“Folk Art Everywhere”

“Folk Art Everywhere”

CAFAM, or the Craft and Folk Art Museum, in Los Angeles, has  marvelous public programs.

 Called “Folk Art Everywhere“, this unique program … promotes the unique cultural and artistic landscape of Los Angeles by bringing art into unexpected spaces and celebrating all folk. Look for us in restaurants, markets, community centers, coffee shops, bookstores and other places where people naturally gather.”

All over the city, interested participants can learn to build their own percussion instruments, help to create a one-hour radio segment, or, as we did recently, observe and savor a Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

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Held at the  Little Ethiopian Restaurant, located in no other than the  “Little Ethiopia” neighborhood of L.A., our adventure was kicked off by the owner sharing with us the concept and meaning of the traditional coffee-making ritual of his native Ethiopia.

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We were a varied, enthusiastic, and fascinated group, asking many questions, such as what was the significance of the popcorn displayed in bowls on the long table. Answer as I understood it: the popcorn represents the harvest.  And, it is a fun and tasty little prelude to the freshly made coffee we were going to taste.

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The raw coffee beans are roasted.  The popcorn is nibbled.

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An electric burner substitutes for the traditional brazier, and modern coffee grinder for the more time-consuming mortar and pestle.

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The Jebena,  the traditional container used to brew the coffee, is usually made of pottery. “Typically when the coffee boils up through the neck it is poured in and out of another container to cool it, and then is put back into the jebena until it happens again. To pour the coffee from the jebena a filter made from horsehair or other material is placed in the spout of the jebena to prevent the grounds from escaping.” —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jebena

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Our lovely and friendly guide!

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The moment we have all been waiting for, (or I have, anyway!).  Encouraged by the tantalizing fragrance, we are at last able to “wake up and smell the coffee”…and taste it too!

I am here to tell you…it didn’t disappoint!  And neither did the delicious Ethiopian lunch we enjoyed afterwards.  We needed some sustenance to go with our coffee, of course.

Learning about cuisine and culture, enjoying gastronomic delights, chatting with like-minded individuals…what’s not to love?

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Many thanks to Mr. Sonny Abegaze, Project Manager, Folk Art Everywhere, A Project of the Craft and Folk Art Museum.

Another example of L.A.’s moveable feast.  Don’t miss it.  Folk Art  IS Everywhere!

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Kitchen Contemplation

Kitchen Contemplation

I have a relatively humble kitchen…and  I love it.  I  love my humble kitchen, because it affords me an “inter-space’, an inner space, and an interstice between the activities of work, home and play.    I love to come into my kitchen of an early morning, make a small cup of strong espresso, (and drink it from one of my Mom’s unique ceramic espresso cups) write, contemplate, write, and contemplate again, even though this initially meditative time often morphs into list making, or checking email on my phone…

If it’s lunch-time, and I’m working in my home office and studio, I may sit in my kitchen, and read articles from an ever-present selection of inspirational and educational publications.  It’s a monthly challenge to imbibe them whole, and every word, as I love to do.  As creative entrepreneur Abby Kerr would say…don’t want to miss a drop!

To enter my kitchen from the central hallway, I pass a door which has become an image patchwork of beloved young family members and their original artwork.  Every time I pass through the doorway, the possibility is there to consider, cherish and appreciate them, and send them my love and well-wishes.

A wonderfully convenient shelf offers display space for treasured wedding gifts; a beautiful Asian lacquered tray, an obscure Belgian coffee maker (from a seriously coffee-obsessed friend), and it’s more modern cousin, the French Press.  We use these for company, and special occasions.  Otherwise they remain a “shelf-scape”.

What contemplative space would be complete without a chalkboard door?  It’s the perfect place to note dreams, hopes and plans. Ours tends towards the task, to-do, gotta get it done before the future comes list, but we do celebrate each task in living color!  The chalkboard border is painted with glow in the dark paint, with a few glow in the dark stars thrown in for good measure.

It must look really beautiful and mysterious at night when all the lights are out…but we usually don’t see it then.  Maybe I can get a nocturnal shot, and use it to illustrate another post, “Kitchen Contemplation II”...

What is your favorite nook or cranny, space or place to muse, meditate, contemplate and commune?

If you have one, or more, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all contemplating this thing called Life, together.