Welcome to our first episode of the Art for Life Podcast! Check out our show notes below for helpful links to the recipes mentioned in the show.
In this episode we will inspire you, as we share our story of how one passion for art turned into another for farming! We talk about why we decided to launch a Gallery’s Choice podcast show. And finally we’ll provide some fun foodie antidotes about artichokes, and why you should love them!
Episode #1: Art and Artichokes.
This is the Art for Life Podcast by Gallery’s Choice, and I am your host, Rose Jarecki. Gallery’s Choice’s Art for Life Podcast series. Meant to explore the creative side of life by sharing tips techniques, inspirations and recipes with the goal of living well. Whether you are an artist, an artist wanna be, a regular Jane or Joe Doe, with some time to kill, I promise there is something in here for all of you. We will talk about our business and how to be a great career creative. We will get you started if you never, or you never knew you could. And we will share anything we discover on the topics of being healthy, happy and wise…
This episode was self-sponsored by Gallery’s Choice. Gallery’s Choice is a family-friendly art and gift gallery with a hands on art focus. Featuring the stained glass art of Rose and Bill Jarecki, the art gallery is home to more than 75 local area artists in a variety of media. In it’s 16th year of operation in the Downers Grove, IL area, the gallery teaches classes for young and old at all skill levels in glass art, including stained glass, fused glass, mosaics; fine art, drawing, painting (watercolor, oils and acrylics), and jewelry including metalsmithing, silver clay, and enameling. For a full line up of current classes, check out https://galleryschoice.blog/gallerys-choice-classes-and-events/
Royalty free music and sounds in this podcast were sourced from the YouTube Audio Library with special shout out to the artists of this episode’s featured tracks: “Your’re There” “Stacy and George” By The Mini Vandals
Piece by piece, these stained glass side lights come together. I almost never stop to count the number of pieces in my designs. Sometimes I think it would scare me to know!
A labor of love, time spent in creation of beauty!
Some studio’s charge by the piece. This is a good indicator of the work’s complexity, given each individual piece will be touched six or more times in the fabrication process. Truly a labor of love in it’s creation. There’s something special about that kind of work – in the doing of it, and in the viewing of it. Both creator and end customer will get joy from the stained glass work. And this joy can last a lifetime. For me, that’s what makes these works meaningful and worthwhile.
One of the benefits of selling at the local farmer’s markets is being so close to the freshest locally grown fruits and veggies! And you already know, if you have read my blog before, that I love to experiment with new recipes and produce I never tried before. This year I am SO excited by the super fresh offerings of our Glencoe Farmer’s Market neighbor, Barry’s Berries.
Fresh rhubarb is a plant I know from my childhood. The ruby stems and huge heart shaped leaves so broad and green they could hide a small 4-year old child (like me) underneath.
Cooking with rhubarb is something I have never done. Too scared off by the warnings about the “poisonous” leaves of the plant, I was not sure what parts to use safely – it always put me on edge. But at the farmer’s market, the grower had the leaves removed, and all I had to worry about was cleaning and chopping for my recipe! So – this year – and for the very first time – I ventured to make my very own strawberry rhubarb pie!
And, as the pictures indicate – it turned out delicious! So I have to share:
By the way, I do make my very own hand-made pie crust. (And it’s not scary at all to make!) Check out the recipe on another post. The orange juice in the crust complements the orange zest in this recipe so well – and it is simple to make.
The recipe below showcases this amazing spring vegetable beautifully. For this recipe you will need about 4 cups of fruit in total (2 c strawberries plus 2 c rhubarb) for each double-crusted 9″ pie. But, by all means, buy more rhubarb (support your local farmers!) as it is in season for only a short time – clean, chop and freeze it in recipe convenient volumes and let spring flavor reign all year long!
2 cups rhubarb stalks, cleaned and cut into 1/2 in pieces (Trim ends and discard leaves)
2 cups (about 1 pint) strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 to 1 c. pure cane sugar – depending how sweet you like your pies
2 T. quick cooking tapioca
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. fresh orange zest
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter (to dot filling)
Top of Crust:
2 T. GC Lavender Sugar or regular sugar (to top crust) optional
2 T. milk or cream (to brush crust for browning)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2 in pieces.
Wash, hull and quarter strawberries.
