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Posts Tagged ‘craft

“Gag me with a spoon!”*…

 

One weekend a year, the remote hamlet of Milan, Minn. — population 369 — is the center of the spooniverse.

The 11th annual Spoon Gathering, hosted earlier this month by the Milan Village Arts School, attracted more than 150 carvers from nearly 20 states and several foreign countries.These people are the rock stars of this fast-growing pastime. Their soundtrack is the chunk of a finely honed ax biting crisply into a log, the rasp of a file on steel. At once energetic and ruminative, analytical and philosophical, they transform raw wood into the humblest of human tools, a creation as ancient and elemental as a good bowl of bear meat stew…

Whittle on at “How a tiny Minnesota town became the wooden spoon capital of the country.”

* Valley girl speak, quoted in Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”

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As we dig in, we might recall that it was on this date in 1896 that William S. Hadaway, Jr. received the first U.S. patent for an electric stove.  It provided a uniform surface distribution of heat from a one-ring spiral coiled conductor.

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Written by LW

June 30, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”*…

 

As we prepare ourselves for pumpkin carving, we might pause to recall an era in which other fruits were ornamentally hewn.  As a 1905 issue of American Homes and Gardens magazine put it, “it is surprising what can be done with the conventional orange.”

More table decorating tips at “The Art of Ornamental Orange Peeling.”

* Twyla Tharp

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As we sharpen our knives, we might pause to recall that it was on this date in 2008 that the “Sichuan Guangyuan citrus maggot event” went public; a huge portion of the region’s citrus (ornages and tangerines) were found to be afflicted by small maggot-like worms.  The episode is noteworthy as an relatively early example of the power of Chinese social media:  though the government did its best to support continued citrus sales by censoring any news media mention of the outbreak, BBS forums and SMS messages carried the news– sufficiently successfully (citrus sales in Beijing plummeted) that the official outlets had to relent and report the news, along with assurances that the government was responding…

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Written by LW

October 21, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life”*…

 

People have found ways to live in the most inhospitable places on earth. Nearly immediately after finding a way to survive, they have found a way to get drunk.

Likely because of, rather than in spite of, the challenges of living in the far reaches of the world, establishing a communal space is a survival necessity. Be it at the base of an active volcano, inside a 6,000-year-old tree, or even on your way to Mount Everest, no matter how far off the grid you end up, you are likely to find a place for strong spirits and lively conversation…

From Antarctica (where the drinking is robust there’s talk of importing breathalyzers) to Pitcairn Island (one of the most remote inhabited locations on Earth; its closest neighbor being Tahiti, which is over 1,300 miles away; pictured above), ten of the most remote watering holes in the world: “The bars at the end of the world.”

* F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

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As we belly up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1978 that President Jimmy Carter, a teetotaler, signed the Cranston Act, which (when it took effect the following year) loosened restrictions and lowered taxes on home and small-scale brewing… thus igniting the explosion of craft beers in the U.S.

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Written by LW

October 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

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