Friday, October 16, 2009

treasures from the spanish table

i recently went over to the spanish table in berkeley and was amazed by what treasures they have. it is brightly colored with everything from cookbooks to saffron, white wine to paella pans, this is definitely a goto place for the rare and special items you might need in your pantry.

i bought some TAZA organic guajillo chili chocolate-- perfect for baking, hot chocolate or for cooking. it comes in this pretty disc and is stoneground in small batches somerville, mass so i couldn't resist.

my second treasure was some marcona almonds in rosemary honey.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

hapazome = brilliant

i recently learned about something called "hapazome" or flower pounding. a couple of weekends ago, the ecological artist rebecca burgess came to the uc botanical garden to teach a wonderful day long workshop on native plant dyes. little did we know that we'd leave knowing all that and more! i was enchanted with hapazote. the amazing textile artist india flint apparently coined the term. it is a way of using fresh flowers and immediately extracting the pigments and sealing them into our clothes or other fabrics. it was so easy, so gratifying and so beautiful.

you begin by laying down your piece of fabric. we used t-shirt scraps. then you lay fresh flower petals on the cloth as you'd like. we used a few such as nasturtium, pansy, cosmos.

then you lay another piece of cloth over the flowers-- if your using a t-shirt or big piece of fabric you can simply fold over the cloth. we then sprayed the fabric with water and soda ash or wood ash mixed in a spray bottle. when the cloth is saturated you can begin pounding:

my favorite thing about it is this: the flowers fade, but then, once they do you can keep pounding new flowers into your cloths or sheets or any fabrics to create these beautiful collages of your history and the flowers you've come across. the fabrics become histories of our lives and beautiful stories of our natural world. i LOVE it! thank you rebecca for teaching me this beautiful art and to your wonderful brother michael who took this great photos.