Wendell Castle Exhibition at the Aldrich Museum

In mid-October I had the opportunity to attend Makers Market, an open-air display of artisans’ work held at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  DJ Carey, a longtime friend of Dujardin Design, is the talented editorial director of Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine and served on the host committee, which made this event a must-see for me.  The artisans presented in this three-day celebration of the arts offered an inspiring look at what’s being created in modern design, covering everything from furniture to candles, jewelry to ceramics, and more.

Wendell Castle, father of the Art Furniture Movement

The highlight of the day for me was the chance to meet  “the father of the art furniture movement,” Wendell Castle.  The Aldrich Museum has curated an exhibit of the modern furniture designer’s stunning work, and as the first major exhibition by Mr. Castle in more than 20 years, you shouldn’t miss it!  The exhibit coincides with Mr. Castle’s 80th birthday; he’s been creating unique pieces of handmade sculpture and furniture for over five decades.

(He reminded me of my father’s brother, Uncle Willie, a furniture designer in the East Village for many years who gave me my first wooden paint box that I carried all through high school, college and graduate school, and taught me so much about design.)

His pieces are bold and graceful, often organic, and are crafted from beautiful hardwoods, plastics, veneers and metals in a timeless contemporary style.  The pieces selected for the Aldrich exhibition were chosen for the narrative they tell about his work.  Almost all of them were hailed as revolutionary in changing the way we look at furniture.  He was one of a group of designers who were recognized in the mid-twentieth century as important to the growing studio craft movement.  Today, his masterpieces are fast becoming some of the most coveted examples of twentieth century design.

Wandering Forms–Works from 1959-1979 is at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum until February 24, 2013.  If you haven’t been to the Aldrich yet, or if it’s been a while since you visited, don’t miss this chance to see a museum nationally known for curating outstanding new art and cultivating emerging artists.

Larry Aldrich (1906-2001) opened the museum in 1964 as one of the country’s first museums devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary art.  Today, the mission of the museum is to advance creative thinking by connecting today’s artists with individuals and communities in unexpected and stimulating ways.   The building itself, located in a historic district with colonial roots, was built in 2003 and based on an abstraction of traditional New England architecture.  The white clapboard and granite museum is a beautiful addition to the original “Old Hundred” building, built in 1783, where Mr. Aldrich first housed his extensive art collection.

A visit to the property and the exhibition would make a wonderful day out in Connecticut–I hope you’ll go!

Color Predictions 2013: Opposites Attract

Colors in paint and home decor are subject to the whims of fashion, just as clothing is. Paint companies have their own in-house color forecasters who define the shades and hues that will coat the walls of homes across the world each year.  Sherwin-Williams  has color forecast 2013 as mysterious, murky, and masculine.  At least, that’s their dark side.  With colors like loyal blue and rare gray, their aesthetic story is the marriage of Victorian romanticism to the future.

If those are too tame for your taste, try a bit of electric lime or exuberant pink. For clearer tones, you might go for aloe, or awesome violet. Their last color pair is nature-inspired, and uses the chalky, earthy colors of sea-buffed stones and weathered shutters.  See if you like spiced cider, or smokey topaz. Choosing colors is about self-expression, so you have permission to be non-conformist, no matter what the forecast says.

 

Autumn in Connecticut

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

 Dear Readers,

This post was written before the devastation of Hurricane Sandy across the northeast.  The beauty of fall is one side of the story; storms and dangerous weather are also part of life in Connecticut, and throughout the world.  I invite you to join me in a look at the gentler side of Autumn, even as we keep those still without power or homes in our thoughts.  I’m making a donation to the Red Cross today.  I encourage you to do whatever you can to help restore our communities.

Autumn is such a beautiful season.  My friend Michael Passarello sent me some wonderful pictures he’s taken, and it inspired me to share the beauty of Connecticut with all of you. Come join me on a virtual walk through the countryside I love, and let’s enjoy the beauty of a Fall day together!

 

japanese maple leaves; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn is a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.”  –Albert Camus

autumn hydrangea; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”–William Cullen Bryant

stewarthia; photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”  –Faith Baldwin

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers, we more than gain in fruits.”–Samuel Butler

photo courtesy of Michael Passarello

“The morns are meeker than they were, the nuts are getting brown; the berry’s cheek is plumper, the rose is out of town.  The maple wears a gayer scarf, the field a scarlet gown.  Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.” –Emily Dickinsen

“Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”–George Eliot

You can’t celebrate autumn without enjoying its wonderful foods.  My husband, Frank, makes a delicious pumpkin tart:  it’s gluten free, sugar free and lactose-free!

  Here’s the recipe.  We call it:

Frank’s Amazing Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Sugar-free Pumpkin Tart

(that makes its own crust!)

Do it all right in the blender!

First of all, all ingredients must be organic.  No pie crust needed – it makes its own thin crust – more like a souffle.

Place in blender:

  • 1 can 16 oz. organic pumpkin
  • 1 can or 13oz. either organic unsweetened evaporated milk or organic Rice Milk or Almond Milk (Amasake) – each one gives a different consistency
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons organic pumpkin pie s pice mix (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup sugar OR 2 teaspoons local organic honey –which we prefer (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of organic rice flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly butter a pie plate. (We use Earth Balance–an organic buttery spread that’s gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, expeller-pressed oil)

Put all the above ingredients –except rice flour– in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of organic rice flour to the blender mix until absorbed – can add more if consistency is too thin.  Pour into pie plate.  Bake until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 – 55 minutes.  Refrigerate any remaining pie.

Enjoy!

 

Photo credit:  Michael Passarello is a writer, photographer, greenhouse consultant and all around nice guy, living in the woods in North Stamford in Hedy Lamar’s old house.  You can reach Michael to inquire about his photographs at zylvert@gmail.com.

Thank you, Michael!

Hurricane Sandy, Connecticut Coast, October 29, 2012