Place rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest, sugar, tapioca, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together and let stand for 10 minutes.
Place filling into a pastry lined 9″ pie plate (preferably glass for better bottom browning). I used a slotted spoon to let some of the moisture drain away from the fruit so the pie doesn’t get too soggy!
Dot butter over filling.
Place second crust on top of filling and secure to bottom crust by pinching and sealing with dabs of water. Try to create an even fluted edge.
Using a pastry brush, brush top of pastry with milk or heavy cream.
Top the pastry with a generous amount of GC Lavender Sugar.
Cut slits into top crust to allow air to escape.
Cover the edge of the pie crusts with strips of foil (about 2 1/2 ” wide) to prevent over baking.
Then bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees F for 15 min.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and remove foil before baking pies for an additional 35 to 45 minutes – until the crust is golden and juice bubbles through the openings in the crust.
Enjoy warm or cooled, alone or with vanilla ice cream!
Some Tips for Success:
I used a slotted spoon to let some of the juice drain out (not all, just some) when I placed the fruit filling into the crust – to prevent the pie from getting too soggy. Typically, rhubarb pies can get runny. By waiting 10 minutes after mixing the filling, a lot of excess water is let off to collect into the bottom of the bowl.
I use a pastry cutter to chop in the butter and lard. Yes – I use both in my hand-made crust – here’s why – lard makes it flaky and the butter gives it flavor. (Check out the crust recipe on another post.)
Glaze the top of the crust with milk/cream and sugar before baking. Of course, given the choice, I love to use our very own GC Lavender Sugar to add just a hint of panache!
Always use a glass pie plate for best bottom browning of crust.
And, I really like the method of higher heat with a foil covered crust edge to get it all started in the oven, and then lowering the heat – remove the foil and let ‘er rip for the rest of the way.
And always place pies on a rimmed cookie sheet (My pies always seem to bubble over somewhere) and this saves wear and tare on cleaning the oven!
“The stalks of a rhubarb plant are safe to eat. You can even eat them raw—but be warned, they’re very tart!
However, the large, smooth, heart-shaped leaves are toxic. “Rhubarb leaves are considered poisonous to humans and animals due to high concentrations of oxalic acid,” says Dr. Barbara Ingham, a professor of food science at the University of Wisconsin.”
“…You would have to eat several pounds of rhubarb leaves to reach a toxic level..”
Ok. I have searched high and low. Tried over and over to find the flavor and flakiness that would stand up to pumpkin, apple and berries. Toiled and debated over butter vs. lard vs oil shortening. Finally, after months of trial and error – I am ready to share with you today a not too scary recipe for pie crust that will make you wonder why you’ve been wasting time and money buying the pre-made ones!
Flavorful and flaky, the technique is simple (use a pastry cutter). Use both lard for flakiness and butter for flavor. And the secret ingredient that puts it over the top – a tiny splash of freshly squeezed orange juice to bind it all together and elevate the flavor profile.
The recipe below will make one double or two single pie crusts.
Combine flour and salt with a whisk in a large bowl.
Using a pastry cutter, chop the butter and lard into the flour mixture until the it resembles course crumbs.
Add orange juice a tablespoon at a time and toss mixture lightly with a fork until the dough is slightly moistened. The mixture should hold together when squeezed into a ball.
Divide dough in half and form two balls. Flatten slightly.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before rolling.
Use as the base for your favorite pies!
Use glass baking pans to ensure a flaky and browned bottom crust.
On top crusted double crusted pies, use a tablespoon of milk or cream and a pastry brush to coat the top – and sprinkle with sugar to create a beautifully caramelized top.
Make sure to refrigerate dough before rolling.
When baking fruit pies – Bake with the edges of the crust covered with foil for a few minutes at a higher temperature (400 – 425 degrees F for 10 – 15 minutes) before reducing the temp (350F) and baking the rest of the time needed with crust edges exposed. This will help the crust brown evenly and reduce the chance of burnt edges.
