Steel cut

A friend posts something about how to cook and freeze portions of steel cut oats so that cooking them would not be a chore. I answered with this:
“OK, I’ll admit it. When you look at me a lot of what you see is oatmeal. I have been eating it once to twice a day since 1980 or so. I have never eaten it three times in a day. After 34 years of this I am a little tired of it but I keep eating it anyways. It lasts the whole morning and all throught the night. I have cooked steel cut oats a few times but as many of you know, I am just an old fashioned flake.”

 

Dysgraphia

Dys Graphia
June 14, 2014

Dysgraphia, It seems like a new word. It is a relatively knew concept but I do not know how new. The condition that it describes has been around for a long time.

I am not a psychologist, but having this condition or symptoms of it, I feel like I know it intimately. Dysgraphia according the sources I read is a transcription disorder. Thoughts and ideas in transcription disorders have a hard time making it from the brain into another media like writing or speaking. Dysgraphia is particular to print/typed/or written media, some kinds of stuttering seem very similar.

Students with dysgraphia often have a hard time printing or handwriting legibly. The real problem seems to lie in the fact that printing or handwriting, or even typing takes up or takes over so much processing power that other thinking cannot happen at the same time. Now 58 years of age, I still can have to fill out a simple forms sometimes 5 times in order to get simple questions answered without spelling errors or putting them into the wrong spaces. In order to succeed, I need a quiet space, a lot of motivation, and a clear head. Any distractions will get my address on the “city” line or my signature in the ” print name here” space. I frequently misspell my first name.

Clearly, not being able to compose a paper well is not the same as not being able to print well, but if you have dysgraphia and are 8 years old unless someone knows what troubles this condition can cause they are likely to conflate the two problems. I now can write some, but only because I have taught my fingers to type as I speak. They run nearly on auto pilot. I speak quietly to myself and let my fingers mimic with the keys. It is what I am doing right now as I write this. On occasion, I can dictate something I really have prepared well in my head to my fingers to print. I have gotten good enough at this now that I can read my own writing.

More accurately, what I do is compose a sentence and store it as sound, as speech, and then repeat audibly as my fingers try to keep up with my mouth.

As a child, rewriting was painful. My hands hurt from writing, from trying to force them into neatness. Often I ended up with many more errors on a simple “copy without the spelling errors rewrite” than I started with. I am still fearful of forms that require filling in. Typewriters helped with this but the same transcription problems exist with me and typing. Either I am concentrating on what I am saying or I am concentrating on the typing. It is nearly impossible for me to do both. Spelling correctly as I work on a sentence can be near impossible. I never even try to write something significant when I am the least bit tired. Forms, yes these exist, that need to be printed out and filled in by hand, are my nemesis.

Consequently, even the typing class I took in 8th grade was a failure. Trying to type without error kept my speed way down. It still would be at less than 20 words per minute now if I needed it to be near error free. I don’t know how many words I can get through in a minute if I am not worried about errors but it is way faster. The speed allows the ideas to flow, and more importantly my fingers to flow without effort, but I suspect that training my brain to compose slower also has had an impact. My ability to record my thoughts grows steadily.

Nobody today that knows me well would think that I am not smart. But I still have a hard time finding vocabulary as I speak. Many of my ideas often seem to difficult to put into speech. It can take me years to figure out how to say them. Until then it can the exist in my head in something I think of as “blob state”. The large disconnect between my knowledge and ability to express it has existed since I was a child. Often the ideas associated with these troubles are very abstract, and it is no wonder that it is hard. But I should be able to do this more easily. I am still bitter about being laughed at and discounted for not being understood. Now I quickly figure out when this is happening. It has not made life happier.

My earliest experience with the inability to verbalize was in my ability to make complex decisions based on probability and chance. A childhood friend was awed by some of this ability and asked me how I was doing it. I answered him about a half of a year after he asked when I could verbalize it. It took that long to develop the verbal ability to express it.

I am convinced that the continual harping about spelling, grammar, and neatness prevents many people from ever discovering that they could learn to write well and that they do have significant things to say. It is not that spelling or grammar are not important, but even I find myself correcting them early in students papers. It is easy to do, so you do it first. Content commentary and criticism is harder.

