Monday, June 20, 2011

Mica, Music of the Spheres and a Really Big Book

So... I've been working on a little project... and I finally shipped it off last week.  It's a tall carved figure  holding a really big book. The theme of the book began with the Music of the Spheres. The wonderful person who commissioned this work had absolutely inspiring ideas. It was a pleasure and an interesting challenge to make it.

The pages of the very big book are about 30" high when enclosed in the book frame. They're made with two 9 x 12 translucent sheets of mica laminated together to make one side of each page. Those large mica sheets were doubled to form the front and back side of each page. Found objects, collage and transfers of renaissance illustrations by Robert Fludd are suspended in between them.

The book frame is made with strips of antique tin riveted together... and riveted and then riveted some more. As you probably gathered I  like rivets but in this case they are really useful and also create an interesting visual effect. There are three little carvings inside the book. They are pop up parts that suspend from the books spine. To make them do their lovely "pop up" thing I needed a solution that was both light and strong. Light so that visually it would appear that the pop ups were almost floating out of the pages but strong enough to hold the weight of the carvings and withstand shipping. I ended up soldering brass wire to very thin gage brass tabs then riveting the tabs into the metal spine of the book.

And that is the story of how I made The Magic Book. Now I'm  holding my breath-just a little- until I hear whether it made it to it's new home safely. (and also hoping my oh so thorough packing job did not completely frustrate the kind person  who had to do the unpacking!)

The Magic Book  81"x 15"x 16"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Food City

One of my favorite grocery stores here in Tucson, Arizona is called Food City. There are a few small versions of the store scattered around town but the the big super store is by far the best. It carries all the basic items found in any market  but what makes it so special  is the vast assortment of  products from Mexico along with exotic produce and hard to find ingredients necessary for Mexican cooking. There are bins with dried cinnamon sticks, and  cones of cane sugar. Mounds of chilis from anaheim to the extra hot habaneros. Edible cactus pads called nopales (Yum!) money drawing room spray, colorful cleaning products, statues of catholic saints, an entire row dedicated to dried herbs and spices.

Today I was in search of the delicious queso fresco to use in a summer salad.

Here's my recipe for Sonoran Style Pasta Salad:
1lb. Whole wheat penne pasta cooked
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup sweet corn- fresh or frozen
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mango
3 scallions chopped
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1 cup mesquite grilled chipotle chicken sausage or chicken breast (optional)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill salad at least two hours before serving. Sprinkle top of sald with a little crumble queso fresco and serve.