Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art I'm Making: September 2014 Collage Work

New collages. These two are further explorations using the raspberry-colored papers I've been making, but also drawing on some of the striated indigo blue papers I've made in Untitled Collage No. 69 (Santa Rosa) above and using the mossy green papers of a few weeks back in Untitled Collage No. 70 (Santa Rosa) below.

Click on the images for larger views. For more, use the Art I'm Making tab to the right or visit my collage and photography website at http://ctalcroft.wix.com/collage-site/ (requires Flash Player).

Visit my studio during the 2014 Sonoma County Art Trails open studios event, Saturday and Sunday, October 11th and 12th and Saturday and Sunday, October 18th and 19th, 2014

Books I'm Reading: Just My Type

We look at letters every day, often all day long. We see them on signs; on computer screens large and small, fixed and mobile; in books, magazines, and newspapers. But more often than not, we ignore their form, choosing instead to concentrate on the meanings they convey--and a good typeface (a good reading typeface, that is, as opposed to a display or advertising typeface) is often praised when it's seen as being "transparent," which is to say that it draws no attention to itself. Just My Type (Gotham Books, 2012) author Simon Garfield is far more sensitive to the shapes of letters.

Garfield takes the reader on a grand tour of typography. The book is an entertaining, often witty look at typefaces--where they come from and what they do for us. You may never look at street signs, billboards, print advertising, or book pages the same way again. Particularly fascinating is the way Garfield puts fonts into historical context. Next time you're watching a movie, you may find yourself looking for examples of lettering set in typefaces that didn't exist at the time of the film's setting--a new dimension in movie error trivia to explore.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wines I'm Making: Fermentation (September 29, 2014)

I inoculated our pressed Cabernet grapes yesterday, after a four-day cold soak. We picked the grapes on the 24th. This morning, the wine is beginning to bubble a little. The fermentation appears to have begun. The Sangiovese rosé fermentation is now in day four. Having had minor problems with hydrogen sulphide in the past two years I decided to use the yeast nutrients usually recommended (DAP and Fermaid K), although I've never used them in the past. I'm hoping better nutrient availability will prevent hydrogen sulphide problems this year. We'll see.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wines I'm Making: Harvest 2014 (September 24, 2014)

We picked our grapes on the 24th of September this year, which is about a week to two weeks earlier than usual. The grapes were looking a little dehydrated and rain was threatening. While rain is good for the plants, a heavy rain on soft, ripe skins could have been disastrous and I was worried about mold. With the sugar levels close to optimal anyway, I decided to pick.

The Sangiovese must tested at 22.8 degrees Brix and a pH of 3.47, the Cabernet at 24.5 degrees Brix and a pH of 3.37, both close to ideal, although these are averages of all the grapes in the vineyard. I would like to have let the fruit hang a little longer, but I'm hoping the wine will be at least as good as it usually is--which is not bad at all.

I pressed the Sangiovese grapes on the following morning. I always make a rosé from the Sangiovese. The juice was about 18 hours on the skins, which has been normal. That amount of skin contact typically produces a wine of a pale salmon hue. The Cabernet is still cold soaking (or cool soaking anyway). I usually let the crushed grapes sit for about three days before inoculating with yeast. The Sangiovese fermentation is already underway. As usual, I have used the Epernay yeast for the rosé, the French Red yeast for the Cab. Soon the house will smell like a winery.
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