Many things have helped get me to overcome my problems. The computer, spell check, and recognizing that the grammar and spelling police conflate content with BS. I do recognize that these things do make things easier to read, but they have nothing to do with content and worry about them while composing displaces content. In those with dysgraphia the displacement the writing police inflict can be complete, and what you get is well spelled nothingness.

There are lots of people who say that if you cannot express yourself well, you have nothing to say. At best this is sloppy thinking. It is often deliberate sloppy thinking. Ideas often exist without the ability to express them. Expression is a skill and ability. Expression is separate from ideation. One would never think that Helen Keller had “nothing to say” until she learned to sign, yet we say things like this in our society all the time. I am fed up with this mistaken idea.

What I find in helping students with artist statements is that some of the people who have the hardest time getting things out on paper often have the most profound things to say. And at least some of this makes sense. If you have to think long and hard before you speak it seems more likely that what you say will be new and original and well thought out. Also as these sometimes already exist in some organized structure in someones head, that once the idea is tripped or allowed to emerge in another medium like speech, it sometimes properly it flows out in paragraphs, outlined as thesis, argument and discussion, conclusion. I try to type it into my computer as students talk about their work. It helps.

All in all, I think that this condition and its nonrecognition does us great harm. We loose meaningful input of people often of high intelligence. And if you have read this far, think about the idea that my ability to write it down may have never developed. Dysgraphia is real. It has a big impact on people’s lives. It is often very easy to accommodate a dysgraphic persons needs and to help them overcome. Don’t rely on me as an expert. Look it up.

Bai Krapow

Might have to cook this: http://www.khiewchanta.com/… or maybe this: http://shesimmers.com/…
Pork & Crunchy Basil ( Yum Mu Sam Chan Grapow Grob ) (Appon’s Thai Food Recipes)
www.khiewchanta.com
A typical gop-gam dish to eat as a snack or with alcoholic drinks. This one is f…See More
2 minutes ago · Like · Remove Preview
Louis Katz http://www.epicurious.com/…
Pad Prik Bai Kaprow Stir Fry with Basil Recipe by elaurance | Epicurious.com
www.epicurious.com
Find the recipe for PAD PRIK BAI KAPROW – STIR FRY WITH BASIL and other chicken recipes at Epicurious.com
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Gai-Pad-Bai-Gaprow-14425

echoPiRLP

I am working on my Echolink IRLP node. This is a Ham Radio/Voice over the internet protocol (VOIP) amalgam. Echolink and IRLP are two different manifestations of this combination of ham radio and the internet. They both can be run off of a linux server. My old one was a Pentium II. I decided to move to a Rasberry Pi for several reasons. One is energy savings. The Pi a Iphone sized computer uses much less electricity. The second is for “fun” and education. I have had to extend my knowledge of Linux a bit and also knowledge of the software to make it go.

Despite the monumental and well appreciated efforts of those programming IRLP, Echolink, The Bridge, Debian, and Debian on Rasberry, the installation of all of this is not trivial. It can be, what I think of as frustrating fun. The hurdle is a pain until you’re past it. This is sort of a manifestation of hitting your foot with a hammer so that it will feel better when you stop. I still have at least one hurdle left. Then node is not accepting my DTMF commands via radio or a web interface on Echolink. Consequently I cannot call out on this software, but incoming connections are working.

The basic steps in this are:
Securing proper equipment
Formatting your SD Card for you Pi
Installing your Linux version on the card
Configuring your Linux for IRLP
Getting a modified IRLP board for the Pi or modifying it yourself
Getting or modifying cables to work with the board, the pi, your radio and a USP soundcard.
Installing the IRLP software
Configuring and testing the software. Learning that if you download then you probably need to use aumix to set your sound.
Reconfiguring the sound.
Getting CW ID to work. This means bridging pins 3 and 4 on you DB9 to the radio cable. Hey maybe this is pins 2 and three, look it up somewhere else!
Final IRLP test and then backup_for_reinstall . Save with a name indicating that this does not have echolink installed yet.
Download and install Echolink.
So far the bug I have found is that a file in bin should be in sbin. This was fixed with a symbolic link.
Here are pictures:
dscn8892

IRLP board-Pi board-with ribbon cable connector
The proposed enclosure is behind it. There will be room inside for a Baofeng 440 transceiver.

dscn8893
Pi

dscn8894
IRLP board with yellow tape under one side of the diode to modify it for use with the Pi

dscn8895

Old commercial radio modded for 440 with power supply and fan.

dscn8890

Antenna.