Hope this helps make hand-made pie crust an easier, less scary experience! Enjoy!
The art of self promotion has certainly become a thing in this post pandemic era! And one most artists and small businesses will certainly be struggling with now and for some time in the future. But taming the beast is imperative to remaining relevant in the new economy. So, as scary and unfriendly as this learning curve may seem: “we boldly go where no one’s gone before”. Well, sort of!
Here’s to Reels, on-line video, and a commitment to improve the quality of content as I learn. Glad you’re out there and hope you enjoy this journey!
Please follow us as you explore the links to our future at Gallery’s Choice!
When you share a post, story or reel with someone you might think would like to see it, you help us grow. When you comment and send your positive love our way with engagement, you help us grow! We can’t do this alone – YOU MATTER! It’s a social thing!
Check us out on Instagram @gallerys_choice , on Facebook , on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
Beveled glass is a classic and works with so many decor styles. This project offered additional functionality as a room divider, replacing existing solid shutters, providing privacy while letting natural light into the hallway!
The project called for complex bevel cluster to act as the center cameo. When using bevel clusters, it’s best to have it in house before attempting any design drawing. Each piece is different and varies across the work, even when they are “machine-made”, so to size the background pieces correctly – you really have to trace the actual glass pieces, and not trust a drawing.
To accent the gorgeous bevel set that was chosen, we used pencil bevels as an inside boarder. “Pencil” bevels are just 1″ wide by either 3″, 4″, 5″, etc., long bevels. Leaving some “background” glass to the edge allows the bevels to really capture the light and bounce prisms around the room, as it’s facets are not stuck going into the framing.
Then there is the play of texture! And why not! All clear glass just begs for a play of textures, and by punching the “feel” of the glass, you not only achieve greater dimension, but sparkle as well. And you never miss not having color!
This classy monochromatic look will stand the test of ages, and plays nicely with the different lighting of the two spaces: the warm light of the hall way and landing with it’s grand chandelier vs. the cool grey blue and white of the bedroom dressing area upstairs.
In the images you can see the attention to detail as Bill installs the rosettes to match the wood work as stops for the glass. They are decorative and tie the details of the room together while serving to hold the glass in place. A custom wood frame cut to exacting measurements (so the piece wouldn’t fall out the other side of course!) and painted with an exact match to the painted trim of the room.
Such an exciting transformation and a wonderful example of how stained glass has both functionality and beauty for today’s home!
So simple a request. Please paint a series of moon phases. Easy subject.
But not so fast!
There certainly was more to this project than meets the eye! Not withstanding the huge amount of difficulty just getting the wood panel supports during the pandemic! (Don’t get me started on the 50% increase in price for the materials after waiting six months just for them to be available!) Finally, after “many moons” had passed, I had what I needed to get started. Bless my customers for their unwavering patience and support!
Yet, logistics aside, the subject had to be addressed. This seemingly straightforward subject – something we have all seen and taken for granted in the night sky – is decidedly complex.
There is an immense amount of topological detail (that man in the moon created by the shadows of craters and dunes.) But to represent the painting too literally would have deprived it of its mysterious wonder!
And so, the challenge of the work became how to represent the depth and detail while allowing its mystery and allure.
From sketches to charcoal to an acrylic under painting – each step was a new detailed study of the subject. Three attempts later, I finally had something.
Here’s a question – “What color is the moon?”
What ever your answer – my retort will be the same: “Really? Think again!”
The final series was achieved via multiple layers of cold wax and oils (Winsor & Newton Winton Newton Oil Colours, R&F Oil Pigment Sticks, Gamblin Cold Wax Medium), over a lamination of vine charcoal on rice paper which conveys the topology of the landscape. The under-painted “study” of the subject in acrylic was useful in tamping down stray light, and provided for a more luminous subject area. And, of course, I couldn’t resist – I had to burnish some gold leaf on the final layers! The spirit of whimsy got to me! After all, it was never merely about the moon as the painting’s subject. It was about the wonder and emotions seeing the moon in the night sky!
