Today was the first day of the second annual Circle Craft Summer Market, and every vendor had to set up in the morning rain. Rainy day outdoor events can be hit-and-miss, but today was my only chance, so I made the trek across town.
The market was busier than I expected for Thursday at 11, and it will only get busier over the weekend. Many of the vendors have square readers, so they can accept credit card in addition to cash. Unlike the Circle Craft Christmas Market, the summer one's free admission, but the quality of work is equivalent. The Summer Market is smaller, and although the booths are closer than in the Christmas Market, they are well laid out and don't feel crowded. I am so glad I went, it was great to recognise so many vendors and see so many beautiful designs. Definitely recommend checking it out!
The goal of government should be to elevate the people. In 2013, Calgary’s public art commission, Travelling Light was completed, and it was not immediately liked. When Mayor Nenshi called the new sculpture “AWFUL,” he set the tone of public discussion around the piece. What followed was the reactionary decision to reduce the 1% of capital budgets dedicated to public art, to 0.5% for projects over $50 million, with a cap of $4 million. Reactionary policy never elevates the people. As any professional artist knows, once a person with so much public sway labels art as ‘bad,’ it severely hinders thoughtful conversation and critique.
The $4 million cap may still appear to be a lot of funding, but consider that this is 1 percent or less of the total cost of the project. It seems as though this cut to public art funding is a way for the city to cover itself for ignoring its own policy. Calgary did not originally allocate a dime to public art for the 1.4 billion West LRT project, which was allowed to run 60 million over budget for a total cost of 1.46 billion. Eventually 3.5 million was found for public art, so the 4 million cap is very convenient. The West LRT line was open at the end of 2012, and now in June 2014 the public art portion of the project is beginning. Nenshi’s 2013 comment followed by a swift policy reaction certainly helped the city avoid responsibility for this public art oversight.
Including more members of the public (up to 3 from 1) in the selection committee for public art projects is not necessarily a bad thing. People should have a say in the way their community looks. But true art is controversial. Many new styles and ideas are not accepted at first by the general public. Acceptance of a piece of public art can, admittedly, take many years. Allowing people without any professional experience in the field to make decisions that will be visible for many years is questionable, and diminishes the role of professional artists.
To put this in a different context, most people would probably not want the city to solicit input from structural engineers when looking to create a healthy diet guideline. A structural engineer may be very healthy and follow an excellent diet, but maybe not. Either way, health is not her/his field of expertise. Likewise, a city may receive excellent critique of an art piece from a citizen with a different area of expertise, but it is not guaranteed and should not be expected.
What this adds up to is the fact that Calgary is now the sort of city that will say it wants quality arts and culture, while writing policy that will have the opposite effect. Nenshi had an opportunity to guide a respectful debate about public art in Calgary, but he failed to do so. He had an opportunity to elevate the people with insightful, well-informed information about - or critique of - Travelling Light, but he didn’t. He simply reacted by dismissing it as “awful.”
Yesterday I had fun demonstrating flameworking at Mini-Maker Faire for Terminal City Glass Co-op. As usual, my work doesn't look like much before it's finished. I was volunteering for Terminal City glass to promote glass classes and membership. The Co-op provided the glass for the demonstrations. Those dark (dididyum) glasses protect my eyes from damage while staring into that flame for hours. It is actually easier to see what I'm making while wearing the glasses.
One of the great things about demo-ing is getting to see Maker Faire for free! I made a pixel pendant at the booth next to ours.
And I contributed some embroidery to a leaf at the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.
I also saw Max, a fellow Co-op member, working in a forge with the Vancouver Community Laboratory.
Another Co-op member I ran into at Maker Faire is Heike Kapp. She has some very detailed and interesting marbles that you can check out on her website.
Although there was a whole section of 3D printers making the same trinkets, and many more kids-centred activities than there have been in previous years, it was still interesting to see most of the vendors. My only regret is not eating any of the food. There were some delicious looking popsicles available from a food truck with a long line. Looking forward to next year.
I am a food enthusiast, both making and eating. Last year I decided to start making fancy cakes, as a way of combining my food love with my art love. The first fancy cake I made was for my birthday last year. If it didn't go well, nobody else's birthday cake would be ruined.
Learning to work with fondant was a fun challenge. Last year's cake was lime flavoured, and I wanted a little surprise of bright colour for my friends when the cake was cut. The design is incredibly simple, but it was not easy to make.
I started out making everything from scratch except the icing (used to make the cake sticky to hold the fondant). I now use purchased gum paste and modelling chocolate if they are needed.
This year, I decided to attempt a sugar pour to make a water lily pond. I also offered a gluten-free chocolate cupcake option for a friend with coeliac, which gave me more cakes to decorate.
This year's cake is pear cinnamon, which I adapted from a simple white cake recipe.
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon flavour
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
Dice pear, place in saucepan, season with cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of salt to taste. Cook on medium while preparing the cake batter, stir occasionally. Cinnamon can form a paste-like texture, this is normal and will mix in to batter later.
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 9 baking pan.
Mix all wet ingredients thoroughly. Add flour, add baking powder, and mix. Add pear mixture. Taste the batter because it's yummy.
Pour into baking pan, bake about 30 - 40 minutes. Baking is complete when the cake springs up when touched. Let cool on rack, and enjoy.
Thank you to my friends and family who celebrated with me. I would not lead a life I love so much without you.