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Butter Me Up

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
By Twistie

It sounds like a concept for one of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries. It sounds like a throwaway line on an episode of Paula Deen’s cooking show. It even sounds like something Martha Stewart might suggest to make life so much better.

What it doesn’t sound like is something that people do competitively or for a living… but it’s real.

What it is? Butter sculpture.

That’s right. Sculpting with butter. See that manatee and diver above? They are painstakingly carved out of butter and displayed in a refrigerated case. Well, they were back in january at the Manatee County Fair in Palmetto, FL. That gorgeous sculpture is the work of food artist Jim Victor, and he’s done some truly amazing work. Seriously, he sculpted Paula Deen’s grandson in butter, Milton Hershey in chocolate, and the Mona Lisa is all Italian food products. When you get done marveling at those, be sure to see what he does in wood and mixed media, too.

But the butter. For another idea of how amazing this medium can be to sculpt in, take a look at Sri Lankan  artist Vipula Ahtukorale’s magnificent Pied Piper in pastry margarine:

And, with the new movie Butter opening in limited markets last weekend, we add to this notable list… Jennifer Garner.

The film follows Garner as the reigning queen of butter sculpture at the county fair while she is challenged by upstart newcomer Yara Shahidi. So far the reaction from audiences has been lackluster. All the same, I may just go see it when it comes to my neck of the woods. I have some burning questions about butter sculpture and I’d like to see it in action.

Still, I would have loved to see Christopher Guest and his crazed band of co-conspirators get ahold of this concept. Imagine what Fred Willard might have sculpted!

Actually, that just might not bear imagining.

Inspiration Gallery: Scrimshaw

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
By Twistie

via Blackbird Blog

Scrimshaw is a controversial craft, and rightly so, considering its best-known materials. Whalebone and elephant ivory are scarce and getting scarcer. the good news is that using them for scrimshaw has been outlawed for a generation. The bad news is that many people don’t realize that most current scrimshaw is done with either heritage ivory (reused antique materials, such as broken ivory pieces or fossilized ivory) or with new, imaginative choices such as ostrich eggshells, tagua nuts and even man-made materials like acrylic.

The two gorgeous pieces above, obviously, date from the days when whalers on their way home from the hunt would pass some of the time by making amazing pieces of folk art for their loved ones back home. Obviously I’m not in favor of continued whale hunting, or the killing of elephants for their teeth. I’m glad both materials have been banned.

Once the work is divorced from the slaughter of endangered animals, though, it’s a rather spectacular craft. And made with sustainable materials, it’s still thriving around the world.


Inspiration Gallery: Marbling

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
By Twistie

via All Things Marbling

I adore marbled paper. I have older books that I caress because the endpapers delight me so. Yes, I’m a crafts geek. You knew that about me.

But my dears, marbling does not begin and end with endpapers (delicious though they may be, and frequently are!). Endpapers are just on option for marbling.



Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
By Twistie

Take my spoon, Blodwyn

Make it soon, Blodwyn

The valley knows the way I feel today

Take my spoon, Blodwyn

Make it soon, Blodwyn

Before some other spoon takes you away

Blodwyn by Badfinger

Okay, so now that I’ve referenced The Tick and mildly obscure British rock bands launched by The Beatles, let’s get down to what they have to do with crafts.


This is an antique Welsh love spoon. The one above dates from circa 1900.

Nobody knows for sure precisely how the tradition got started, but as far as anyone knows, it started in Wales, though they have also been carved in Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe. The earliest known example dates back to the seventeenth century, but they are made today by artists all over the world.

The idea is that when a young man falls in love with a girl, he should sit down and carve a spoon for her using various symbols to express his hopes for their life together. If the girl accepts the spoon, they are engaged. When they get married, the spoon hangs in a place of honor in their home. There’s no particular word of what happens to the spoon if the lady rejects it. Perhaps the gentleman uses it to eat a heaping helping of crow.


Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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