Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, March 21, 2003
Garret Hobart and William McKinley

Two of four 3" X 3" made by AETCo for 1896 Presidentail Election

Historical Present by Harold Myerson contrasts today's events with 1898 and 1914:

You have to go back all the way to 1898, and the immediate aftermath of the Spanish-American War, to find a time when the question of an American empire was on the national agenda in such pure and unalloyed fashion. At issue then was what the United States should do with the nations -- Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico -- it had won from the Spanish in the ludicrous little war just concluded. The leading imperialists of the day -- New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt, diplomat John Hay, naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan -- favored annexation, de jure or de facto, of those islands, not to mention of the hitherto independent Hawaii; they also favored building a sizable U.S. fleet. Arrayed against them was a broad coalition of Americans appalled at the thought of the United States becoming a colonial power. Among its leading members were a number of former northern Civil War generals, Mark Twain, and the very personifications of American capital and labor: Andrew Carnegie and Samuel Gompers. Indeed, when President McKinley announced that the U.S. would pay Spain $20 million to take over the Philippines, Carnegie offered $20 million of his own to Spain to create an independent nation there. (McKinley told him to butt out.)

For the neoconservatives who are today's neo-imperialists, Iraq is just the first stop on their itinerary for American intervention.


AETCo 3" X 3" Constitutional Centennial Tile
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Turkey Sausage and Pepper Gumbo

A low fat version of a classic

1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Tsp dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 or 2 Turkey Kielbasa, casings removed and chopped
2 14.5oz cans of diced Tomatoes
1 14.5oz can of Chicken Broth
2 Tsp Creole or Cajun Seasoning
Dash of Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Sprinkle Flour evenly into large pot. Over medium heat stir flour constantly until golden brown or about 15 minutes. Pour Flour into bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in same pot. Add Onion and Bell Pepper and saute about 7 minutes or until tender. Add Garlic, Thyme and Bay Leaf and stir. Add sausages. Add Tomatoes, Broth and Creole Seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and while stirring sprinkle flour into mixture. Cover and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Raw shrimp or catfish can be added for last 5 minutes of cooking. Discard Bay Leaf. Add Salt and Pepper. Serve plain or over rice. De-li-ci-ous!

Detail of the AETCo tile discussed in my March 10,2003 post

A very interesting article via the History News Network entitled An Empire If You Can Keep It by Trevor Getz an Assistant Professor of History at San Francisco State University.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
I struck up an email conversation last week with a fellow selling this large and beautiful Rookwood Vellum Scenic Plaque epplyplaque (2).bmp on Ebay.
I have discussed, in previous posts, the continued strength of the Art Pottery market in this struggling economy.
This vibrant 9 1/2" X 12 1/2" ceramic plaque, possibly with its original gesso and gilt frame, painted in 1916 by Lorinda Epply hammered at $7,800 in spirited bidding by 21 bidders including some pottery world biggies Monday afternoon. At almost $8K this was still an Ebay deal for the lucky buyer as I feel it could have easily sold at the upcoming spring Cincinnati auctions for over $10K.
The seller, Kurt Harrison says, "I dabble in this for fun and have collected a lot of things over the past few years. I keep them to enjoy them and when I find something else that I like I usually sell something to purchase something else..." Sound familiar? Kurt has considered opening an antiques store when he retires and is interested in pottery, Lalique and books. He seems to have quite the eye and I'm sure will do quite well with whatever he does in the future. Kurt relayed a terrific story of a type occasionally heard among the hard core estate sale crowd. A friend of his bought an unopened box lot at a yard sale for $5. Inside was a Rookwood plaque. The buyer did not realize the plaque's value until an honest auctioneer informed him. The plaque sold at auction for $7,000! Amazing but true!
Gulf Sunset

