This Weekend Discover Art & Artist studios in Park Slope & Windsor Terrace

Facing East at Pemaquid Point, watercolor by Brooklyn Artisan executive editor Joy Makon. At letter R on the weekend open studio tour.

Weather reports forecast a beautiful late-fall weekend, November 7 & 8—a perfect time to wander about Park Slope and Windsor Terrace and pop in and out of the 34 artist studios that will be open for viewing this weekend.

The third annual Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artists Open Studio Tour features a mix of cutting-edge, classic and experimental work from established and emerging artists who make Brownstone Brooklyn their home. Many of the artists on the tour recently participated in Gowanus Open Studios and if you had a chance to discover art there, you’ll be pleased to find a lot more this weekend.

Information: Tour website, downloadable map & suggested itinerary, Facebook
Look for the green balloons outside of each open studio location. FREE.

Some highlights from the 34 artists on this year’s tour:

NORTH SLOPE studios: painters Gregory Frux and Janet Morgan, letter I on the map; distinguished classical artist Simon Dinnerstein, letter F on the map, mixed-media painter Jerry Friedman, letter H on the map.

SOUTH SLOPE studios: metal-sculptor Janet Goldner, letter Y, will be doing welding demos over the weekend; David Weiner, also at letter Y, will create event-based sculpture in real time; abstract painter Joy Walker, letter X; printmaker, illustrator, painter Nancy Doniger and kinetic metal sculptor Eric Jacobson, showing at letter G; digital/photo/social commentary artist Bob Hagan, letter M; plus 9 additional open studios—check the map.

WINDSOR TERRACE studios: sculptor Lisa Lincoln, letter P, will be creating with clay on Sunday; functional potter Caryn Kreitzer, letter O; at letter E: monoprints, watercolors by Susan Greenstein plus watercolors, photography by Phil DeSantis, plus 4 additional open studios—check the map.

Plenty of great places to stop and refuel along the route…but you knew that already…

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What’s Not Been Said a Thousand Times?

Twelfth Day or Not: When the New Year comes in, Christmas goes out. Call it the Mulch of Memory.

The New Year comes in, Christmas goes out —into the rich mulch of memory.
(Photograph by Brooklyn Artisan Photo Pool)

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that’s the burden of the year.

During the decades when Brownstone Brooklyn was being developed, Wisconsinite Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poetry was appearing often in newspapers and magazines of the day.  In 1883 she sold the poem ” Solitude” to the New York Sun for $5.00. It contained her most famous lines: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.”

Boston-NYC Food Truck Throwdown: And the winner is….

 by John J. Kochevar

Throwndown sponsored by jetBlueTHERE ARE 3000 FOOD TRUCKS IN THE NAKED CITY – 3000 permit-carrying food trucks, that is, and countless illegals. Last Saturday seven of New York’s finest rumbled north to go dumpling to dumpling with seven of Boston’s best in the first annual NYC- Boston Food Truck Throw-Down. Food trucks, long time purveyors to construction workers and late evening drunks, have become an obsession of the food focused. My assignment was to be Brooklyn Artisan’s taster on record and to plumb the sources of this, to me,  unlikely fashion trend. Never mind that my last experience with New York Street food was a dirty-water hot dog on East 28th Street in 1972. It was a sunny, cold day, a fitting start to the eating season.

Wafels Well Rehearsed Production Line

Wafels and Dinges puts on quite a show making the Belgian waffles.
(Photos for Brooklyn Artisan by John J. Kochevar)

Boston was definitely the underdog. Long smothered under a deep rooted puritanical impulse we came late to the food-truck fashion parade. Still, I had hopes that our scrappy innovators and home-town spirit would give us a modest advantage. Boston had several contenders:  Staff Meal, chef-driven foodie enthusiasms; Roxy’s, a grilled cheese specialist;  Lobsta Love,  cheap lobster on good rolls;  Kickass Cupcakes, name says it all. In the other corner, New York fielded a more conventional lineup:  Mike N Willies tacos; Fishing Shrimp, a chipper; Wafels and Dinges, Belgian waffles, etc.

I show up at 3:00 hoping to miss the lunchtime rush. But the social media elves had been busy. Huge, long lines snaked from each truck. The fans were mostly young, chatting, talking on their phones, texting,  eternally texting. My calls, “Anyone here from New York?,” [Read more…]

Food Truck Throwdown: New York vs. Boston

Nine of New York’s finest food trucks headed to Boston on Saturday, October 13, for a historic mash-up with the best Boston can offer. Brooklyn Artisan’s report will follow – watch this space.

Dewey Square, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, was the locale.  Dewey Square is a large open plaza next to Boston’s South Station.

John J. Kochevar is Brooklyn Artisan’s Occasional Correspondent from Boston.

An Artisanal Author Confronts His Pencils

by John J. Kochevar

I WROTE MY DISSERTATION with a wooden pencil. Or, rather, many wooden pencils. We rented a summer cottage in Effort, Pennsylvania where, every morning, I carefully sharpened every pencil in my collection before sitting down to write. I think I read somewhere it was Ernest Hemingway’s custom each morning to sharpen all his pencils before writing his 500 words. Or maybe it was just a warm-up exercise.

The smell of cedar shavings still reminds me of Effort and writing in the morning those high summer days. My father used a knife to sharpen his pencils, even his drawing pencils, but I did not have the patience. I had a tiny plastic box sharpener. Twisting the pencil created shavings like scabs and lopsided leads. When I left my research job on East 28th street I stole a box of pencils, a ream of yellow foolscap pads, and a mechanical pencil sharpener. My desk was a piece of plywood laid on two saw horses. After a month or so I screwed the mechanical pencil sharpener to the corner of the desk. I pitched the hand sharpener and progress was more rapid. Pencils in a row, equally sharp, no more excuses….

Elegant Dunhill lighter

While I wrote, I painstakingly erased my errors, much as I correct my mistakes while I type now. Eraser crumbs piled up at my wrist and elbow. Pencils were ground down to eraserless stubs. I had the occasional satisfaction of emptying a sharpener full of cedar shavings and graphite. A soft eraser does not give as much pleasure as a sharp #2. I thought sometimes about how much better writing would be if the pencils were precisely sharp. It would be like smoking a Sherman lit by a Dunhill. It would be like having a specialist roll your joints, always tight and the same size.

So when I read the review of David Rees’s pencil sharpening book, I was drawn to the fancy. Does he use fine sandpaper for the finish? What happens if you do two? How do you ensure they are both the same size? I think about David Rees and his custom sharpened pencils. Do I want a really fine sharp pencil? Could it be used to write one, really fine haiku? Or, would I find myself like Calvino’s Mr. Palomar in front of the cheese counter, unable to make up my mind about goat cheeses?

There is a fine line between love of craft and obsession.

John J. Kochevar, PhD, is a guest contributor to Brooklyn Artisan. 

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