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Isiiad (I saw it in a dream) is an arts and design blog. It is centred in Warrandyte and the surrounding Yarra Valley but will go where ever my creative spirit takes me… so Warrandyte to the world. Creator and blog owner is Jeannette Davison.

     "The Meadow"

       

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Yesterday I revisited "The Meadow" to snap some pics and talk to the co owner about this innovative new store on Hudson Street in the West Village.  Mark Bitterman is a writer, a shop owner and an expert on salt.  A culinary experience in France when he was just twenty years of age set him on a road of discovery that has culminated in the publishing of a book "Salted" and the establishment of two stores that sell salt from all around the world.  He is quick to acknowledge his partner in "The Meadow", his wife, Jennifer.  

"The Meadow" specializes in flowers, gourmet finishing salts, artisan made chocolates and a great selection of unusual fine wines which pretty much covers the very best things in life.  Thanks to Jennifer's well trained eye, (her credentials include working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty, the Frick Collection and director of a major Art Gallery in Portland) the shop has a great look with loads of character.   The interior fittings have been made from thick slabs of hemlock and yellow pine reclaimed from old barn timbers milled in the late 1800's  The weathered looking exposed bricks were apparently covered by several layers of plaster so had not seen the light of day for many decades. Beautiful blooms including peonys (my favourite) are displayed on a long table in the centre of the store.

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These exquisite little salt dispensers allow customers to sample the various salts available at The Meadow.

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Judging by the volume of people in the shop on Sunday I'm not the only person in New York to love it.  It was all hands on deck at the counter, so while I waited to speak to Mark I spent some time browsing through his book. I was instantly impressed not only by his writing but by the passion with which he offers the world his expertise. He writes,

"When a visitor enters the store and says, "Oh Salt?" I hear surprise, curiosity, and a tinge of something else- a bond being formed.  It feels like we're suddenly alone together, stranded in a strange space, trying to recapture something just beyond our reach...holding a pile of salt in my hands before a small crowd of people in The Meadow, surrounded by tables overflowing with seasonal flowers, opposite the chocolate shelves, flanked by a massive case bearing unusual wines, aperitifs, Champagnes, vermouths and bitters and tonics, with a towering wall filled with more than a hundred artisan salts at my back-I sometimes begin to literally tremble." Page 5  "Salted"

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Mark in his element. 

I observed many customers take an interest in these salt blocks.  

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The idea with these is that they be used to cook food on.  That's right, not to put in food but to cook food on.  The blocks can be heated on a stove top, ideally to 600 degrees.  Once heated you can cook prawns, eggs, bacon even thinly sliced steak on it. Mark explains it best,

"When you cook on Himalayan block salt several things are happening at the same time: the heat of the block sears and browns proteins while the salt subtly dehydrates the surface and seasons the food. Together the heat and salt work in wonderful harmony, producing unique salty-toasty-caramelized flavours and delicately crisped surfaces as thin as a single layer of glaze on porcelain." Page 267 "Salted"

I so badly want to try that salty-toasty-caramelized flavour, I'm thinking that I might have to work some suitcase magic so I can bring one home!

 

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I recommend Mark Bitterman's scholarly work, "Salted.  A manifesto on the worlds most essential mineral, with recipes." published by Ten Speed Press (Random House, Inc.)  to every self respecting foodie. 

Kind ( and lightly salted) regards from your New York correspondent.

www.themeadow.net      


 


Parent Category: Design

MAD Open Studio Program

Marianne van Ooij

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The Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle New York, run an Open Studio Program which offers artists and designers a priceless opportunity.  On a three month rotational basis, artists and designers set up a project within the studio and spend one day a week working there.  The public is welcome to visit  and discuss the project with the artists/designers.  

It was here that I met Marianne van Ooij on the first day of her residency. A product designer born in Holland, Marianne has been working in New York for the last six years.

Her work caught the eye of the Metropolitan Opera here at the Lincoln Centre who invited her to design a series of cushion covers that represent seven opera's being performed in 2010 and 2011. These cushion covers are available at the Met Opera Shop.

With credentials like these, it's not surprising that MAD accepted her application into their Open Studio Program.

Her project involves designing a table cloth to marry with a range of dinner ware that she's designed called "Dressed for Dinner"(see photos above and below).  This clever set of white ceramics came about from Marianne's  idea that going out for dinner is not just about the food.  There is for instance the concentration on dressing up. With this in mind she designed plates and bowls which incorporate details of shirt cuffs, shirt fronts, and zippers.  The design prototypes were made by gluing a cuff and shirt front onto an existing plate, making a caste and  then slip casting the final prototype.  These designs are now ready for production.

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The intention with the tablecloth is to document the process of producing the ceramic.  It's conceivable that the tablecloth could be used with the dinner ware. It's brilliant.

The photograph of Marianne below, has the beginnings of her project in the foreground.

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Some of the designers textiles....

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Marianne has promised to keep in touch and let me know of any developments in her bright future. I promise to keep you in the loop with any news on her work.

I encourage you to have a look at her website. http://www.mariannevanooij.com/

Here's an opportunity to live and work in New York!  If you are interested in applying for the Open Studio Program you will find information and an application form by clicking on this link,

 http://www.madmuseum.org/DO/Open%20Studios.aspx

Parent Category: Design

Life Drawing in Soho.

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A trip down to Soho for a life drawing class turned out to be quite an adventure.  I entered via a door in Spring street leading to a tiny precipitous staircase which takes you down to the bowels of Soho. The studio itself was clearly quite close to the subway, judging from the rumbling noise every five minutes.
I was very impressed with the customer service.  After I introduced myself to the manager, Minerva Durham, she immediately said "You wrote me! "  I'd emailed her weeks before  I arrived.  Great memory!
Minerva  immediately set me up with a huge drawing pad and some charcoal just in time for the first pose.  There were around 16 artists and each one earnestly toiled away for the three and a half hours of the class. The model was very beautiful and created a number of challenging poses, some of which I couldn't manage at all.  One of my drawing pals told me that this is the best life drawing class in New York and since I have nothing to compare it with, I couldn't argue.
They hold classes every day at a cost of $15 per session.  You don't need to book.  Just turn up when you feel like it. I do recommend that you get there in time for the full session as they are careful to build up to a long pose.  Also make sure you take some sustenance and water as there is not time in between poses to whip out for a coffee. You can check out the location and the schedule on the website.
Soho is a veritable feast of shops.  The streets around the studio are home to clothing shops, interior shops, antique shops and some wicked surprises.  More about that later.
Parent Category: Arts

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