Admittedly more sparkly in person – Mia Bella Luna series of paintings is now in its forever home! Such a joy to explore!
Don’t for get to subscribe! Take us with you – Find us on iTunes, Google Podcast, and Spotify.
This episode breaks through the darkness and brings us into the light as we de-mystify the use of specific techniques.
Explore the strategic use of light in art, as it is used by the masters across the ages and across different media. Challenge yourself to not only observe how light is used, but to plan your light strategy in the artwork you produce.
And don’t forget to brighten up your healthy cooking this week by grabbing some of your favorite seasoning from GC Lavender. (Ok -so it’s a shameless plug! But after all – you gotta eat!)
Welcome to Episode #14 of the Art for Life Podcast
Expand your understanding of light and how it is used by artists to create not only imagery, but mood and emotion. By grasping how masters have applied light techniques, you can improve your work – should you be an artist or artist wanna-be. Or elevate your enjoyment and appreciation for how those special pieces of art you love in your life came to be!
Stay tuned to the end and discover a tasty, vegetarian-friendly, healthy recipe using one of my new healthy favorites: Leeks!
The topic of light is so vital to the work of art, it is amazing to witness the scope of what can be achieved just by playing with tonal differences of light and dark colors. Below are some rather awesome examples of works using light in the most dramatic ways.
I am sure you can find other such examples. If you have access to a museum, gallery, local art fair, or The Art Institute in Chicago, I hope you will take some time to not only casually observe – but savor the effects of artists such as the ones I’ve cited and enjoy their works more fully!
And, should you be an artist (in whatever media), this podcast should arm you with not only a better appreciation for what others have done, but also some techniques to try in your own masterpieces!
This is the Art for Life Podcast by Gallery’s Choice, and I am your host, Rose Jarecki. Gallery’s Choice’s Art for Life Podcast series. Meant to explore the creative side of life by sharing tips techniques, inspirations and recipes with the goal of living well. Whether you are an artist, an artist wanna be, a regular Jane or Joe, with some time to kill, I promise there is something in here for all of you. We will talk about our business and how to be a great career creative. We will get you started if you never, or you never knew you could. And we will share anything we discover on the topics of being healthy, happy and wise…so that you can live your best life!
Support your local businesses! We appreciate your patronage as we reorganize post-pandemic.
This episode of the Art for Life Podcast sponsored by GC Lavender by Gallery’s Choice.
If you are interested in supporting the arts by becoming a sponsor of the Art for Life Podcast, please contact us regarding sponsorship opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org
Royalty free music and sounds in this podcast were sourced from the YouTube Audio Library with special shout out to the artists of this episode’s featured tracks: “You’re There” “Stacy and George” By The Mini Vandals
A light, easy, vegetarian friendly recipe to help you reach your goal of nutrition with flavor. Our secret weapon? Why GC Lavender Lemon Pepper and GC Lavender Gourmet Triple Salt, of course! And the clincher – it comes together so fast and is so easy, it’s a go-to when I forgot to plan or I am too busy to create a big meal in the kitchen. Living your best life, after all, should be easy!
So what goodness does a leek have?
According to WebMD.com:
“Leeks are rich in flavonoids, especially one called kaempferol. Flavonoids are antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties, as well as other health benefits.” Sep 16, 2020
According to Medindia.net:
“Eating foods such as leeks help in detoxification of the liver and improve overall liver function. Sulfur compounds present in leek bind the toxins and eliminate them from the body.” May 27, 2017
According to me:
This vegetable’s mild onion flavor and versatility are the bomb! In cooking, leeks add a subtle layer of complex flavor that allows me to incorporate other ingredients and spices without being overwhelmed by onion! It plays well with others! Use it in soups, stews, on the grill, in quiche – its pleasant onion notes are almost sweet, and complement many other meats and vegetables. Low calorie and no onion aftertaste! I am all in! Plus, I have found they last a good long time in the refrigerator! A plus for busy household’s meal planning.
This veg has a scientific name of Allium porrum – if you were wondering – and shares it’s genius with garlic, chives and Chinese onions. The white part of the plant (a bundle of sheath leaves) is the desirable part of the plant, and has a mild onion flavor.
