Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We are moving soon from Knoxville to Nashville, TN. It is a distance of less than 200 miles, so I don't  feel the nostalgia of walking around your city thinking, "Oh, this is the last time I'll ___(verb)__ in Knoxville." I may be in denial of mourning this place that we love and, more importantly, the people it in. I run into friends at the grocery store or at the park and awkwardly blurt out, "We're moving."

This evening I found this description form Kunstraum Tapir (an artist residency in Berlin) and I read it as a fortune cookie or horoscope. As with those prophetic media I project myself into the words and have here changed Berlin to be Nashville.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Open the House, Sell the Art

If you live in the Knoxville area, please consider coming to the 17th Street Studio's annual OPEN STUDIO NIGHT. We'll have all our studios open to visitors. We'll be serving snacks and drinks. And some of us will have work for sale. It's always a good time and especially fun if you, like I, enjoy seeing the work spaces of artists and designers. Hope to see you there!

Here are the details to retain:
Thursday, November 29th, 7-9 pm
17th Street Studios
(in the attic of Redeemer Church -- accessible only by stairs)
1642 Highland Ave. (corner of 17th and highland)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Geek Out

This just came in the mail.

I want to eat this book for breakfast.

By which I mean read it thoroughly.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

the don't in don't shove

Good Earth Farmers, a farmer collective out of Jefferson county, sent out this link in their weekly updates: EB White on he meaning of democracy

Happy days after the election.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Coffee and Writing

I stumbled upon this blog by designers, thinkers, and writers Julia and Ellen Lupton. Ellen literally wrote the book on typography. Or at least one that is much loved by those introducing ideas of type to students.

One particular post by Julia talks about a book by her colleague Ron Carlson, "Ron Carlson Writes a Story." The book is about the art and craft of writing and Lupton highlights Carlson's description of coffee as a source of procrastination and distraction. Sub in a quick email, folding laundry, anything for coffee and you've got an apt description of how it feels to derail yourself with hope that, "Once I've tended to that one thing, then I will be productive."

Lupton writes:
A lot of the book isn’t about fiction writing at all. It’s about time management. In a sharp little chapter called “Coffee,” Carlson writes, “No one among us suffers the radical appreciation for coffee that I do. It calls to me, but I have learned not to listen.” Coffee takes you out of your seat; it breaks concentration; it persuades you that “you might be smarter in the next room.” And every coffee machine has a vacuum cleaner as its neighbor. Or an email account. Or a Face Book page.
 Or a blog post. Now back to work.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are perennial sunflowers native to North America. You may have heard of them as Jerusalem Artichokes. The plants grow 8 - 10 feet tall, flower in late summer, and have edible root nodules with a consistency of watercress and the culinary versatility of potatoes.

I got some plants several years ago from a friend who warned me that they take over gardens. I planted them and kept a close eye on them only letting 5 or 6 grow each year. That was mistake.

This tuber bearing rhizome is pervasive, tenacious, and pernicious. The crisp texture of the tubers means they are easily broken in harvest. Small uncollected pieces will root for the following season. I found the plump tubers tucked inside the roots of other perennials plants and throughout the soil. If I am here next spring I will try to pinch out every single plant that comes up. Even then the tubers may have enough stored inulin to see them through til the next year.

This is how we learn. We try things, observe the results, and take notes for the next time. I'd plant Sunchokes again if I needed a tall screen in a sunny place and did not plan to grow anything else there. Ever again. That said, they're tasty and it's neat to eat something from our front yard. As with many things we grow ourselves, the result is punier than what we can buy in a store. These tubers look paler and more elongated than most available commercially. I think that may be a function of being a second season crop. Will see how they taste.

I will scrub them, chop them, toss them in oil and seasonings, and roast them. Mahasti Vafaie (of the Tomato Head) made them into a tasty soup for the first Raise the Roots dinner and I'd like to try something like that with the roasted pieces. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year. Good stuff. Here's to being grateful for what comes up.