Saturday, January 23, 2016

hello you...

I always keep a piece from a new body of work: I need to spend time getting to know it. 

#15 “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow: Orange and Red Slurpee” pinched porcelain vase form. Height: 8 inches.
Christine Pedersen. 2015.

And so #15 stayed with us, and I schemed up a delightful challenge for myself: in the name of art—and pictures for my blog—I would fill it with flowers for every opportunity I could make up for a whole year. Sweet.


First up: a lovely (and very modestly priced) bouquet from the supermarket for Christmas 2015. 


#15 “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow: Orange and Red Slurpee” pinched porcelain vase form. Seasonal flowers.
Christine Pedersen. 2015.

I always approach a vase thinking about the overall shape, as something to contemplate in my home, because most of the time it will probably stand empty. But as I make the piece, I end up imagining flowers and how they will fill it: how the stalks reach down to the bottom and push off at an angle; how wide a base needs to be for stability (versus how saucy a narrowing foot looks under a wide form, disappearing into the table top). And what is the right width for the neck so that the stems are supported? All this makes me think about what kind of flowers I might arrange in it, or how many - sometimes a vase needs to be just right for that one daisy fallen across the path (or a lone purple pansy abandoned on the sidewalk - the subject of my first blog post).

The “Orange and Red Slurpee” glaze decoration is new - I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I started the “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” glaze pattern in lime green and bright yellow. Anyone who has visited my home knows that we have a thing for orange and red, they are such fun together—they just make me feel happy.

Next stop: Valentines Day. Bring on the red!

Vases are available from Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

gluten free brownies

It’s January. It’s cold. Comfort foods rule. And we’re on the way to February—still cold—and the first of the chocolate holidays… Perfect time for a tray of brownies.

Gluten free chocolate brownie: topped with dark chocolate ganache fondant icing and dried sour cherries, dusted with icing sugar.
Served on a wood-fired stoneware platter. Christine Pedersen. 2016.

A gluten free friend sent me this brownie recipe back in 2002—and I still have the original email I printed off. The paper looks a bit brown now - not from age - just the accumulated smudges of brownie batter and fondant icing from hundreds of bakings… For I am “She Who Brings The GF Brownies” to neighbourhood functions, a deliverer of dessert to those prowling the buffet table in the hope of a dietarily-appropriate chocolate fix. But, if asked, other guests do not seem to care that the recipe also happens to be gluten free, they’re just scarfing down really good brownies before they all get eaten.

All this makes me ponder the potentially unanswerable: is there such a thing as the “perfect” brownie? Maybe. But perfect for me and perfect for you might be different solutions to the same problem: I found that this recipe is so good for me that I have never sought another.

My friend adapted the recipe in one key way as she wrote it out for me: fondant was originally described as “optional”, to which we both said “Yeah, right!”. I have added my own fondant recipe (thanks mum, again!) because I like it to be seriously chocolatey, and because I like a LOT of fondant.

I wish you good eating, and may this recipe aid in the quest for your perfect brownie.

Please read on for the brownie recipe.