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Local meat – sausage making & bone broth

Now that we have slaughtered and butchered the pig, we need to move on with processing some of the last parts, which in this case was the bones, skin, fat and meat that was set aside for sausage making, including the heart and tongue. The easiest and longest part of this process is making bone broth. There are many ways of doing so, and depending on how you plan on using it, you can make it as simple or complicated as you wish. When I am looking for a stock with lots of flavour, I tend to roast the bones in the oven with onions and vegetable scraps before covering with water and setting aside to cook. But with the quantity of bones we had on hand, we decided to simply get the best nutrients out of them and leave them with a neutral taste to use in a variety of ways. Many claim that the bones should be soaked in vinegar to enable better leaching of the minerals from the bones, but I have always been content …

Local meat – farm slaughtered

In recent years, we have been fortunate to have truly become involved in being part of our food supply chain. The appreciation you have for what is on your plate when you are part of the entire process is something I can not convey in words. This year, we took it a step further and I am so grateful to have been able to partake in the entire process. A smallholder farm a few kilometers from where we live offered us the opportunity to be part of a small group who would buy, slaughter and butcher our own meat. We of course jumped on the chance! So this spring, three little pigs were introduced to their new home where they had lots of place to play and dig up the ground, be fed well and live a happy life. Well last week, the time to do the dirty deed came along. With the help of another local farmer, we as a group learned by doing. And it was a very educational and rewarding experience. The pigs had …

seasonal food – squash

When the growing season provides you with an abundance of produce, find a variety of ways to preserve it to enjoy throughout the year. Right now, squash is about to burst onto the market (our local food initiative is a great way for us to follow the seasonal food cycle), and one of our favourite recipes in which to use it is in this chutney. Make more than you think you will need, many a dinner guest has requested a jar to take home COURGETTE CHUTNEY by River Cottage Time honoured traditional Indian spices turn a pan-full of courgettes into a superb chutney to enjoy with just about everything; cheese, cold meats, curries etc. 1kg courgettes, green or yellow 2 tablespoons salt 2 medium onions 4-5 large cloves garlic 1 red chilli (more if you want to increase the heat) 25g root ginger 100ml sunflower oil 2 tablespoons black mustard seed 1 tablespoon coriander seed 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon turmeric 300 ml cider vinegar 225g Demerara sugar Start by wiping the courgettes over …

Granbakken at the Local Farmers Market

This weekend Hellviktangen Kulturhus is hosting a mini farmers market. It was a very last minute invite for those who grow and/or create things with local produce, and while looking in my pantry after a season of ‘making’ I thought why not! Every year throughout the late summer and autumn, I put together a good sized batch of homemade goodness, most of which is given out to friends, family and neighbours. This year, I have more than enough! Why ‘Granbakken’? Granbakken (which translates to Spruce Hill) is the name our our property. Our home is an old timber summer house from 1921, and whenever I label something from my kitchen, it has had the Granbakken name on it. I find it very appealing to keep the history of our home alive. So I have been in the studio designing, printing and plotting labels for jams, jellies, salves, tub tea and more! I love being able to combine studio life with kitchen creations 🙂 My children have also been asking when we will be using the fruit press and crusher, and as our usual fall …

it is the process not the product

One thing always holds true, I love to learn. My husband is forever in awe as to how I am never bored. Curiosity, it is a gift, one that I hope to never take for granted. For the last while, my curiosity has had me spending a little less time in the studio, and more time in the kitchen and beyond. Creativity can be expressed in many facets in life, and these last years have been a delicious adventure. I have long thought of starting a new blog, as this one has focused mainly on my studio work, but the truth is that being a ‘maker’ does not have to be confined to my art. Many who know me have heard me say time and time again, that it is the process and not the product that is important for me. Diving in head first and learning everything I can about a subject is something that I love, and in the end, it is the knowledge and experience that I cherish more than the final product… and boy have I …

The life of a Maker… studio time

I managed to get in some studio time of late to finish off some orders, and get a few pieces photographed. Years ago I read that an artist should take photos of everything they make regardless of whether it is going to be a personal gift or go up for sale (or already sold for that matter). Time to start getting into the habit. Jewelry photography is a tedious task, requiring very bright lights with a light tent to control reflections and shadows. I keep thinking I need to set up a photo spot in the studio, such that it is not such an effort setting everything up each time. My children spend quite a bit of time with me in the studio.. asking questions, playing on the floor.. digging through all the tools and supplies while dreaming of what they want to make next (they now even have their own cupboard of supplies). It has been a productive time, and with studio visits scheduled later this week with neighborhood children, there will be lots …