Enclosure

dscn8938

dscn8939

 

 

 

Din Phao, Din Phao: ดินเผาดินเผา

Dankwean Dinpaw , the sales area on the road is hurting. Based on quick appearances……..There has been an incredible building of sales malls. People are still building them despite lots of vacancies. Perhaps, hopefully, people believe that sales will improve. The old large potteries are falling into disrepair. Umdang is closed essentially and the business that they do is via phone sales and visits to sites where they design installations, murals and bas reliefs. The have almost no road sales except perhaps tiles.
Chao Din (people of the earth) seems to still be producing murals, but the bustling stream of visitors and buyers seems to have ended. Its once immaculate display area is getting funky. The fish pond is full of algae and the air and water pumps not working. The koi are oblivious, but as a visitor it is not nearly as nice looking.
The old professors are dead. Ajahn Pit who was always welcoming and nice to me died a few years ago and his daughter and son took over for a few years. I am told that they are now in the US. Like Chao Din the once brilliant and organized display of Ajahn Pit’s Din Phao has seen better days. Eddie McGrath wrote that there is a tendency in restaurants to rather than keep up on maintenance to just “let it go” and sell out to someone who wants to sell cheaper food and build a newer restaurant. The tendency may have some similarities here, but it is not working, Only a few nik-nack shops across the street seem to be doing well with street-side sales. I have seen several places packing work up for sale elsewhere.

Ajahn Wirot from Din-Dam has been dead for some time and his once chaotic display and museum is hard to see among the weeds and behind the distracting buildings. It would surprise me to find out that any sales at all were going on there.

Across the street from Umdang there is a place where tour busses stop because the displays are clean. They sell espresso there for 45 baht and about 100 yards away it is only 25. There apparently are people buying little nicknacks still.

The hand skills on the “traditional” carved surface Dankwean pots have continued to improve. There is truly some incredible carving going on. I hope that the scrafitto workshop really takes hold as this would help create an opportunity for these skills to translated to fired surfaces. That said the painted surfaces look better and better every year I visit.

Breath and the Brute

Breath and the Brute: Exhaling Stone in Thailand

Potmaking, making real pots, is a good educational track for future sculptors. Former makers of real pots, assuming these are pots with breath,  go on to make sculpture with similar life and erumpent form.

Chris Berti’s carved limestone sculpture shows such breath apparently descended from his potmaking. The sculptures have a taut skin. They look as if a prick in the skin would lead to a fountain of limestone squeezing out; the skin hangs on the volume. In these forms the tight skin creates the feeling of erumpency, a readiness to burst forth, also know as pregnant form.

I have been thinking of the obvious visual differences between the form of pottery and that of traditional European stone and bronze sculpture and the basis for this difference. The great stone sculptures shown in traditional Western art history survey courses have skin on muscle and bones, the muscle and bones being the structure upon which the skin is stretched. These sculptures never deny mass, you sense their weight, their density. If you were to squeeze them you would sense muscle, and bone. The muscle bone and sinew sensed through and reflected in the nuance of the skin reinforces our knowledge and understanding of the mass inside. In pottery-derived form the mass is denied or minimized, the skin seems stretched on volume, a moving kinetic volume of air, or perhaps another light fluid medium. Squeezing volumetric form, at least squeezing it in your minds eye causes a sense of increased or decreased pressure, of air movement, or in some closed forms a sense that the form will “pop”.

