“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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Behold the Glitterati

Behold the Glitterati

All that glitters isn’t gold…or is it?  Well, it might be “schlag, or combination metal leaf, it might be 22 karat gold leaf, or it might be copper, silver, bronze or a combination of all of the above. Materials that contain or give the look of  precious metals can add instant warmth and light to a room, which can be a welcome addition at any time, but perhaps especially during this the darkest time of the year.  Use of metallic leaf, waxes, paints and glazes can be instrumental in transforming a time of darkness  into a season of light. In a space that is.  Which may just affect our state of mind, and lift our spirits.

We speak of radiance, iridescence,  incandescence and luminescence.   We crave shine, sparkle, glitter and glamor.  We love sheen and shimmer, glow and glimmer.  We are attracted to the translucent, which lets the light through, and the reflective, which bounces it back to us.  In other words, we long for light,  our source, our fuel, without which we cannot live.

So, its only natural that we should adorn our  objects, furniture, architecture and accessories with materials which play with and celebrate light, and expand our experience and enjoyment of its qualities.

So, whether it is the enhancement of  a craftperson’s  decorative detail,

a ceiling treated in tones of gold,

or the embellishment of a chair…

let us celebrate the spark of our spirits, and illuminate our state of mind with the pure enjoyment of things shiny and bright.  Let’s revel in radiance, especially during the dark time of the year.  Let’s lavish ourselves and our loved ones with light, shine and shimmer, and spread a sphere of good cheer around us wherever we go, during this Season of Light.

Who knows? It may make us whole.

What is your favorite ritual of light?  Do you have a special way of embellishing the Holidays with glow and glitter, sheen and shimmer?   If you feel so inspired, please share your unique light with us.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all  in this thing called Life, together.

Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes for the New Year!