A handmade holiday

With the holidays fast approaching, it is time for my annual ‘buy handmade’ appeal. 🙂 (click here and take a moment to read my post from 2009) Every year, by the time mid-November rolls around our mailboxes fill to the brim with holiday catalogs from near and far. The vast majority of the stuff (for lack of a better word) is made in some far off place where people are underpaid and their work is under appreciated. This year, as every year, I will spend my time making.  I had originally signed up for Epla’s 1st ‘in the flesh’ christmas market, which will surely be a grand success; but due to priorities and a heavy schedule… going into production mode was simply out of the question, so I have had to free up my spot — given the waiting list to get in, I am sure it made someone very happy! Speaking of Epla, they turned 2 this week, and their success is admirable! I started with them when they first opened their doors, and have …

FeltUnited 2011 exhibit is online :)

Another year of FeltUnited comes to a close, bringing together a three year theme covering the colour wheel. What started as a simple idea three years ago as a way of bringing artists together in a joint exhibit, has come together into an event with a following that we could not have dreamed of; over 66000 hits on the website, and well over 1250 artists in close to 40 countries. Given those numbers, one of the big topics covered while Elis Vermeulen and I met in London earlier this week was the future of FeltUnited. Things need to change.. for the betterment of all 🙂 Stay tuned for more information after the new year. Until then, we will be taking time to enjoy our families and rest up before the holidays are upon us. In the meantime, make yourself a warm cup of something good and peruse the exhibits 🙂

Kiln fired enamel

Enamel – a fantastic way to bring some colour into what can often become a world of black and white when working with silver. This week, I have been testing a set of colours from Thompson Enamels – transparent/lead free for use on silver/copper/gold. Enamel is powdered glass which, when heated melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal. Enameling can also be done on glass or porcelain, but requires enamels with a different COE (Coefficient Of Expansion) – expansion rates must be suited to the base surface material. Prior to using enamels, they need to be washed to remove the “fines” – (extra fine particles which can cause your enamel to be cloudy). This can either be done: wet: by rinsing in water multiple times until the water runs clear or dry: by using a series of sifting pans to separate the particle sizes (60, 80, 100 mesh etc.) Regardless of which technique you plan on using to apply the enamel, the silver must be properly prepared, polished and cleaned to …

the big picture

As most artists know all too well, November and December is the busy season, holiday sales carry many of us through the rest of our year. Months ago, as the end of summer approached, the deadline for deciding in which holiday shows to participate came up, and I had to make a decision. In past years I have had open studios, inviting the public in to my atelier to see how and where my products are made. Last year, I took part in the Designers Fair (juried entry) at DogA, the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture on Hausmannsgate in Oslo, 10,000 people in 2 days – exhausting but worthwhile! This year, the invites for various shows came in and I realized that regardless of what options I chose, the workload would be pretty much the same, long hard days in the studio working on new series and collections, evenings back in the studio polishing silver or ironing textiles, display work, pricing, labeling, packaging supplies, being away from my children on the holiday weekends, and stressing …

FeltUnited 2010 is online :)

Yesterday, Elis and I published the 2nd International FeltUnited Exhibit. What started two years ago as an idea to connect artists from around the planet in a joint exhibit, grew to be a worldwide happening celebrated in over 25 countries on 5 continents. Nearly 1000 photos have been compiled in two themed exhibits featuring artists of all skill levels, from new beginners to renowned textile artists; all brought together to celebrate a common passion. Do take a moment to make yourself a comforting beverage, turn on some nice music and watch the show. We have also announced next years date and colour theme; Red–Purple–Blue, our third and final segment of the colour wheel. Please join us October 1st, 2011, see FeltUnited for more details. … and to Elis, thank you.. for everything. You are a dear friend, a fascinating artist and old soul, whom I am blessed to have in my life… I adore you.   EDIT: fixed the links 😉  

We Felt United :)

FeltUnited was celebrated around the world, as felters everywhere shared in their love of wool. Photos are streaming in, and I am in awe of how many joined in on the fun. Chile, Australia, Argentina, Germany, Russia.. the list goes on. Events ranged from large to small, some organized workshops, others decorated public statues, groups marched through city streets boldly wearing this years colour theme… and many hung a symbolic piece on their fence post; and in the meaning of the event, they Felt United.