The recipe below showcases this vegetable beautifully, and when using vegetable stock as the base, provides a great vegetarian option.
2 lbs. yellow potatoes – peeled and cut to 1″ cubes
2 medium leeks (white parts only) – washed well and very thinly sliced
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 c. chicken broth or vegetable stock
2 c. water
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1 T. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 t. GC Lavender Triple Salt Blend
1 t. GC Lavender Lemon Pepper
Wash and peel potatoes; cut into 1″ cubes.
Place potatoes, thyme, broth and water in a large soup pot, on medium-high heat.
In the meantime, trim and wash leeks.
Cut leeks into thin even slices, and place in a large skillet with olive oil; saute until leeks are translucent.
Season with GC Lavender Gourmet Triple Salt and GC Lavender Lemon Pepper.
Add seasoned leeks to the boiling broth and potatoes.
When potatoes are tender, ladle out about 2 cups of potatoes and broth into a deep metal bowl.
Using an immersion blender, blend mixture into a thick slurry. Add back into soup to thicken.
Continue to boil for another 3 minutes. Then add vinegar, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking just before serving.
Enjoy alone or with a crusty bread!
Before using the leeks, be sure to wash them thoroughly. Because their leave are “nested” they pick up and can hide dirt and sand. But cleaning is easy.
I like to first trim the dark leaves (they are tough and stringy) and the root end from the bottom. Next, I slice lengthwise down the center of the leek, this lets me fan out the individual leaves. Finally rinse well while fanning the leaves out under a stream of slightly warm running water. Make sure to rub out any specks of dirt you might see clinging to the inside. Then slice as necessary for your recipe.
Now the secret to making this soup so healthy and yet so creamy is by thickening the broth via a blender. No dairy is needed. As hot soup and food processors are a recipe for disaster – I prefer the immersion blender method for simplicity and safety!
Using a tall metal bowl and a hand-held immersion blender, blend up around two cups of potatoes and broth taken from pot and then mix back in to soup.
We serve our soup with homemade crusty bread and a dab of sour cream or yogurt, but the soup is substantial enough to go it alone!
Seasoning Tip: GC Lavender Gourmet Triple Salt is a “finishing salt” designed to be added to foods at the end of the cooking process. It is a specially curated blend made with three types of salts – one for melt, natural sea salt for crunch, and Himalayan pink for a pop of intense flavor that allows you to use less (meaning less sodium) while you get more salty punch! So go easy when first using this salt blend, as you will need to use much less than if you were to use table salt! (Another healthy advantage!) In this recipe, however, I leveraged it’s subtle complexity at the beginning of the cooking process, to sweat the leeks in saute. Just remember to taste – you should not need as much of this dynamic player as you would table salt – so don’t over do it!
Order GC Lavender Gourmet Triple Salt and impress your guests!
Also, I use this new GC Lavender Lemon Pepper on everything! From my sunny-side eggs in the morning to soups and stews, to salads. The citrus zing pairs extremely well with the savory lavender and peppery pop giving what ever you use it on a unique “This tastes so good but I can’t place why” magic!
Thank you for being part of our Gallery’s Choice family.
This podcast is a light yet thoughtful reflection on current times – sharing our story of family traditions, challenges and joy.
Traditions transcend time, establish connections and build community. We hope you’ll share in this tradition with us this year from where ever you are by listening, and look forward to being with you in the years to come.
An essential step in constructing a stained glass panel lamp is connecting the finished panels to the top central vase cap. This video shows you how to prepare your vase cap for connecting to the panels you have prepared.
As many of you may have read in our previous post, we view our work as more than making a piece of glass or delivering a window treatment. This project is a reflection of one family’s creative intentions. And being able to finally install the piece in it’s forever home was certainly a highlight for us this month!
This glass project was so much fun for us and had so many special features – I had to write more about it’s installation!
