Thursday, July 22, 2010

Desserts by Holly

Desserts by Holly

Pilchuck Glass School, Summer 2010

Although dessert wasn't on my mind (for once) when I jumped at the chance to attend Pilchuck Glass School, they now feature heavily in my mental scrapbook, nestled quietly but comfortably between shots of liquefied glass and other swaggering pyrotechnics. While Pilchuck is known for the quality of its food, in practice it's a matter of who happens to be in the kitchen. The sweet-toothed glass students of 2010 have an ally in Holly Fox.

I was mostly too hurried or too hungry during my time at Pilchuck to document Holly's work sufficiently, but I appreciated every installment. Working with glass did not come naturally to me, and I spent much of the session feeling anxious, frightened, and down; I cannot overstate the comfort I derived from a slice of blueberry tart, a bowl of fruit shortcake, or a pocketful of no-bake peanut butter oat cookies.

Of all the session's sweets, it's the macaroons (above) that still have their hooks buried deep in my taste buds: crisp-tender golden haystacks of shredded coconut and toasted almond slivers, skirted with dark chocolate. When I asked if she would share her recipe, Holly apologized for not having used one. The macaroons were simply an elegant response to an array of demands: some coconut and some egg whites needed to get used up and a dessert needed to get made. The way Holly tells it, she just stirred in some sugar and the macaroons practically made themselves.

Holly also gives stylish haircuts and sews stylish bags (and torn trousers). When I asked her what kind of training she'd had for any of this, she said she owed her abilities to her mother's good example. It struck me that she has experienced the same journey--from apprenticeship, to competence, to creativity--undertaken by many good glass artists.

Want to hear more about my Pilchuck experience?

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