The sourdough experiment is complete and successful, hooray! Other than being little less shapely than I imagined it has a good chewy texture and a pleasantly sour flavor. Glad the invested time paid off!
Also, the wait between each bit of rising, proofing and baking allowed me to work on a more artistic project. Here is a sneak peek for now but I will take pictures of the finished products soon. The self assigned design challenge was to make a few different variants of adjustable lanyards on which future carved charms could be hung. Since I am pleased with my last carving I am inspired to make other forms but would like to have my hand be more visible in the cord as well. Not to mention it gives me satisfaction to use some of my sea skills!
This year has not been so much about making and keeping a list of New Year's resolutions as it has been about resolving, every new day, to make the most of what mother nature provides. In a lot of ways its funny to me how the general attitude in a snowless ski town plummets with every day of continued rain except that I am not immune either. A few years ago the farthest thing from my imagination is that I would sympathize and suffer alongside the thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies of the AK ski scene... but here I am, and, with the added bonus of having no work due to no snow there seems to be a lot of time in our lengthening days.
To cope I have begun implementing a variety of techniques including getting out of bed before the sun (sunrise is 9:45AM), doing at least two of the following activities: skiing, trail running, yoga, dog-walking, swimming..., eating more vegetables, engaging in positive and meaningful conversation, and creating something I am proud of. Low and behold, after a few days of this I can feel my self-worth bubbling to the surface again, growing into a stream of productive energy and making me want to spread the word. Just because our culture conditions individuals to expect instant gratification does not make us unable to tap into the capacity to adapt that past generations needed to survive!
And so, in that spirit, I have taken on sourdough, yes, the bread... historically viewed in this state as a sign of thrift and toughness, a qualifying attribute of ones chances to "make it". Turns out rightly so! I acquired a start some time ago and have been feeding it enough to make pancakes now and again which is not difficult at all. However, last week when I began feeding it every 12 hours with the intention of making actual loaves of bread I came to realize just how much energy goes into this delicate mothering process. It is, after all, alive so many factors influence its resulting liveliness and it was not until this-morning that I managed to wake it up enough to leaven bread. Now I embark on the bread making journey that is as much following the directions as my heart, a baking adventure with no guarantees! So-far the overnight start is rising nicely... stay tuned and I will post the results. For more about starting sourdough read up at: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/04/08/maintaining-your-sourdough-starter-food-water-and-time/.
Now I go to yoga, having already skied, and then, and then, and then--life continues continuing. Its truly a beautiful thing and no matter what the weather, not to be taken for granted.
January is here! Here in Girdwood we welcomed it with a little gathering of friends which evolved into a joyful romp around town, each of us clad in homemade party hats and outlandish, costume-y dresses, in pursuit of watching fireworks. Sadly, I do not have any snapshots from the night as they would be amusing. With a little imagination perhaps one could envision our party of 8 in pointy, painted, paper hats with winter coats over-top princess-like dresses for the girls and regular pants for the boys, rubber boots and ice cleats were worn all around, as was the passing of a bottle of New Years champagne; the group gazes ever upward and cheers with every explosion of colorful light but is quiet at the grand finale of a hundred paper lanterns slowly taking flight. A fun night indeed.
This week that has followed has flown by, as often happens, but not without some accomplishments on the artistic front. My idea for a selkie like wearable form has come to completion and I am rather happy with her. For it I used a piece of fossilized mammoth ivory that was given to me by a native ivory carver when I first moved here. I think the resulting piece has a native quality itself, which seems only fitting. The material was different to work with than pre-ban elephant ivory, vegetable ivory or bone; it felt almost gummy under the file and carved very smoothly with my chisels and knife. For a finish I just used high grit sandpaper and whatever oils escaped my hands. The colors in the ivory are so pretty I was afraid to mar them. To make her wearable I boiled seine mending twine in beeswax and spliced a loop through her arms and made a sliding loop with a fisherman's knot through her flippers. I like the green with the hews in the ivory, its a quiet combination. She was a little tricky to photograph but take a look, I would be happy to receive feedback!
A periodic glimpse into the artist's surroundings, processes and resulting handy works.