Tag Archives: Greece

Eat Greek And Be Merry!

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Eat Greek And Be Merry!

BASKING IN THE WARMTH OF A PDX AFTERNOON THE OPA WAY

I look forward to the Holy Trinity Greek Festival all year long.  It is held every October and by July I start anticipating the smoky fragrances of roasting lamb on the spit, and the hot oil fryers of the pastry tent.  We’ve been going for so many years I’ve lost count.  We’ve watched it grow and expand over time to accommodate the ever-burgeoning crowds in what appears to be a hugely successful fund-raising event for Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Our annual pilgrimage takes us to the lovely tree-lined streets and vintage homes of Laurelhurst, one of old-Portland’s premiere neighborhoods.  Finding parking on the residential streets can take a bit of tenacity, but we always manage to find a spot without too much trouble and walking through the neighborhood is a part of the pleasant experience.

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tree lined streets of Laurelhurst

Laurelhurst

A beautiful Sunday in Portland, Oregon

As we make our approach to the church, we are first greeted by the delicious aroma of lamb roasting and the sounds of  bouzouki music.  I always have to exercise a certain level of self-restraint when I hear Greek music as it tends to make me want to extend my arms, start snapping my fingers and exclaiming opa!

the aroma of roasting lamb

roasting lamb

A large tent is set up where the ladies of the parish sell their homemade pastries… all Greek traditional  tasty treats like baklava and other things I can’t quite spell or pronounce the names of, but all delicious, every one, I’m sure.

Greek pastries

Greek pastries

Loukoumades, which I suspect means little-fat-pills in Greek, top my list of Greek savories.  They are basically doughnuts, fried and dipped in honey or a sugary syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon.  They are definitely a must have every year and very popular.

At the loukoumades booth

Living proof that loukoumades make you smile!

Help yourself!

Soooo good!

But, before dessert, we head for the the dining hall where we feast on a traditional Greek chicken dinner.  Tables are set up in the gymnasium and people are seated family style.  I really like this part of the festival, because invariably we meet nice people.  It is not an everyday thing to dine with people you don’t know, but it works in this situation and seems like a very Greek thing to do.

Dining family style

Dining family style

Dinner begins with a Greek salad with feta cheese, olives and tomatoes.

Greek salad

The main course consists of roasted chicken, orzo, green beans Greek-style of course, and a kourabiedes cookie for dessert.

Greek chicken dinner

Greek chicken dinner

After dinner, we take a trip through the market area where various Greek imports are sold.

Greek marketplace

Greek marketplace

I always try to stop in at the Ethos bookstore to pick up an icon for my refrigerator icon collection.  This year I found a rather stern image of Christ; I like it, it’s different from any others than I have and will be a nice addition to my growing number of magnets.

Ethos  bookstore

Ethos bookstore

my refrigerator icon collection

my refrigerator icon collection

Next we go to bask in the afternoon sun for awhile and watch the children dance in their traditional costumes.  It is nice to see them learning and carrying on their traditions.

traditional dancing

traditional dancing

We always like to visit the church; it is very beautiful and peaceful and while typical of orthodox churches, quite different from western churches I am familiar with.   I always begin by buying a candle.

Buying a prayer candle

Buying a prayer candle

And what is one to do with a prayer candle, but to light it and say a prayer, of course.

Sending up a prayer

Sending up a prayer

We go into the church for a few moments of reflection in the quiet under the gaze of the icons which line the walls.  It definitely feels like a holy place and quite a contrast to the party atmosphere just beyond the front door.

In the narthex

In the narthex

the Nave, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

in the Nave looking toward the Iconostasis

And for the finale, we make our obligatory visit to pasty tent for a dessert and  Greek coffee

Greek Festival, 2013

Greek Festival, 2013
Until next year!

 

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Fabric Art – Connective Threads

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Art in Service of Art

There is nothing better than being able to use your creativity to the benefit of others.  Recently, I was invited to support the fundraising effort of the local chamber ensemble, Cappella Romana, an extraordinary group dedicated to the musical traditions of the early Christian periods.  Attending one of their concerts is as near to time-traveling as I can imagine;  the ancient becomes accessible allowing me to hear and feel and be touched by the same sounds that countless others down through the centuries have also heard.   In listening, time collapses making it easy to imagine Empress Theodora surrounded by the same sounds within the cavernous space of the great church in Constantinople.  That’s something special!

A Taste of Byzantium, the Sounds of Hagia Sophia will take place November 3rd at the University Club in Portland.  A signed 12″ x 14″ giclee print of my fabric mosaic, Empress Theodora, will be available at auction.    The print was produced by Digicraft with Better Light scanning system and printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper with Epson Ultrachrome archival ink.  To help patrons more fully realize the nature of the fabric medium, I wrote a brief description, stitched together a sampling of fabrics used in the original piece and also created a small example of fabric fused to muslin.  I created business cards with Theodora’s image to reflect the theme of the evening.

Here’s to a successful event!

Fabric Mosaic Project Update – Empress Theodora

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Empress Theodora

From the mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

I’ve been making steady progress on my fabric mosaic and have completed the most critical part, the face.  Sometimes I work on the face in the beginning, other times it comes at the very end.  I let each individual project direct its own course and just do what seems to feel right at each step of the way.  In this case, the face came last.  Expressions are difficult and Theodora was a very complex person, a saint, a sinner, an empress of the Roman/Byzantine Empire and perhaps one of the most powerful women in history. I’m not really sure what all that looks like, but hope that I have captured elements of her persona in this piece.

I have to design and complete a border and then it will be finished and ready to take in for a high-resolution scan.

Please feel free to comment; your input is appreciated
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Click on the images below to see greater detail of mosaic construction