

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Happy holidays, and thanks for being a good sport. I hope you don’t mind me poking a little fun. The true spirit of the season is fellowship. We should be glad we’re rushing around to spend time with friends and family; that’s the good kind of busy! When you get that text message an hour before an impromptu gathering saying, “Come on over. No big deal. Just a few friends sharing laughs,” and all you have in the house is a half-eaten bag of grapes and a partial brick of cheddar cheese — if you have the right serving option available, you can fake-gourmet your way out of the awkwardness.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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