Double Helix Test Batches 2018

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers annual glass conference, the Gathering, is next week in Las Vegas, and after a year of absences, Double Helix Glassworks will again be there with its very-sought-after test batches! As I have done in years past, I had the honor to create sample beads for Jed and Julie! I think all my glassy friends will be thrilled with these batches so make sure you queue up early Friday morning! 😀

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I created  beads from my Enchantment, Dragon Scale, and Celestial Series, along with unencased spacer beads…

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CA-706

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EL-702

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OX-696

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OX-705

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PL-699

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ZL-689 – released as Phoebe

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ZL-707

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The Making of the Leather Tote, Part 3

We got pockets! Progress since last update – flap, zipper pocket, and phone pocket (not shown)! Next is the four-inch gusset! Woohoo! 😀

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Alinea

Ever since we watched the Alinea episode in Season 2 of Chef’s Table, it has been on our Bucket List. Getting a reservation at the Michelin 3-star restaurant (one of two in Chicago) was a completely different story, however. So when we were going to head back to the midwest for a special family celebration AND was able to reserve Salon seatings at Alinea, we simply couldn’t resist!

This wasn’t our first rodeo at a top-rated restaurant but what we didn’t expect was how the courses were orchestrated like a performance… and with hidden treasures along the way! In addition to sight and taste, Alinea cleverly integrated another sensory to some of its courses – smell!

The first course was a pear sherbet with roes and shiso leaf along with a spear of romaine lettuce “boat” of vegetables on a lime “pedestal.”

WET SNOW | ASIAN PEAR, ROE, SHISO
SPEAR | ROMAINE, AVOCADO, JALAPENO
Henri Goutorbe “Special Club” Brut, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France 2006

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The second course was sweet crab with coconut, curry, and gruyere cheese, under dried savoy cabbage (that has the texture of seaweed/nori), along with encapsulated orange juice. Water was poured into our citrus bowl center piece (dry ice?) and smoke started to fill our table creating the citrus aroma that enhances the dining experience.

RANINA RANINA | SPANNER CRAB, COCONUT, CURRY
GLOW | SPICED ORANGE
Forge Cellars “Sawmill Creek” Riesling, Finger Lakes New York 2016

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Glow

Our citrus bowl was replaced with a bowl of salt with grain alcohol that was promptly lit (from smoke to fire!). The squid was served with squid ink butter along with a platter of black “rocks” that yielded two hidden artichoke purée stuffed soft gel olives (those were really yummy).

BLACK | OLIVE, ARTICHOKE
INK | SQUID, BLACK GARLIC, CALENDULA
Eladio Piñeiro “Envidiacochina” Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain 2016

Squid

Can you find our artichoke purée stuff olive gel? They are shinier than the real rocks!

Black

Juniper branches were placed over the bowl to smother the fire creating a smokey aroma to go with my favorite dish of the evening – a translucent piece of langoustine noodle that resembles a piece of rice paper in a bowl of the best bouillabaisse broth I have ever had. We were to submerge the noodle in the broth to reconstitute it and have it with a very crunchy purée black garlic potato (mine was carrot) stuffed nori roll.

And two “eggs” – small venison and pork sausage stuffed donuts – were hiding in the juniper branches!

CRUNCH | ROUILLE, NORI
PAPER | LANGOUSTINE, BOUILLABAISSE, OLIVE OIL
Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy, France 2014

SMOLDER | VENISON, JUNIPER, HUCKLEBERRY

You can barely see one of the donuts hiding in the juniper branches, it’s slightly to the right of center at the very top of the picture.

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Then we had an interruption. We were told to all stand up and follow the leader down the stairs for a kitchen tour! We were served savory steamed cake (the lightest cake ever!) with mint, allspice and brown sugar, along with apple brandy with pomegranate.

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When we got back to the table, the juniper branches were removed and our server prepared the next dish at our table. He first dug up a Yukon Gold potato from the salt, cleaned it off with a brush, mashed it up with butter, chive, parsley, celery, onion, Applewood smoked bacon, etc., and adding to it thick and creamy clam chowder.

THE CAPE | CLAM, POTATO, BACON
OLD BAY | OYSTER CRACKER

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Next was Maitake mushroom, foie gras truffle with kale kim chee with raspberry thins and sauce.

