Posts Tagged With: science and art

Kentucky Crafted brings hands-on fun

It’s hard to believe Kentucky Crafted: The Market is right around the corner! While artisans across the state make final preparations for the show, the Kentucky Arts Council has been working with local arts organizations to ensure this year’s event will be fun for an individual or the whole family.

A part of The Market for almost 15 years, the hands-on activities are a chance for people of all ages to find their own creative side as they explore the ways in which art overlaps science, literacy, and even nature.

Working with the Louisville Visual Arts Association, Market-goers will have the opportunity to create their own animals and characters based on the work of beloved children’s author Eric Carle. Don’t recognize the name? Maybe you’ll recognize the titles. Carle’s work includes “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” a book about the fun, yet massive diet of a caterpillar as he transforms into a butterfly. This simple project allows participants to get as involved as they choose, making it the perfect pit-stop during your time at The Market.

For kids — and adults! — interested in building, the Lexington-based Living Arts & Science Center’s (LASC) Architecture of Life presentation will include an exhibit that illustrates how structures that exist in the natural world often become inspiration for architects designing structures in the modern world. Utilizing the LASC’s designs for an upcoming building addition, the exhibit will showcase the creative process that takes place from conception to construction. Opportunities for all ages to build with blocks of various architectural styles, and an area to design and create pop-up structures, will be available.

Kids — and kids at heart — can also build mini abstract sculptures out of reclaimed Styrofoam with the Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP), based in Frankfort. Based on workshops that are conducted at JSP throughout the year, each activity is appropriate for people of all ages and abilities. Participants will meet and work alongside local artists to create their own work of art to take home. They also can participate in creating community bee hive murals, sponsored by Bee Friendly Frankfort.  Examples include painting and collaging floral landscapes on beehives that will be installed at the park, and creating whirligig pinwheels from recycled plastic water bottles.

Finally, courtesy of Explorium of Lexington, guests will have a chance to create mixed-media artwork while exploring the human body’s five senses. By experiencing the senses through a creative process, participants will discover how much we rely on our bodies to send our brain important signals. In addition to creating original artwork, participants will test how well they know their five senses through a series of sensory stations!

If you’ve exhausted your entertainment options thanks to recent snow days, Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2014 is the perfect option to explore your artistic side!

Alex Newby, program assistant 

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

The pound cake recipe: everything is an art and everything is a science

Everything is an art and everything is a science. This is not debatable. Everything that we do in life requires some degree of precision and creativity. Even in the purest examples, like career artists and career scientists, we see evidence of crossover. There is a science to mixing pigments and an art to manual pipetting.

I think this truth is most evident in baking. This endeavor requires a pure one-to-one ratio of art to science. Bakers, pâtissiers, boulangers and others who use ovens and flour to make great things must be one-part chemist and one-part interior decorator. Have you ever eaten a beautiful cupcake that tasted terrible or a tasty pie that fell to pieces on a cardboard plate? Neither is very satisfying.

I recently inherited a set of yellowed recipe cards from my grandmother, called Mimi, who is an artist and scientist in her own kitchen (i.e., studio and laboratory). Among them was a recipe that brought back two distinct memories. When I was about four years old, we visited my grandparents in Paducah at Christmas, and she made several types of cakes and cookies for the holiday. The best thing she made, according to my young palate, was a pound cake. I distinctly remember riding all the way back to Lexington with a pound cake on my lap.

In this photo my papa and I have either just eaten, are in the process of eating or are about to eat some pound cake.

The second memory is from when I was in college and tried to replicate the cake for Christmas. She wrote down the recipe, I bought all of the ingredients, got to work in the kitchen and was devastated by my results. Mimi’s pound cake is light and buttery; mine came out dense with un-dissolved sugar crystals. When I asked her what I did wrong, she said that I “beat it too hard.” I didn’t really remember beating it at all.

As I looked over the recipe, I noticed some key differences from the one she wrote down a few years before. The measurements were in weight (imperial pounds) and not volume (cups)—hence the name pound cake. It didn’t say “bake one hour and 15 minutes”; it said “bake until done.” I just had to scratch my head. The two sides of my brain just don’t communicate this way. I was using art where I should have used science and science where I should have used art.

We call all the people in the Kentucky Crafted Program “artists,” but all of them are also scientists in some way. The most shining example is Melissa Senetar who is the proprietor of PhbeaD. Not only does she hold a doctorate in biochemistry, she also creates beautiful jewelry from naturally expired insects, resin and silver. If art and science got married, her jewelery would be the wedding portrait.

Look at the happy couple.

We can take two things away from this: 1) If I try to make Mimi’s cake again, I’ll have to keep in mind variables and set up a few control groups. I might even have to get a set of Sherwin Williams color samples for “doneness.” 2) When discussing the value of the subjects studied in school, we must remember that the titles of classes are arbitrarily categorized. No subject holds the most value in developing well-rounded, employable individuals, because they simply cannot be separated in “the real world.” Great scientists are creative within their field, and great artists are precise and methodical within their genre.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

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Pound Cake


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

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