Thursday, May 17, 2012

Between Posts - Still in a Fog

IMG_9578 golden gate bridge fog
Golden Gate Bridge in Fog

Thank you for all your wishes, prayers,and good thoughts for my mother. Her femur is healing beautifully, but unfortunately her mind is on vacation for the time being. She lives next door to my sister now, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, where she receives 24-hour care.

I don't have the bandwidth to resume blogging, but Pinterest  keeps my creative juices flowing, even if only for five minutes a day. I hope to return to blogging here in the new year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Full Plate

DSC06616 Salad Nicoise
Salade Niçoise from La Boulange de Cole Valley

Sadly, no time for blogging at this time. My mother broke her femur two weeks ago and my energies are devoted to ensuring her speedy recovery. Hope to be back soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Between Posts

DSC01229 Golden Gate Bridge vista point

Working through some IT problems. Hope to be back soon.

In the mean time, please enjoy Tony Bennett's signature song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", who first sang the song in the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in December 1961 and recorded it the next month. CBS released it as the B-side of the single "Once Upon A Time". DJ's all but ignored the A-side and chose to flip over the record bringing "...San Francisco" to the top of the pop charts. Bennett received the Grammy for Best Male Solo Vocal Performance and the song received Record of the Year. 

I have always adored this song, but now have a Pavlovian response of glee because it is played over the public address system at AT&T Park after every San Francisco Giants home game victory. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

IMG_6264 cork with heart shadow 

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
     Omar Khayyám (1048–1131; Persian: ‏عمر خیام)

from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, Translated by Edward FitzGerald

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Refuel Cafe in New Orleans

DSC06505 Refuel Coffee & Nosh

Whenever I'm in New Orleans, I make a point to have breakfast at Refuel Cafe at least once during my trip. Ever-charming proprietor Guthrie bravely opened the doors to Refuel only months after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

Image from here.
He more than met his goal to offer gourmet coffee and delicious entrees to the neighbors in the River Bend district who are "hungry for something light, fresh, and different."

DSC06504 Refuel Breakfast Menu

I have no problem getting a table during the week and off hours...

IMG_5170 Refuel

...when there's no line,

IMG_5171 Refuel

...but on the weekends, I am prepared to stand in line...

IMG_5189 Refuel

...and wait for a table.

IMG_5188 Refuel

My patience is rewarded with a delicious frothy cappuccino ...

Image from here.

...and I am reminded why Yelp reviewers declare the grits and cheese as the best in town. 

DSC06503 Refuel breakfast

When I asked Guthrie whether he will share his secret to cooking grits, he cheerfully replied  "It's no secret, you just have to start the slow-cooked grits at four in the morning."

Image from here.

That's what I call a labor of love. 

The menu features other tantalizing dishes that are both savory...

Image from here.

Image from here.

...and sweet.

Image from here.

Image from here.

Refuel is located just around the corner from The Camellia Grill on South Carrollton and a brief walk from the St. Charles trolley stop at Fern Street.

8124 Hampson Street • At the Riverbend • NOLA • 504.872.0187
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7am-2pm • Saturday and Sunday Brunch 8:30am-2pm
If you decide to visit Refuel, please be sure to tell Guthrie that Dutchbaby sent you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dale Chihuly at the De Young Museum - Continued

DSC02660  Dale Chihuly

This post is a continuation of my previous post touring Dale Chihuly's exhibit at the De Young Museum during the summer of 2008.

My favorite part of the 12,000 square foot installation was the Boat Room, where two wooden boats were placed on highly reflective black glass.

DSC02651 Dale Chihuly canoe reflection 

One boat was filled with Nijima Floats, inspired by the small Japanese fishing floats Chihuly used to find on the shores of Puget Sound when he was a child. 

The Ikebana Boat, was filled with glass floral forms.

DSC02247  Dale Chihuly


The Chandelier Room housed Chihuly's iconic designs. 
I'd seen a chandelier in a Barcelona restaurant when I was traveling. There was a chandelier hanging at eye level over each table, because the room had a low ceiling. And it was really beautiful. I loved this idea of hanging a chandelier at eye level. It triggered something that said that now I could make a chandelier, because it doesn't have to be functional.
--Dale Chihuly 
DSC02257  Dale Chihuly

...The parts can be bulbous, long and twisted, short and spiraled, or even frog-toed. Hung together, the many pieces that make up each Chandelier create a unified, though complex, composition.
--Dale Chihuly

DSC02255  Dale Chihuly

DSC02256  Dale Chihuly

Orange Hornet Chandelier was installed in my old loft space in the Railway Building. One great story is that the color was so intense at night, with low voltage light on, we used to get calls because people thought the space was on fire. I always liked that one.

--Tracy Savage, Savage Fine Art, Portland, Oregon

DSC02253  Dale Chihuly

The blue Urchin Chandelier provided a wonderful contrast in texture.

DSC02652 Dale Chihuly blue sea urchin


 The Macchia Forest looked like a prehistoric garden.

I pushed Billy Morris to make Macchia bigger and bigger and bigger. By the time we got done, we were making Macchias about three feet high and three feet wide. At the time, that was the largest glass I'd ever made, and some of the largest glass that had ever been made.
--Dale Chihuly

DSC02643 Dale Chihuly

Pushing the envelope of the medium comes with risk and reward:
It's important that we lose pieces. You get there faster, I think, by losing pieces, because you're pushing yourself and you know how far to come back.
--Dale Chihuly

Yet Chihuly and his team never strayed from their artistry; they didn't create these just for the sake of their grand scale. 

DSC02646 Dale Chihuly


I have a special affection for this red and black object, showcased on the Venetian Wall, because it looks like three-dimensional calligraphy.

