Month: September, 2012

Closing, Potluck

A month is almost over and our show, FEAST, ends on Saturday.

It’s time for a real feast! Please come to a POTLUCK LUNCH from 1-3 at Grover Thurston Gallery on Saturday, September 29th. Please bring food to share. You can see old friends and meet new ones.

Thanks for visiting the show and this blog over the month.

At the end of the potluck we will dismantle the bread wall and you can take home a piece if you would like. The bread will last for years if it stays in the open air.


Carrot Salad

Here is a recipe for carrot salad from the Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison. It is simple and tasty. You can vary it by adding cumin or raisins or cayenne pepper. I make it so often that supper guests expect it and quite possibly dread it.


1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

2 TBS lemon juice, 1 TBS sugar, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp orange flower water, a pinch of salt.

Combine the dressing ingredients and toss with the carrots. Chill and serve.

(Orange flower water is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is also good sprinkled on oranges with a little cinnamon.)

Feast or Famine

This show, FEAST, contains work that Joe and I created over several years. But for me the work didn’t come in a steady flow. I work in my studio consistently but my ideas and output ebb and flow. Sometimes I am dissatisfied with what I am making and sometimes I am excited. What I want, and what I sometimes get, is to be so absorbed in what I am doing that the work takes on a life of its own; creating starts to feel like a conversation. I call this traction – my friend Deborah Mersky calls it flow. I think we are talking about the same thing. When I don’t have flow or traction I am itchy, miserable and self-doubting. When I do then life falls into place around the central act of creating. Sometimes I can’t remember what starts a flow of ideas and sometimes I can. Here are a few things that bumped me into creativity for this body of work.

I saw a show of African American quilts at the Bellevue Art Museum this summer. I was inspired by the beauty, the utility and the imperfection of the quilts. This subtle variations in shape and the many shades of blue and white – all slightly different – made this quilt come alive.

The quilts jolted me with the idea that images don’t need to be complicated to be beautiful or meaningful, and they led to the series of work that I called Blue Quilts. I did many paintings on small sheets of paper and pieced them together like quilts. I dyed some of the sheets of paper with tea to create variations in the whites.

Another bump came when I was having lunch with a friend – Margaret Chodos-Irvine. I was frustrated with the work I was doing for Feast and feeling empty of ideas. She said: “Well, you can’t just paint a Feast. It has to be feast or famine.” How could I have forgotten? I almost kicked over the table in my eagerness to get back and  paint. These paintings and more were sparked by that conversation.

In old still-lifes the butterfly symbolized mortality. Life is fleeting. Fruit ripens and dies. We ripen and die. Feast and famine go together, as do life and death, creative times and fallow times.


Julie: What piece of art do you remember first noticing or caring about?
Joe: When I was a kid Northgate was brand new and they carved a totem pole there. I remember watching it go up  – the wood shavings on the ground. I liked all of the different faces and animals stacked on top of each other. It was hard to figure out exactly what it was. I’m still looking at totem poles. I look at them every opportunity that I get  – luckily in Seattle there are many of them to look at.

Here are some totem poles from Seattle and Canada.

Here is some of my work. I like stacking things on top of each other  – that’s for sure.


The show opened last night. We forgot to take pictures, but these figures from the bread wall show how we felt.

Thanks to everyone who came by and made it such a fun evening.

Setting Up the Show

Today we went down to the gallery and set up the show. Here are some pictures of the work going up.

I installed the bread wall. First I spread all of the bread pieces on the floor on tablecloths and then nailed them to the wall.

You can see more pictures of the Bread Wall by clicking here.

Here is a picture of Susan Grover hanging our wall of collaborative drawings. She and Joe put them up.

And here is Richard Thurston hanging a wall of paintings by Joe.

Please come by the Grover Thurston Gallery for the opening on Thursday night from 6-8. Anything that is crooked in these pictures will be straightened out by then!