I am not convinced of the superiority of either paradigm, these paradigms of mass or volume, but I work in a University studio next door to a sculpture studio and notice the shift when I travel just a few feet. It is not the materials that change but the eye, conventions, and aesthetic. This is not to say that volumetric form is unknown in sculpture (or for that matter mass to the potter). In fact sculptors working with volume, in the potter’s paradigm, seem to gain recognition on its account. It is just that this kind of form is harder to get in concrete media than truly plastic media. Mass is what stone is about. Denying mass and stressing volume is apparently difficult to do but it can make work dynamic. When one paradigm informs another it makes both stronger.

Several years ago I had the good fortune of returning to Thailand. I had been thinking of Clary Illian’s book on potmaking. I visited the remains of a bronze foundry that had been relocated outside of Thonburi, a suburb of Bangkok. The old factory specialized in Bronze images of the Buddha. The sizes ranged from 6 inches to 9 feet tall. The sinuous limbs and lithe but full form of Thai Buddha images sculpted in wax on top of plaster cores have kept my mind returning to this foundry. These wax forms had no sign of the underlying bones and muscle, no structure. What they had was erumpency, the breath of inflation, a sense of the volume within. The skin was taught. Visiting the factory and revisiting the process gave me a clue to what I believe is the reason. I have ceased wondering if the sense of fullness in these forms is related to the importance of breath in Buddhist religion and meditation. I now believe that breath was imparted consciously by the sculptor.

Several years ago I returned to a bronze foundry in Thonburi Thailand after an absence of 8 years. The old factory specialized in Bronze images of the Buddha. The sizes ranged from 6 inches to 9 feet tall. The sinuous limbs and lithe but full form of Thai Buddha images sculpted in wax on top of plaster cores have kept my mind returning to this foundry. These wax forms had no sign of the underlying bones and muscle, no structure. What they had was erumpency, the breath of inflation, a sense of the volume within. The skin was taught. Visiting the factory and revisiting the process gave me a clue to what I believe is the reason. I have ceased wondering if the sense of fullness in these forms is related to the importance of breath in Buddhist religion and meditation. I now believe that breath was imparted consciously by the sculptor.

Most traditional bronzes in the west start as a clay model often with a wire or wood armature, a mold is taken from the model and then it is cast creating a thin skin of wax inside the mold. The hollow interior is formed by pouring plaster investment inside the thin skin of wax. The outside is then also invested in plaster. In large scale Thai Buddhas the core (volume) is modeled out of investment first. This looks a lot like a Buddha, but the artist has to visualize the finished form. Detail is left off. Over this core, this image of the internal volume of the figure a skin of wax is applied. Then details such as the curls representing hair, fingers, and other thin details such as folds in the robe are added. The finished images, like well made pots have the sense of kinetic volume, and a dynamic volume like that talked about in Clary Illian’s book. The skin although just wax has a sense of elasticity. In ceramics this dynamism of surface comes from the process and materials but requires skill to enhance and conserve. This sense is easy to kill. In wax it seems to come solely from finesse. Lots of finesse.

Back when I was in school in Kansas City we used to grunt about pots. Our ideas were at the state where we did not have many words to describe them. Victor (Babu) with brilliant hand gestures would do minimalist dances describing the positive, negative, or lacking attributes of our pots. Victor would talk about pots, springing from within, as blossoming and would talk about pregnant luscious form. With the dance and gestures the words had great meaning.  We went on a dictionary quest for more words for Victor’s use and found the word erumpent. He wasn’t much impressed. It may have been that I defined it as, “Ready to burst”.  It may have been the lack of positive connotation. These words, blossoming, luscious, erumpent, pregnant, kinetic are all variations on a theme. They seem to reside inside the overarching term of what is now called breath. Even in pots, this term breath seems to speak of life-force. In a less spiritual language breath is the word to describe an active skin/volume relationship.

