Tag Archives: colleen smith

What’s the difference between a menorah and a chanukiah?

Denver menorah history Mizel Museum

Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz of The Denver Post

Chanukah begins tomorrow, December 12, 2017, in the Gregorian calendar. Researching my article on Chanukah lights for The Denver Post, I interviewed a rabbi and a professor of Jewish studies. I visited a Jewish cultural center. And I looked at menorahs of all sizes, shapes, materials and moods.

Even though I went on assignment to Israel in 1994, I didn’t know the difference between a menorah and a chanukiah. The temple menorah has seven branches, as instructed in the Bible’s Book of Exodus. The Chanukah menorah has nine branches: eight to represent the eight nights of miraculous oil and one “servant” candle to light the others.

The rabbi noted that the symbol of light is common to many faiths.

“The really interesting religious dimension is that Chanukah, Diwali [the Hindu festival of light], Christmas, and Kwanza [the African-American celebration that incorporates candle-lighting] all come at the darkest time of the year. Our religious impulse is to bring light,” said Rabbi Eliot Baskin of Denver’s Jewish Family Service.

“The torch held by the lady in New York harbor represents the liberty of religious freedom. And that’s what makes America so great. This Chanukah, as we recall the rededication of the temple, we rededicate ourselves to religious freedom for all.”

Happy Chanukah to all Jewish people, and may all people of goodwill stand in the light.

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Tracy Stuckey’s Satirical Western Paintings

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My article from December-January Colorado Expression  magazine profiling Tracy Stuckey

Tracy Stuckey’s satirical Western paintings might lead one to believe that the Old West is heading south. Stuckey kicks the dust off the Western icons and pours on satire. For the December-January issue of Colorado Expression magazine, I profiled the artist — who’s an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University — and found his paintings both amusing and thought-provoking.
An excerpt from my article:

“Stuckey’s oil paintings suggest quirky narratives that both amuse and disturb. He presents human figures in ironic scenarios. Contemporary cowboys wield plastic squirt guns or ride toy horses. Intriguingly attractive young Anglo hipsters wear Levi jeans and chic sunglasses, cowboy boots and mini-skirts, fur coats and feathery Native American headdresses.

“Or they wear just their birthday suits. A robust sexual tension underlies many of Stuckey’s paintings. He peoples his canvases with nudes or figures in various stages of undress: a Vegas showgirl, a cowboy with his jeans down, and bikini-clad, nubile young women near desert swimming pools or teepees.

“Stuckey says, ‘I’m interested in our ideas about the American west and its history, and how it continues to find itself within our mainstream culture, the interaction with the real past and the romanticized.’ “

To see more of Stuckey’s paintings, check out his website.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture

FLW furniture

Image from Art & Object

In 2017, we’re celebrating 150 years since the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright. Almost everybody knows America’s most famous architect designed homes an buildings, but Wright’s furnishings are not as well know. The architect designed both built-in and freestanding furnishings both for his private residences and his public buildings.
For this article published by Art & Object, I interviewed a docent from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and also an architect who grew up in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home near Minneapolis. The house had such an influence on the boy that as a young man he switched his major from pre-med (his father was a physician) to architecture. The home is now for sale, and the article includes a slide show allowing a peek inside this marvelous structure for which Wright designed almost all of the furnishings.
Have a look here.

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Expert tips for setting a memorable table

Thanksgiving table setting ideas

Photo by John Leyba of The Denver Post

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but these tips apply to any table for any special occasion. My article published in The Denver Post includes tips from a Sur la Table chef and two design experts from an events company celebrating their 70-year-old anniversary this year. Whether rustic or elegant, there’s something for everyone.

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Five easy handmade gifts from the heart

 

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Image from The Denver Post

 

Here come the holidays, and the season of hostess gifts and gift exchanges. Even if you’re on an budget or find yourself lacking Martha Stewart homemaking skills, these gifts will do the trick.

Have a look at my article published in The Denver Post.

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Botanical illlustration: where science and art meet

Botanic art and illustration

Illustration by Randy Raak | Photo by RJ Sangosti of The Denver Post

Even if your garden is put to bed after the growing season, you can find delight in botanical illustrations. Part science and part art, botanical illustrations provide painstakingly detailed looks at fruits, flowers, vegetables, trees–any member of the plant kingdom.
One of the most rewarding aspects of botanical illustrations is that they can provide us with a look at plants from seed to blossom to flower to fruit–all in one image.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing botanical illustration or simply want a close-up appreciation of plants, have a look at my article published in The Denver Post. You’ll find a number of examples of artfully rendered botanical illustrations.

 

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Djuna reopens tony design store in Denver

Djuna new location for antiques

Photo by John Leyba of The Denver Post

Djuna, named after the eccentric American writer Djuna Barnes, will host their grand reopening in November. Visit Djuna at 1824 South Broadway in Denver if you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind French antiques, sumptuous bedding, American-made upholstery–or inspiration from amazing interior design set-ups by artistic owners Karen and Jeffrey Moore.
My feature in The Denver Post last weekend includes a wonderful slide show that gives you a sense even if you can’t make it to the bricks-and-morter wonderland that is Djuna.
Have a look here.

 

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