progress

the last week has been kind of bananas.  last friday i had pretty much run out of clay and took the opportunity to go to the clay store and get more, thinking i had another week of building ahead.  that afternoon we had the monthly kiln meeting and i realized i had more like 3 days left.  yikes!

wall collection.

i have amassed a pretty good collection of wall pieces for the installation i will mount before the end of my stay.  i am using a mixture of local clays, both a smooth white and black shigaraki clay and a black clay with the ubiquitous feldspar inclusions.  i am also using (sparingly) arita porcelain from kyushu.

tiny black and white trade pieces.

i have organized a mini- trade with the other residents.  these are my little guys.  see that fake grass under them?  i found a whole case of 12″ x 12″ squares of it in the dumpster and might try to use it for something….

soon to be floor pieces.

floor pieces drying.

lightweight templates.

middle floor piece.

working here the last couple of weeks has been awesome!  i love that all i have to do everyday is just eat, sleep and work.  and being able to wake up and walk right to my studio pretty much rules.

i have been able to put everything else out of my mind and i’ve even had time to do some cooking.  sometimes the residents get together to cook and eat.  i invited everyone to share some nabe one evening and the other night everyone cooked something and shared, kind of like a potlock.

yumie working on her dish.

nabe night.

kimchi nabe.

potluck!

ok, maybe not everything else.  i keep having dreams in which my kitties wonder off.  it’s so weird.  during the day i think “this is so wonderful i hope i can come back and stay longer some day” and at night my brain feels guilty or something.  miss those little nerds:(

violet and junior.

going local.

lancaster, pa skirt steak. one of my first attempts at responsible meat purchasing.

i have really fond memories of going to local farms with my family and picking tons of tomatoes and eggplants.  eating them fresh for weeks and freezing or pickling (pickled eggplant!) what we couldn’t finish.  of course growing up in florida, you can’t really help but eat local, with the mass amounts of oranges, lemons, mangos, avacados and grapefruits literally falling of trees into your hands.  i’ve stopped at a strangers house to ask if i could pick their tangerines, and they grab the grocery sacks, press them into your hands and and say “yes, please, there are too many for us to eat.”  at my parents place i grew up plucking loquats, mulberries, prickly pears and papayas off the plant and sticking them in my mouth  (ok, ok, not the prickly pears.  they require use of a special picking tool and complex cleaning to avoid cactus needles in your face).

despite this, markets are full of seasonless imports and most of us have gotten into the habit of expecting anything anytime, i know i have.

but a few weeks ago i went to a workshop on sustainability and education.  hearing about so many awesome ideas and projects really got me fired up.  my favorite lecture of the day was about economics (a class which i fully slept through in high school and have never revisited) and the local foods movement and it illuminated SO MUCH for me.  all of the attendees got a copy of barbara kingsolver’s “animal, vegetable, miracle” which (like her fiction, which i’m a big fan of) was an amazing and engrossing story.

and now, like so many others (thankfully) i am getting amped to go local.

i think the local foods movement should just be called being awesome!  i mean, you give your money to actual real people in your community who work really hard doing something they love.  and then, you casually get to eat fruits, vegetables and meat that actually taste like fruits, vegetables and meat.

so i’m gradually trying to educate myself on what comes from where here in pennsylvania and starting to research what i can expect to find once i move to gainesville, fl.  incidentally i’ve gotten a renewed sense of excitement about cooking and baking.

being back on familiar ground will be nice, things falling of trees will be nice and getting to know the more agricultural central florida will be awesome.  yay exciting!

Tempura-a-rama and mountain veggies.

there are a plethora of random interesting looking veggies in the super market called sansai or mountain vegetables. i have been a little intimidated to try cooking some of them, but the other day when masa and i went grocery store we found, on sale, kogomi (ostrich fern) and fukinoto (giant butterbur). we also picked up some renkon (lotus root), carrots, eggplant and mushrooms and decided to do tempura.

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actually, that’s all kind of a lie, i saw these veggies on sale and wanted to get them cuz they looked cool, masa was like, what are those?  and i was like, i have no idea, but i’ll look them up on the internet.  in the end, the fukinoto tasted terrible and we decided to do tempura because we had the other veggies in the fridge and we do have a tempura nabe (pot) after all.  we thought the bitter fukinoto would taste good fried but we were WRONG.

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Ostrich fern: there’s a whole lotta fern up in there, raw, stretched out and tempura-ed.   Unlike the fukinoto, the kogomi or ostrich fern was great!  very densely green tasting and just overall cool.

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Pot for cooking tempura and finished product.  We made tempura bananas with nutella for dessert.  yum.

Lemons.

sarah’s lemons

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my inspiration…

my lemons

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i made three kinds from world vegetarian. the first one is salted lemons, morroccan style, my favorite that i tried at sarah’s house. i ate so many of them, sorry sarah! blue jar is simple lemon pickle, next is sweet and sour lemon chutney and last is the same but with the wrong ingredients, but it still tastes yummy.

preserved lemons!

super thanks to sarah for gifting me “world vegetarian” before i left florida. after tasting sarah’s many preserved lemons i was addicted. once i was home i immediately bought millions of lemons and got to work.

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in the backround you can see my messy kitchen, pitiful collection of spices, salt pig made by bill the potter and my soda fired fish dish, turned negi holder.

making stuff.

where i come from, people make stuff. they make bunkbeds, prickly pear pickers, christmas angels and tree houses. they dye t-shirts, sew skirts, make barbie furniture and install their own rugs. they bake bread, make soy milk cream puffs, grow their own tomatoes, pickle their own eggplant and that’s just the beginning. when i grew up i was lucky to fall in with a political, crazy crafty bunch of kids who silk screened, cut stencils, organized conferences, built a youth center and started the radical cheerleading movement among other things.

2.5 years ago, at 26, i left my life as a library worker and artist in south florida and moved to japan. an unprepared english teacher dropped in the no man’s land of kanagawa (about 30 minutes by train from tokyo). i discovered combini bentos, hyaku yen shops and muji. harajuku streets lined with too small, made in china, flammable clothing, and uniqlo. plastic drawers and no space, the occasional second hand shop that is tragically 90’s and exorbitantly priced. it was consumer culture shock.

japan is many awesome things, art, culture, history, cuisine, but for me, tokyo is not d.i.y..

this blog is about finding d.i.y. in tokyo and recording it.