If you have a broadband connection may I recommend the fantastic Reuters Raw Video feed source located in the upper right corner of the Reuters site. Very dramatic pictures without the narration of a TV correspondent presented in rough clips like a home movie makes for some very engaging viewing. The Reuters homepage auto updates behind the video player so one might hear some disconcerting computer clicks.
After the video player loads click on the Change Speed button on the right side of the player and a much faster loading and much bigger video player loads. Fantastic footage with natural sound of troop movements, crowds at airport departure desks, and and the Commanding Admiral addressing a carrier's crew in the vast (and I mean vast) carrier hanger among other raw clips and assembled video stories by Reuters. Video and sound quality was amazing!
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has banned the broadcast media from covering his reception of the Citadel of Free Speech Award, today, at the City Club of Cleveland according to The Plain Dealer. I've watched several webcasts from the City Club of Cleveland during the last year and as you can see from their webpage the Club regularly webcasts their speakers and award recipants. Maybe its the Citadel of Free Speech Minimum Award, huh?
A very interesting piece by Professor John M. Russell, Chairman of the Critical Studies Department at the Massachusetts College of Art, along with a superb virtual tour illuminating the archeological heritage within the borders of present day Iraq. Professor Russell's article is found through the webpage of Cleveland's Public Radio station 90.3 FM.
More on the Belgian Fries Contretemps

Two interesting articles this morning from the always informative Cursor site, The first is a column by The Tampa Tribune's Daniel Ruth and contains the following statement:

Winston Churchill, referring to the pompous gasbag Charles de Gaulle, once said that of all the crosses he had to bear during World War II, the most difficult was the Cross of Lorraine.

The second is a news report from the web site of Houston's ABC13 KTRK-TV. This shows the bad and good within the American soul.

This (through Atrios) leaves me speechless...not necessarily a bad thing considering:

The Associated Press
3/18/03 7:55 PM
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Tuesday night that government has room to scale back individual rights during wartime without violating the Constitution.
"The Constitution just sets minimums," Scalia said at John Carroll University. "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."
Scalia was responding to a question about the Justice Department's pursuit of terrorism suspects and whether their rights are being violated.
The conservative justice did not discuss what rights he believed are constitutionally protected...Scalia said the constitutional rights are minimums adding that society has extended protections for individuals that go far beyond that...Scalia was interrupted once briefly by a protester who shouted an anti-war statement.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Autumn Panel 18" X 12" from Four Seasons by Herman Mueller
American Encaustic Tile Company, Zanesville, Ohio circa 1890
This is a great basic recipe. If you do not have a Food Processor you can use a pastry cutter or a sturdy me...make the investment...get a food processor!

Pastry Crust
oven 425

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 cup Shortening
1 Tbsp cold Butter
2-4 Tbsps Ice Water
2-3 11" sheets of Plastic Wrap

Position multi-purpose blade in work bowl of a Food Processor. Add flour and salt. Process until blended. Add Shortening and Butter. Pulse 3-4 times until crumbly. Sprinkle minimum amount of Ice Water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and almost forms a loose ball. Spread Plastic Wrap onto work surface. Place ball of dough onto wrap. Cover, evenly with the first sheet, another sheet of Plastic Wrap. Roll into 10-11" rough circle. You may have to readjust top sheet of Plastic. When dough is flattened remove top sheet of Plastic. Slide hand under the dough and the bottom piece of Plastic and raise off work surface. Place us side down pie pan on top of dough and plastic, hold firmly and quickly invert. Fit dough into shell and carefully peel layer of plastic away from dough. If pie shell is baked without a filling, pierce entire surface area with a fork. Bake 9-12 minutes or until golden brown or bake according to the specific pie recipe such as in the Spinach Quiche. Delicious with a sweet or savory filling!
As we all drift at light speed down this stream of lazy internet, a brief diversion back into the sordid world of politics and its evil twin media before the previously promised "lack of balance" ingredient, food. As someone who was stationed in Frankfort and Nuremberg, (then West) Germany and who has traveled the UK and the Low Countries and who has loved the peoples and cultures of these old lands, I must say I've been ashamed of the over the top anti European attitude of American government officials and members of the media. I do not want to restate any one of the many embarrassing phrases uttered through and chortled over by, I imagine, well paid public corporation employees in their over the top guise of journalist and evil twin pundit. Allow the recommendation of this amusing and sadly informative article from the always informative New York Observer involving French chefs and cold shoulders.

And say, weren't we just talking about the French? So, foodwise someone might ungrammatically say, how's about a quiche? Please understand this recipe (or recipes if you plan on a homemade pie crust) is a tad labor intensive but results in a dish which more than makes up for the manner of its arrival!