I am not a big fan of sentimentalism in discussion of art but when you talk about art you necessarily tell lies, what some of my Catholic friends might call lies of omission. The words trim off essential nonverbal meaning. I tend to think that a lot of what is said is vacuous, words with no insides, like pots without breath (Dancing while speaking, gesticulating, give words greater fluency). While in school I always had a suspicion about all the talk of the inside hand, feeling the form from within, sensing the volume. My suspicion was that it was poppycock. I could not have been more wrong. I had begun to be converted sometime in the mid to late eighties. It could have been a small series of pitchers by Josh DeWeese while he was between undergraduate and graduate school. To really see it you have to look at bad pots, next to good ones. Photographs only carry traces of breath. I became convinced of the primacy of volume over form in potmaking while working on inflatable teapots for the Las Vegas NCECA. We put together some not well-made inflatable clear plastic teapots the size of travel trailers, and put an audience inside them while we subjected the audience to a tortured story about Alice’s life with Lewis Carroll. Looking at the skin while inside a teapot was a big education. I learned volumes.

I now talk about throwing from the inside, the volume, breath, erumpency, the inside form, with my students. I see the same look on their eyes, “what a bunch of sentimental art talk without substance”.  I wish for them a visit inside a teapot, a good look at a Thai Buddha, and the clarity that comes from a good deep breath. Breath is there to see, once you look

Louis Katz Breath and the Brute: Exhaling Stone in Thailan

Volumne, axis, centrifigualforce as the replacement for bones and mass.

Up Wind

I am preparing to go to Thailand. I have lists and even a list of lists. I have packing lists, lists of paperwork to duplicate, lists of people to contact, letters to write, and files to transfer to the laptop. Oy.

But there are other preparations I have to make. They may be more important. I must slow down, remember the Thai manners, the cool heart – jai yen, slow, controlled not too excited. I have to remember to slow and greet people properly, the smile and the ability to let things roll off my back with a smile on my face. It is not just smiling that I need to do, but the smile state of mind.

The idea that desire is the root of suffering, that grasping creates disappointment, is at the heart of this change. It is a part of Buddhist philosophy but, it is so widely accepted and implemented in Thailand , that you have to succumb or find yourself swimming upstream. I no longer can swim upstream for months at a time. I have to smile, go with the flow, allow the troubles, the hurry, frowns, worries, to flow away, to touch perhaps but never stick. I have to learn to “mai pen rai” . To activate the phrase “its not a problem or worry” you have to make it a verb.

I have a huge agenda. It is work. It is too much. It would be good if I could get it all done. It is almost certainly undoable.  An agenda like this can add an off flavor to everything. It can prevent months of work from being productive, too much stress on doneness not enough flex to contemplate, think, digest,,,. I have to start by doing “mai pen rai” by turning off the worries and allowing the future to come. You can only swim upstream so long.

I  have to even stop my little social concerns. Did I fail to slow down and say Sawasdii, did I remember to call them “elder”, was I polite enough. I have to do this because really the first politeness in Thailand is to mai pen rai. It is a necessity like air. When you do this, the little stuff comes easy, and the hard stuff is easier.

 

downwind

Down Wind

In t988-1989 I spent 10 months in Thailand with a Fulbright Senior Research Grant documenting Traditiona Thai Pottery from the point of view of an artist.
Twenty four years downwind of this event I can see some of the positive effects of this fruitful grant.

1. Potters in the western world know that Thai pottery exists. People run tours of Thai potteries. People visit and work at potteries in Thailand. Most notable of the people who have worked in Thailand at least in my eyes is Daniel Johnston. I can’t take much credit for it in any direct way but I was at least partly involved. Daniel was an apprentice of Mark Hewitt. Mark was aware of Thai pottery before I went to Thailand but I believe my video, articles and slide shows helped him to suggest to Daniel that he go to Thailand to learn to coil throw.
He suggested that Daniel contact Louise Cort, now curator of Asian Ceramics at the Freer gallery of the Smithsonian. Louise, a real expert on Thai pottery would probably have found the pottery at Phon Bok without me. But she contacted me a few weeks before I left and arrive a few weeks after asking for some leads to potteries. Phon Bok was on my list of pottery making villages, and that is where Daniel went at Louise’s suggestion. My list of suggestion to Louise turned into my 38 page booklet on Thai potteries that many people have used to find pots on their travels.

Kurt Weiser’s trip to Thailand during our stay was instrumental in his imagery. In some ways pottery was just part of the lure, but I also think the near magical or “Disneyland”® (trademark of Walt Disney) aspect of  Dankwean Village and the “Oz” quality of Muang Kung along with the temples and lush tropical scenary played a part in the development of his work. He mentions this trip frequently in talks on his work.