Legacy in Light Delivered
Family legacy in light delivered! A highlight for Spring 2021, Gallery’s Choice installs a memorable custom art glass window in it’s forever home. This work, designed and fabricated by our very own artists, Rose and Bill Jarecki, was inspired by the creativity of a loving family, holds in it a deeper meaning and life spirit.
For this piece, special elements called for special treatments. Glass artist Rose Jarecki called upon her jewelry making skills and chose metal smithing techniques to focus on elements called out by the family crest. Her love of copper was a perfect fit in handcrafting unique one-of-a-kind embellishments, which could then hold the level of detail not possible with traditional stained glass.
Select elements worked in copper using metal smith’s tools and chasing techniques create interest in meaningful imagery.
The copper pieces depicted specific elements of the meaning behind the family crest – the genesis of this commission in stained glass. The wisdom of the owl, the magic and music of the writing quill, a grounding in faith from the organic copper wire cross, and of course a heart, representing love in relationship. All these components add to the multimedia presentation of the glass art window.
Glass elements of the window itself incorporated other strong messages: the tree of life, a path, a grounding in the rock representing faith. The active water, to remind us that time passes so very fast, and a winding path, noting that the path in life is never a direct one!
Maybe the most notable element of this work is not the glass or copper elements at all. But it is in the way the piece reacts in the light. Throughout the day, and as the light changes in the room, the observer is presented an ever changing scene – with different parts of the work coming into greater focus as light plays on each part.
Behind the Scenes
Leading up to the “Big Day” was a big deal for us! To begin, as many may know, our studio is somewhat cramped for space, as we continue to navigate through life during lock-down. (The year 2020 brought with it the sudden, temporary, and necessary closure of a 1,500 square foot brick and mortar store front. This is my only real defense to what may otherwise look like a scene from “Hoarders” TV show!) With so many store fixtures and supplies taking up precious table and floor space – the larger format (approx 46″ x 58″) of this project had to be assembled in sections!
Our other customer’s projects needed to be finished and installed to free up space on the high top. This included 14 beveled transom windows, two sets of sidelights and a stained glass lamp repair.
Not to mention the flipping of the large glass art (so the second side could be soldered) required strategy and engineering to navigate the space less than two and a half feet between table and tool chest. The glass artwork had to be tipped off the work surface, slipping it off the work surface, carefully dropped to the floor and hoisted back up to the tabletop before it could be flopped over onto the side needing work! (If any of those words scared you in the context of making a stained glass piece – let me assure you – I was terrified!)
After the last joining glass pieces were soldered in, wood framing was cut, painted, joined and copper embellishments were soldered on – it was finally time for loading. But first, we would have to navigate the studio fixtures, glass grinder, a very narrow doorway and even the snowplow before we could place it into our van.
We had already anticipated that our van was too narrow to take the work, and tried to enlist the help of an alternate vehicle. But when plans fell short, good ole ingenuity and some spare 2 x 4’s saved the day! Undaunted, Bill set out to build a secure easel the stained glass piece could ride against and be strapped down to, giving us the extra inches needed by means of riding along on the diagonal!
By the end of all of this, I stood laughing at the end of our driveway, thinking to myself how appropriate that the path we were on with this project, just like the path of life it depicted, was anything but a straight line!
Stained Glass Installation
On site, we encountered few real surprises. Minor adjustments to framing were completed to accommodate the fact that nothing is ever perfectly square. (The experience of many installations has taught us this truth!) And when the glass art eased in to it’s new home – the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived!
Although we may have taken a favorite perch away from our favorite felines, the temperature of the room instantly dropped as the blues and greens of the art glass filtered the direct beating sun – a feature these fur wearing felines may appreciate!
But the real story is the light.
As the light of the day transmits through the glass art, the mood of the work changes, and different aspects and features are brought “to light.” Reflected light from within the home at night give special focus to copper elements. Morning’s cool light creates a watercolor-like ambiance while the mid-day sun fires up the golden tree of life and late afternoon shows a purple mountain majesty in all glory. Even I as glass artist, working on the piece, am amazed and humbled by the power of the light in this media.
We’d like to thank the Simmon’s family for inviting us on this journey with them by commissioning us to create “Crest Mountain” stained glass for them!