DSC02629 Dale Chihuly

Putti are these little characters, they're male, and they were used in Renaissance and Baroque times, and they were put up in the churches, or in the paintings--they were carved out of wood or made of plaster. And they were meant to make people feel good. And to get people together...and maybe they were a little mischievous. They were just meant to suggest a good time, and they looked good. And they probably made people think about youth and this was a great symbol.
--Dale Chihuly

DSC02628 Dale Chihuly


I felt like I was on an exotic snorkeling excursion when I walked under the Persian Ceiling 

DSC02263  Dale Chihuly

I caught myself spotting for Putti swimming among the aquatic forms.

DSC02656 Dale Chihuly

Although Chihuly forms are essentially abstract, they seem nature-based. The undulating sides, swirling lips, and progressively spaced stripes suggest they may have been shaped by eddying water or gusts of wind. Though the scalloped edges are in fact stationary, their apparent fluidity hints at potential movement like the swaying of organisms responding to tidal changes. 
--David Bourdon, "Chihuly, Climbing the Wall"
Art in in America, June, 1990

DSC02269  Dale Chihuly


Mille Fiori  looks like it came directly from Lewis Carroll 's imagination. This grand glass garden rises out of a 12' x 56' reflective platform.

DSC02662  Dale Chihuly

People have asked what inspired me to do the Mille Fiori. It wasn't so much trying to replicate plants as it was a way to work with all the techniques we've learned over the last thirty-five, forty years.
--Dale Chihuly

DSC02664  Dale Chihuly

The idea of the Nijima Floats was not only to make them big, but to use a lot of color in different ways. 

--Dale Chihuly

DSC02668  Dale Chihuly

DSC02669  Dale Chihuly

DSC02666  Dale Chihuly

I have to say that it gives me great satisfaction that I am often able to bring members of the public into a museum, who don't normally go to museums, and that the membership increases. So a new type of person is brought in to see my work, and not only my work, whatever else is inthe museum at that time. 
--Dale Chihuly

I dedicate these two posts to John Edward Buchanan, Jr. whose collaboration with Dale Chihuly brought 400,000 visitors to the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco. He lost is battle with cancer on December 30, 2011.

Update (April 17, 2012): Click here to see how Chihuly repeats many of these components for the exhibit at the Halcyon in London.
All quotes from: Chihuly, Dale. Chihuly: 365 Days. New York: Abrams, 2008. Print.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dale Chihuly at the De Young Museum

DSC02618 Dale Chihuly - Saffron Tower

After I watched "Chihuly: Fire & Light" on PBS last week, I was inspired to dip into my photo archives to find the photos I took during the "Chihuly at the de Young" exhibit in the summer of 2008. 

Director John E. Buchanan Jr. expertly lured Dale Chihuly to come to San Francisco. He leveraged the excitement of the shiny new De Young Museum building and promised an astonishing 12,000 square feet of gallery space to showcase four decades of Chihuly’s illustrious career as a glass artist. The crowning glory was Buchanan’s sweeping gesture of granting full artistic license, which sparked Chihuly and his team of world-class glassblowers to create new pieces for this exhibit. The 400,000 visitors that viewed the show are a testament to the genius of this magical collaboration.

I still miss the 30-foot saffron neon sculpture that stood proudly in the Pool of Enchantment during the show. It was spectacular during the day and at night.


Glass Forest #3 is one of the earliest pieces and has not been viewed in the US since 1972 [1]. This installment represents Chihuly’s early experiments with neon. The milk glass gives the appearance that the long tubes are white hot.

DSC02231 Dale Chihuly - Glass Forest #3

My son’s favorite of the entire collection is Neodymium Reeds on Logs, 2004 with larger-than-life reeds rising dramatically like stalagmites from birch logs. The violet neon continues the soothing cave-like atmosphere. See the full scale of the installation here.

I made the first Reeds in 1995 at the Hackman factory, a small glassblowing shop in Nuutajarvi,k Finland. Unlike other factories, the Hackman facility had very high ceilings, which inspired me to make these elongated forms.[2]
--Dale Chihuly

DSC02241  Dale Chihuly


Persian Wall, 2008 is a grand installation made especially for the De Young Museum.
The Persians – that’s one of the most difficult series to describe. It started off that they were geometric shapes. I think it was a search for new forms. We worked for a year doing only experimental Persians – at least a thousand or more...

DSC02238  Dale Chihuly

Sometimes the Persians became very Seaform-like...

DSC02239  Dale Chihuly

DSC02236  Dale Chihuly

...or they became very geometric. [2]
          --Dale Chihuly

DSC02237  Dale Chihuly

 See an image of the full wall here


The Tabac Basket Room ’s dark lighting evoked the feeling of stepping into a smoke-filled teepee. Pendleton trade blankets covered one wall...

DSC02638 Dale Chihuly

… and woven Indian baskets and their glass counterparts glowed on the opposite wall.

DSC02636 Dale Chihuly

The center of the room showcased the pieces that retained the same organic palette and feeling...

DSC02639 Dale Chihuly

...yet transcended the original basket shapes.

DSC02640 Dale Chihuly


Though he has been creating cylinders for over thirty years, Chihuly hadn’t created any in black until the De Young exhibit.

DSC02261  Dale Chihuly

Drawing inspiration from his extensive trade blanket collection, Chihuly “painted” woven images by fusing glass rods onto the cylindrical forms…

DSC02260  Dale Chihuly

… which appear to glow against the black "canvas" and their bright interiors.

DSC02258  Dale Chihuly

More on this show later.

[1] San Francisco Sentinel
[2] Chihuly, Dale. Chihuly: 365 Days. New York: Abrams, 2008. Print.
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