Spinach Quiche
oven to 425

1 unbaked 9" Pie Shell
1lb Spinach, sauted
1 Tbsp Butter
1/3 cup Green Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese (any variety...mix and match for taste differences)
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup Milk
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Basil, chopped or crumbled
1/2 Tsp Celery Salt
2 medium Tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional as well as thinly sliced mushrooms)
1 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp, Parmesan Cheese, grated

Press excess water out of cooked Spinach and chop finely. Saute Onions and Garlic in Butter until golden, add Spinach stir constantly until all moisture evaporates. Combine all ingredients except Tomatoes, Bread Crumbs and Cheese in a large bowl. Pour into Pastry Shell. Arrange Tomato slices carefully atop mixture. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake for 10 minutes. Combine Cheese and Bread Crumbs. Sprinkle over almost baked Cheese and Tomato mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes (at least) before cutting. Excellent warm or cold. Legend has it that this recipe feeds 6 but I've watched two people wolf down an entire pie in 15 minutes! Enjoy! Yet to come, Never Touch Homemade Pie Crust from a Food Processor!

Those these are difficult times, indeed, for all of us, I must apologize for the recent over emphasis of politics to the detriment of art pottery and food. I plan to adjust the lack of balance with this morning's post.
This week's printed edition of Antique Week contains a report from the 16th annual Arts and Crafts Conference held February 21-23 in Asheville, North Carolina. Here's a quote from a semi-lead paragraph (AW, like major media, takes a loose approach to the previously mentioned news pyramid):

Overall, it appeared that at this year's Arts and Crafts antique show, pottery, metalwork and accessories were doing well while the furniture market was soft.

A later graph spotlighted attendees David Rago and Suzanne Perrault of PBS' Antiques Roadshow fame and Lambertville, NJ:

Rago was pleased and had done "astoundingly well, more than double the best show ever...Still remaining in his booth on Sunday afternoon was a fabulous 14" Kenton Hills Porcelains vase with a scene of a man breaking a horse for $4,500."

As the Kenton Hills price suggests, the market for fine local Cincinnati art pottery is still very high. Several pieces of Rookwood were described in the article:

For the discriminating Rookwood collector, Fox (Pearce Fox of Philadelphia) had a 10" yellow vellum decorated with daylilies by Lenore Asbury for $7,950...A wonderful Rookwood carved matt bowl by William Hentschel was $3,350 in this booth (Crone Collectibles, Brewster, MA) and a 14" Rookwood wax matt vase in brilliant colors was tagged $4,800.

Sadly, the article fails to mention if any of these marvelous pieces of pottery actually sold. Never fear. This intrepid blogger plans to attend The American Art Pottery Convention this April in Cincinnati. I'm sure a similar cast of characters will appear in the Neatherland Hilton as appeared in North Carolina and I will keep a eye peeled for the pots mentioned in the article above.
Monday, March 17, 2003
Here's an interesting item about the Oscars from a Scottish news site. Humm...I haven't yet noticed this story in the American press.
I received an interesting item in Saturday's mail from Feed the Children's President Larry Jones. His fund raising pitch letter says,

"You ask a soldier, 'what are you afraid of when you are deployed?' and the answer won't be, 'I'm afraid I'm going to die,' its 'I'm afraid my wife and kids won't have enough to eat...While dad or mom is overseas, many American military families need our help or their children will go hungry."

Amazing isn't it? Indirectly Larry makes a shameful point. Billions and billions and billions of dollars are being spent on this war. And throughout this struggle, no matter its length, many military families will be living in sub par Post housing and struggling for food and clothing. Many military families survive thanks to the Food Stamp program. Our President is very concerned that money is available for weapons systems, security, allied nations, rebuilding Afghanistan and rebuilding Iraq. He also seems to take every opportunity to stand before these soldiers and bask in their reflected glory.
Shouldn't he also be concerned that many military families live below the poverty level?
The above links will take you to the Feed the Children and the USDA Food Stamp sites. Please note that I'm not criticizing Feed the Children. Our country has put a fairly large burden on the shoulders of the fine young men and women who make up our military and an equally great burden on their families. The soldiers deserve to be fairly paid so that their families can live in dignity. This doesn't sound like too much to ask.

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