New York Artists Include Yachats in their social sculpture
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Emily Puthoff (right) and Elena Sniezek (center), two artists visiting Yachats from Kingston, NY. In their Wayfinding Series, they are “having conversations with people across the country about their ideas of progress.” They had just interviewed our publisher for their project.
TYG: I would like to ask you the same question you asked me: What is your idea of progress?
Elena: Oh, man, you turned it right around on us! My idea of progress is when we start, as the Unites States and maybe the world, to start looking at our social structures and really making movement in our communities to live in a more sustainable way—for the environment and for each other... and I think we’re at a point where we’re realizing that the structures aren’t supporting us anymore—the government and religion and our education system—and we need to start making shifts and changes to them, to make them work for everyone.
TYG: When do you think this should happen by?
Elena: I think it’s starting to happen now where people are waking up, but I don’t really see the changes happening right now. So I think people are making moves in their communities, a little bit, to shift things, and making decisions for themselves and their communities.... I do think it needs to start there, and spread out from a small level to a national level, to a global level. I think it can start happening now.
Emily: I think it should start immediately.
TYG: When should it finish by?
Elena: I don’t know that it ever really finishes, because life keeps happening and things keep changing and so I think that it’s always a process. But I think that if we start putting humanity first, and not buying into a corporate model of living, that’s what we need to do first, and then... it’s always going to continue to be a process of rearranging things, and hopefully there’ll be progress throughout that process, and things will continue to get better.
Emily: I think for me, what would bring about progress is this notion of people taking a minute to engage with one another, rather than being totally disengaged through Facebook or the internet or whatever... sort of like what we’re doing right now, where we sit down and a
conversation comes out of that... and that moment of presence and being here, and acknowledgement, I think that’s a very small step towards bettering our culture and our society... and for me that’s progress. So it doesn’t have to be this grand thing—I think these small local actions of just knowing that we’re all here, in the same place on this planet, and what is our experience, and talking about it, I think that could elicit change.
TYG: What is this project that you guys are doing?
Elena: We are traveling across the country, starting now, and we’re interviewing people about their ideas of progress... a diversity of people from all different ethnic backgrounds, economic backgrounds... so we’re asking them about if they think that progress is possible, how they think that progress can happen, and what can be done now. We’re open to hearing what people have to say, and to recording it and posting it on our blog. Right now the project is really organic, where it can take other forms, in terms of a sound piece, or it could go in a community center gallery, but we’re not sure what the end form is going to be.
TYG: Would you say a little about yourselves?
Elena: I’m an artist; I make sculptures and paintings and social sculpture, and this falls under that category of social sculpture. I also teach art in the elementary school in Kingston, New York.
Emily: I’m an artist, sculptor, and I’m also an educator, I teach at the State University of New York at New Paltz. We live in upstate New York. I’m really excited and curious to see where this experiment goes.
Candy-Making at Topper’s
The Yachats Gazette got a lesson in candy making from Gary Church at Topper’s Ice Cream and Candy. Some excerpts follow.
TYG: How exactly do you make peanut butter cups? I’ve never quite understood that.
Gary: Well, I don’t know how Reese’s makes theirs, but I’ll show you how I make mine…. The way you make the filling is with a food processor—peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and salt.
TYG: What I find really cool is that the whole thing [the chocolate tempering machine] rotates, and that the chocolate itself actually rotates.
Gary: Yep, it’s just stirring it… if it isn’t kept close to the proper temperature… the lowest I’ve worked with is 86, and when it gets into the low 80s the chocolate starts to seize up, and then you’re done.
Gary: No, Fahrenheit.
TYG: Fahrenheit! That’s not very warm at all!
Gary: No, just warm! But if it gets too hot, after it’s been tempered, which would be somewhere around mid to upper 90s, then it’ll get out of temper, and when it cools, you’ll have all sorts of white streaks and white dots, and it’ll look like it’s ten years old, when it was just made. It’ll taste just the same, but it’ll look awful. And it won’t be as crisp, either.
TYG: How did you make these [pecan turtles]?