Also on the list is the work of Rosie Wynkoop. She also visited us in Thailand and her work makes me wonder if she is not influenced by Thai temples and perhaps Bencharong ceramics.

The effect that I am most proud of is the survival of mortar making in Ubon Ratchatani. Stoneware mortars are critical in Thai cooking. You need them for grinding spices, but they are perhaps most important in bruising papaya for som tam, green papaya salad most common in the Northeast. Visiting Ubon in 1989 I was asked what they could do to lower the temperature needed to produce vitreous pottery. Ubon did not seem to have a close supply of feldspar, glass frit in clay is hard to manage, I already had a bad experience using waste oil. It was a difficult problem.
What they really wanted was a hard surface. I suggested that they salt the kiln, throw 20 pounds of salt into the firebox near the top end of the firing, and it would volatilize and create a glaze on the pottery.
They thought I was crazy. “Salt does not burn” they told me and proceeded to ignore my idea. Perhaps it is a fault, but I usually do not argue with people unwilling to take my advice or suggestions, so I let it go. A few weeks later an engineer and I were talking back in Dankwean Village and he asked if I had any ideas about what they could do in Ubon. I told him, and he told them.
Sometime after returning to the US I began seeing mortars, clearly made with Ubon Clay and with Ubons smooth rim on the inside of the form, that had obvious salt glaze on them. Ubon has since nearly monopolized on clay mortar production. I feel like I had a positive impact on many peoples livelyhood and lives.

Green Curry Paste เครื่องแกงเขียวหวาน and Curry และแกง

Sweet Green CurryI am getting ready to make some Green Curry Paste แกงเขียวหวาน . I do not have much galanga to harvest but might harvest it all and use it up. After I return from Thailand maybe I can get some fresh from Houston. Making your own curry paste is not something you should do at the last minute. It is very time consuming. In a mortar it requires lots of work. Start it no later than noon the day you are serving. Generally I try and make it the day before. I store it tightly sealed in the fridge. It is great for a few weeks, after a few months it is no better than the store bought paste. The more ingredients that you can get fresh, the better, but it could be made from dry except for the basil and peppers.
The recipe I have been using for years is:

  • 3 pieces dry galanga or equivalent Fresh or frozen (3 inches??) ข่า
  • 1 teaspoon dry lesser ginger กระชาย (Also available frozen)
  • 2 corriander roots รากผักชี (cilantro)  Sometimes you can by fresh cilantro with roots attached
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds เมล็ดยี่หร่า (this really adds character to this)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds เมล็ดผักชี
  • 4 whole cloves กานพลู
  • 1 nutmeg pod ลูกจันทน์เทศ (everyone should buy nutmeg whole and grate it when needed)
  • 2 stalks lemon grass minced as fine as you can.  ตะไคร้
  • 12 black pepper corns พริกไทย (unless you have fresh)
  • 2 T shallots หอม
  • 2 T garlic กระเทียม
  • 1 t shrimp paste กะปิ (keeps years out of the fridge)
  • 1 t kaffir lime zest ผิวมะกรูด (freezes well, you can sub regular lime zest)
  • 8 whole green serrano chillies พริก เขียว (If you want less heat substitute a strong flavored but less hot chilli like mild poblano, but it takes a little more to get the flavor.)
  • 4 t vegetable oil น้ำมัน (this can be coconut, olive or whatever) Don’t worry about the taste, its gonna be covered.
  • I hav  in the past added basil to the paste but put it into the curry. It still needs fresh basil leaves at the end. I would leave this out. 1/2 Cup fresh basil leaves โหระพ
  • also some recipes call for fresh coriander ( why not) 1/4 cup ผักชี
  • 1t salt (OK to omit if you are going to use this fresh, if you are going to store this, include it)

The best way to get this all into a fine paste seems to be to:

  • Break up the nutmeg into small chunks, and if dry the break the galanga into pieces first.
  • Take the dry stuff and grind it in a blender, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • Peel the outside tougher green leaves off the lemon grass. As a group tie them in a big knot and reserve for Tom Yum stock if you are making it or discard, if you use outside leaves your paste will be hairy. Cut the lemongrass across the grain very VERY finely. Then chop. Do the same if using fresh galanga or frozen. If you do not get it fine enough your paste will be hairy.
  • If the lime zest is fresh, chop it.
  • Chop the peppers and any other fresh ingredients (lemon grass, galanga, lime zest) and grind or pound until smooth.
  • blend and/or pound until smooth. Its OK to add a little extra oil, but no water unless you are not keeping some of the paste.
  • After all the fresh ingredients are added add the dry ones and blend until homogenious

Sweet Green Curry with Chicken

  • 3 pounds chicken cut into chunks. Legs should be cut through the bone.
  • 3-4 cups coconut milk (make sure it is NOT sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (other oil may be substituted)
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 3 slices Galangal
  • 3 T green curry paste approximately
  •  a few basil leaves if using the above paste, otherwise 1/2 cup
  • 6 fresh Kaffir Lime leaves or other citrus leaves, frozen or dried are OK
  • 1-2 cups pea eggplants (one small purple eggplant cut or some Thai eggplant are OK too). I have been using Tomatillo in this because they are good, down here in Texas they are cheap, and they look right. มะเขือพวง
  • 6 Serrano peppers

Boil the chicken, 2 cups coconut milk, fish sauce and galangal until the meat is tender. Remove the meat. Add the oil. Boil down until the liquid thickens, add the curry paste (blend into some liquid) and cook while stirring 5 minutes. Pour in remaining coconut milk (and purple eggplant if you are using them) and return to boil. reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes. Add basil (reserve a few for garni), citrus leaves, pea or Thai eggplant and chili peppers. Increase heat and bring to low boil for 5 minutes. Garnish with Basil and serve over rice.

 

 

 

Thrift Store Pots

I arrived in Helena with Gail and the boys. If I remember correctly Benny was an infant. I was supposed to be on a quick run to the Rock Hand Hardware Store but guiltily I stopped at a thrift store on the way. I did a quick run through the hardware area. I never buy clothes, well, hardly ever. I walked down one of the isles with pots and turned them over to see if any were made with clay bodies (compositions) from before the 70’s. One ugly little cup with a funky dead form, coil handle, poorly turned footring and bubbled glaze, that was rubbed down with a brick to break the bubbles, was old stoneware. It did not have the typical APGreen brand fireclay look. It was ugly so I set it down.

By the time I got to the end of the isle I was thinking again of the ugly pot. “Whose signature was that?” I went back and turned it over again. Clearly it was signed, “Voulkos” (right).
IMGP5147RosieVolkoussm
Peter Voulkos is one of the best known clayers of the 20th century. He made delightful functional pots until he began making abstract sculpture. He began studying pottery at Montana State University in Bozeman under Francis Senska and was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Brickyard. After Berard Leach, Shoji Hamada and Soetsu Yanagi lectured and demonstrated at the Bray (not sure of this it could have been before) the resident artists at the Bray were asked to make “Bray Standard Ware” (I need a source for this). One of the items was a small cup with a little coil handle just like this one. Voulkos, I think, resented having to make these, but made them. In defiance, (again conjecture) he signed his cups.

(Yanagi, Leach, Rudy Autio, Voulkos, Hamada, at the Bray Pottery)

Cup in hand, poker-faced, I paid my 25 cents and left with my cup.

A few months later at the same store I bought a cup by Rosie Wynkoop (left) who had been one of my students in the community classes at the Bray.  It cost a dollar. I think she made it while she was one of my students.

In graduate school one of the off syllabus things we learned was that garage sale and thrift store shopping was a competitive sport. The price tags were left on the pots. One friend was so well known at one thrift store that she received phone calls on the store phone.

On occassion, I invite my students over to my house to view pots. One time while talking about these two drinking vessels a student asked, “Wouldn’t Rosie be upset to find out that her work only cost a dollar?” I answered, “No! She is getting four times the price of Voulkos!”