GLASS | BLUEBERRY, LAPSANG SOUCHONG, MAITAKE
Antica Terra “Ceras” Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2015

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The final savory dish was Sonoma squab served under a piece of binchotan charcoal along with black rice “noodles.” On the side was a spiral of beet and a piece of beef jerky masquerading as a vanilla bean.

COAL | SQUAB, BLACK FORBIDDEN RICE, BINCHOTAN
SPIRAL | BEET, MUSTARD, CHILI
BEAN | TENDERLOIN, SPICES
Bergstrom “Gargantua” Syrah, Oregon 2014

Coal

Squab

First dessert was a light goat’s milk honey cake with goat cheese (mine was just olive oil) served with a shot of shiso (red), aloe (clear in the middle) and pineapple (yellow at the other end). We were told to suck from the red side like a straw until we got to the pineapple end. It was delicious!

AIR | GOAT CHEESE , MANUKA
SHOT | PINEAPPLE, ALOE, SHISO

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A platter of yummies – cherry blossom, purple sweet potato, miso, chocolate, hazelnut, and etc. Can’t say I was paying that much attention anymore at this point! 😉

ROCK | SWEET POTATO, CHOCOLATE, MISO
Chateau Suduiraut, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 2008

Rock

Last but not least – S’mores on a stick served on charred birch so a little smokiness was captured in the s’mores, along with a green apple helium balloon. We were told to kiss the balloon and breath in… so I did and spoke with my helium induced squeaky voice!

NOSTALGIA
CAMPIRE | DARK CHOCOLATE, BIRCH, MARSHMALLOW
BALLOON | HELIUM, GREEN APPLE

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It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

The Making of the Leather Tote, part 1

Many of you who stuck with me these past six months are probably tired of my “talking” about my TOTE – the project I have been waiting to create since starting my leather workshops with Amblard Leather Atelier back in August. You can safely say that the TOTE was the reason I took the class and have been waiting – impatiently – to get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the smaller projects until now – and completely understand Beatrice Amblard’s skills-building agenda. Let’s just say that I have learned many invaluable techniques and am THRILLED that I am finally at the project of my dreams! 😀

So I decided to chronicle The Making of the Leather Tote and share some of them with you! If you are interested, may I suggest following my blog?

It literally took a full day to design a few components (based on some set parameters), cut the paper pattern, and then cut all the leather pieces. I believe there were 30 pieces in all.

Of-course I went with green, Lichen, and green, Aloe – dark on the outside and light on the inside, both in grain leather, with black hardware (will have to take a picture to share later) and black linen thread. (The brown you see top of the picture is only the backing and won’t be visible).

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Channel Setting

After realizing that nine of the last 10 entries were all about leather, I think it’s time to write about something else… 😉 Guess with my new passion, I have neglected to share many of my metalsmithing pieces!

I continue to take classes with the fabulous Lisa D’Agostino at the Community Education Program at College of Marin – a Bay Area Community College 30 minutes north of San Francisco. Every seven-week session, we work on a project that hones our skills on a different metalsmithing technique – various stone settings (and there are LOTS of them!), forging, fold forming, etching, enameling, riveting, cold connections, casting, mold making, tool making, etc. etc.

This channel setting project started with carving a wax piece. It was the first time working with engravers and I enjoyed the process very much – probably because it feeds on my anal-retentive tendency! Here is the back of the wax piece.

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After it was cast in sterling silver, there was quite a bit of cleaning up and fitting the stones in the channel. I picked peridot – my favorite semi-precious stone. No surprise there for it’s green! 😉

 

Instead of a simple pendant like everyone else, I decided to create an interchangeable “bail” for my glass beads especially since I rarely wear necklaces unless it’s to showcase my glass work. I added a curved tube for the chain and a loop to hang the bead. This picture also shows  the channel setting well.

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Here it is – complete with one of my Celestial Series glass beads!

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Leather Clutch

As promised, here is my latest finished project – a hand stitched clutch – at my Intermediate Workshop at Amblard Leather Atelier! I have to admit that I tried my best to zip through this project so I might start my TOTE! Fortunately, it contain fewer new techniques than some of the other earlier projects – curved gussets, padded construction, inside pocket, and magnetic closure.

I again picked dark green smooth leather on the outside and Aloe grain leather on the inside to match my wallet (and zipper pouch)! 😀

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The TOTE has commenced!!!