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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.

I’ll Never Be Mean to a Tree Again

Friday, December 2nd, 2011
By Twistie

Those were the first words I said as I left the theater after seeing The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. Yeah, the last march of the Ents made an impact on me as a viewer. Watching those trees go postal on Eisengard seriously thrilled and intimidated me.

And so it is that I must pay tribute to the amazing OneLug team whose Lego recreation of that scene boggles my mind with its amazing attention to detail and creative use of those delightful plastic blocks that I spent so many hours manipulating as a child.

Be sure to check out the slideshow for more detail. Here you can see not only the tremendous amount of thought that went into the project, but Treebeard carrying Merry and Pippin… not to mention a tiny Saruman hiding in the tower, soiling his robes in terror.

Good times, my friends, good times.

Now go out and be nice to a tree.

That Dweam Wifin a Dweam

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
By Twistie

Is this not one of the most wonderful wedding gifts of all time?

How did I not find these people before?

Seriously, whether or not you do counted cross stitch (and they do have links to their patterns for sale on Etsy, for those who want to recreate some of their masterpieces), this is a site well worth checking out if you’ve got a sense of humor.

Here’s an amazing historical tidbit I learned about George Washington in the explanation of this portrait:

 He presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787 on a horse made of crystal. As the unanimous choice to serve as the first President of the United States (1789–1797), he developed the forms and rituals of government that have been used ever since, such as using a cabinet system, copulation with bears and delivering an inaugural address.

Wow! Educational, too!

Will There Ever Be Crafts in Space?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
By Twistie

Like many crafters, I’m a great big sci-fi geek. I can quote you chapter of verse of most iterations of Star Trek, hold an intelligent discussion of where George Lucas went wrong with the Star Wars franchise, compare and contrast many of the societies visited through the Stargate, and quote virtually every line from Galaxy Quest (That was a hell of a thing).

But there’s one thing that has always bothered me about all of these sci-fi icons and many, many more that I’ve seen and read over the years: nobody makes crafts for enjoyment.

Sure, sometimes on Stargate or various versions of Trek they would come across a charmingly bucolic society. In these places, everybody had to produce food, clothing, shelter, etc. so that everyone would survive. But virtually all of  these charming, peaceful, gentle worlds are utterly without artistic addition. Nobody makes jewelry that doesn’t have a specific, ritual meaning. Nobody adds a flourish to the legs of a chair, or embroiders a pillow simply so it will be pretty. Nobody is shown making something of a purely decorative nature or just for fun. It’s all simply, rustic, and utilitarian.

And when these shows visit advanced societies, everything is about scientific advancement. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I’m in favor of finding cool ways to cure diseases, travel longer distances with lower environmental impact, provide inhospitable lands with food and water, and all sorts of things like that. I find these ideas and many like them to be entirely fab and gear.

But these societies seem to have little or no art. Sometimes there’s a terribly refined style of music (which sounds much more like Muzak to my ears), but nobody seems to create visual or textural art. Nobody creates a thing that isn’t either scientific or intensely practical. It’s all smooth, shiny, refined and utilitarian.

Come on, producers of sci-fi worlds! Would it kill you to have some form of embroidery or model making survive the millennia? If there’s someone on a starship who plays the trombone, couldn’t there also be someone on that ship who tats? It takes up a lot less space and makes a lot less noise, after all.

Okay, Data paints. There is that, and I’m in favor, entirely. But wouldn’t there have been one traditional Bajoran craft that Ensign Ro picked up in the camps? Didn’t Guinan’s people have to do something when they weren’t all listening to each other? Out of all the human societies the Goa’uld transplanted into outer space, wouldn’t Daniel Jackson have found one that still created purely decorative jewelry? Couldn’t Amy Pond scrapbook about her journeys with The Doctor? Well, no, actually I don’t think she would. But Rory totally would. In fact, I feel quite sure he does it whenever Amy isn’t looking.

I love speculative entertainment. But I also love making lace. I appreciate many forms of craftwork, and want to encourage them. I don’t believe that the human race will ever get to a place where we don’t need to express ourselves creatively by hand.

Just once, I’d like to see someone create a sci-fi show or film that agrees with me on that.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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