hole & corner
July 3, 2013 § 5 Comments
People don’t appreciate beauty these days. They look at everything but they don’t really see. Who really looks at trees and sees their shapes and colours? They’re magic! That’s what it’s all about. – Brian Clough
Hole & Corner is a British magazine filled with stories of dedication, honouring craftsmanship across a broad spectrum of skillful talents. While reading it, I cannot help but fall in love with every passionate story. Each individual has a natural flare and pursue it with much panache.
From taking 12 months to make one pair of John Lobb shoes, owning a miller despite having an oat allergy, to using an ancient painting technique for modern art and still regard it as “ordinary“. It is the little sacrifices of time, with genteel understanding that makes them count.
It reminded me of the time spent by the aga during summer, sterilizing jars, cutting up stone fruits, listening to the birds sing and soaking up the soft sunlight in the late evenings. We made homemade jams with much joy and excitement, but the air of earnestness danced in opulence. I learnt her ways of stirring at the right time, adding the sugar at the precise temperature and skim it at the very very end. After being pampered with hearty jars, it is difficult to buy them off the shelves in stores. Not knowing who made them or where the fruits came from. I much rather mash a few berries and make a coulis for toast.
Every year I look forward to a trip to England, as I return back to Singapore with endless jars of jams & chutney. Or when a family member drops over and surprises me with some. A bottle of devotedness is simply irreplaceable with convenience.
As a baker, I make the daily bakes with much pride. Pride in being authentic, genuine and simply plain. It upsets me when the cake is half-eaten or left untouched. It annoys me when I see another baker taking shortcuts. It certainly does not add any icing to any glorious cake when it is too pretty to eat. Somehow, I believe in slowing down the pace, take two steps back to observe & learn from the daily craft I chose to admire, and lucky enough, to engaged in every day.
After all, as Lluís Lleó puts it “the lack of glamour is beautiful, no?”.