Long-Term Magic and Apple Clafouti

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I am going to tell you a silly story, and then I am going to inundate you with pictures. Sound good? I hope so, because that’s what I’ve got to offer at the mo’.

Once upon a time, there was a cake maker who discovered a village in the woods. Though she quite liked making cakes, she had always wanted to be a magician. Turns out it was a village of magicians, and they offered to teach her magic, so she stayed. She got quite caught up in all the magic–about understanding and building community and creating projects to inspire. The thing about magic, though, is that it’s a long-term project, and, our little cake maker, in the midst of toiling away on things that will be done in a few months or a few years or a few lifetimes, found herself a little lost in the endlessness.

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But you know what she did? She made a cake. Or maybe it was a custard. It was a clafouti. But either way, the important thing is that a clafouti is in the bowl and in the oven and in your tummy and long gone in just a few short hours. And it can be shared and it makes you smile and it reminds you that creating something from start to finish is possible, even if start to finish feels long sometimes. And then she also remembered that the finish line of her current project is just a short week away though it has been quite a while in the making, so she went back to paper mâché, pouring plaster, painting, and putting up an installation.

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Recipe after the jump… Continue reading

This Is Life Lately

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This is a boîte à donation, a.k.a., a donation box, ready to accept funding for notre chère Institute, our dear Institute. It’s also a boîte à ailes, a winged box. More on that in a sec.

IMG_1283This is a family of boîtes à dons, inspired by me, I suppose, conceptualized by Rohen — who conceptualized an enormity of cool things and talked me through all my own conceptualizing too, — built by Vincent, and painted by Christine. Teamwork, yo.

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This is a family of boîte à ailes en papier, origami winged boxes, made by loads of people. Special shout outs to Guillaume, Collette, and the traveling Germans for folding multiple hundreds each. These will all be inflated into proper box shape and  hung by fishing wire in the installation. A few will find other homes. This is me leaving a trail of crumbs for future posts. Be intrigued.

IMG_1294This is a bunch of paper and wire spirals, which will turn into the growth of the seeds of wisdom, in part a representation of the Three Jewels. It’s a long story. I’ll explain later. Promise. There will be more pictures, and they will be awesome. In no small part because of Barbara, who paper-mâched like a fiend today, and Mylène, who keeps sending people to help me.

IMG_1290This is a fuzzy picture of my painting studio. For that, the infinite gratitude that every artist knows who has her own space to work. In this case, to Julien, and not just for this, but for finding me paint, finding me help, reminding me not to get overwhelmed, and also, ya know, building the structure of the whole installation. Ain’t no thang.

And more gratitude on top of that for too many people to name who are making all of this possible. The ladies at the Lama House for picking up the slack and making me smile. The homies on the range (erm, residents) for keeping it real and keeping it cool as the pressure rises. The in-and-out people from around the hood who pop by and get inspired. All the administrative peeps and money peeps and infrastructure folk who let this happen and made this happen.

This is happening. And it’s gonna be rad. And I can hardly believe it, but I will show you everything when it is ready.

And thanks to you, for being here, for keeping me connected to the wide world and letting me know you care. This is awesome; you are great.

How Time Passes: Panic and Chai-spiced Tapioca Pudding

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I had this grand plan to write you a lovely story about the passage of time, of how we don’t expect it, how we know that it is always sliding by, but often we forget until it has already left us behind. And then, erm, I realized that was precisely what was happening to me.

Two weeks ago I’d been in France two weeks. I’d fallen in love with the woods, the people, the life here. I’d gotten into the rhythm of my work and study, even submitted a proposal for an installation piece to bring an interactive, artistic component to our big summer event here: the inauguration of a new Tibetan-Occidental library and research institute. I felt like I’d waded swiftly into the waters of life at the center and all was going well. We had a five day retreat with the spiritual head of the center, Lama Jigme Rinpoche, and I spent those days half cooking fun meals for him at the Lama House and half listening to his teachings in the Grand Tent, as it is fondly known.

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I started helping with the planning aspects of the Lama House kitchen; we’re serving between fifty and two-hundred and fifty special guests for the inauguration in June. I doodled around in the kitchen making cakes for ceremonial offerings, just because, and inventing new recipes out of things left from other meals. I even went to the movies. I rewatched Cloud Atlas, which is kind of a reincarnation tale, kind of based on a book by a Buddhist writer, fairly inspiring in its own Hollywood way, and incredibly beautiful so why not.

And then I looked up and realized that two weeks had passed, and that meant nearly one third of the time I had to create this art piece had passed, and I don’t even have the materials yet. And I realized that one thing about communities that I forget when I’m not in them is how much time they take to process information and requests. And I realized that I probably wouldn’t get my materials for another few days, and then I started to freak out. But what can you do? Make entreaties. Play the damsel-in-distress card just a little to garner aid. Take deep breaths and wait. Make pudding.

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Recipe after the jump…

Continue reading