Gary: You can do these with any nuts—these are pecans, these are almonds, these are cashews…. You put a layer of nuts, flat as you can, one layer, and then a dollop of melted caramel, the right amount, and it spreads out. Then, after it’s cooled down, you ladle on the chocolate, and let it cool all the way.
TYG: How did you get into this business?Gary: The short story is that I wanted to continue living in Yachats, because I like Yachats and where I live up the river, and I wanted to work for myself, and I like candy and I like ice cream, and I knew the woman who owned this business, and she was interested in selling it, and so I talked to her about it, and we both agreed that I should buy it!
TYG: How did you learn to make chocolate?
Gary: I learned to make chocolate by watching other people make chocolate, by reading about making chocolate, and by practicing making chocolate… which is not the easiest way to learn to make chocolate. You learn a lot of ways NOT to do it. It’s not that hard when you know how to do it, but when you basically know how to do it, you keep running into mistakes. And no one will just tell you the answer to solve your problem. I had trouble with some of my chocolates at first, and now I know that the problem was temperature related. The chocolates weren’t cooled fast enough, so they would have those white streaks, called “chocolate bloom,” which is the fats in chocolate coming to the top. So that’s why chocolate is usually put on a stone or marble slab, to cool it quickly. The marble draws the heat out really quickly. I can do the same thing without marble, on the ice cream freezers. The metal draws the heat out, and the chocolates come out looking (hopefully) professional—they have a nice shine to them, and when you break them they snap, which is what chocolate should do.
Real Estate Changes
The Yachats Gazette spoke with DJ Novgrod, regarding changes in the local real estate business.
TYG: Is Coldwell Banker moving?
DJ: Our broker at Coldwell Banker passed away and we have closed the Coldwell Banker office in Yachats. I was with Coldwell Banker for 20 years. The three of us agents that were with Coldwell Banker have moved across the street and affiliated with Emerald Coast Realty.
TYG: How has it been going so far with the new business?
DJ: So far so good. Emerald Coast is probably the largest independent company on the coast. They have five branches—Yachats, Waldport, Seal Rock, Newport, and Depoe Bay. So we have a lot of agents, and we have, I think, about 320 listings in the company.
TYG: What is a listing?DJ: A listing is when somebody wants to sell their house, or a piece of land, or their business. I write up the information about the square footage, the year it was built, the owner’s name, the taxes, the assessed value, that kind of thing.
4th of july duck race
The Yachats Gazette spoke with Jo Crooks regarding the upcoming Duck Race to benefit the Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program (YYFAP).
TYG: When is the duck race?
Jo: The duck race is at 2:30 on the fourth of July. But the activities will start at 2:00, down by the river. You can get duck race tickets at Raindogs, Chuck’s Video in Waldport, the Chamber of Commerce, and at YYFAP right now. Starting in June we’ll be selling them at the farmer’s market also.
TYG: So what kind of courses will you have for the ducks?
Jo: Well, Jason is working on a new course this year, so I’m not sure exactly what it looks like, but he promises that it will be more exciting than in past years.
TYG: What was the last year’s?
Jo: Last year’s was pretty short, so we’re working on making it better.
Jo: Last year’s was pretty short, so we’re working on making it better.
TYG: What exactly is a duck race?
Jo: We dump 1500 rubber ducks into a chute in the Yachats River, and then they funnel in, and we pick out the first 25 or so for prizes. All of our prizes are donated—everything from bicycles and kites and different activities down in Florence to restaurant gift certificates, and I just picked up a necklace from one of the women at the farmer’s market. There are some people down at ten mile who give us a package that includes massage, and soap, and all kinds of stuff…. In the past two years we’ve sold out, all 1500 tickets.
TYG: I just don’t see how—there aren’t even 1500 people in Yachats!Jo: Yeah, but we sell them five dollars a piece, or three for ten dollars, and lots of people buy three. And we sell to a lot of tourists on the fourth of July. I’ve actually sold 120 ducks to people in Minnesota so far. I have sold ducks to people literally all over the world. I’ve had people from Canada, and people from Holland buy ducks. They’re mostly doing it just to support the Youth Program.
TYG: But they still get the prizes if they win, right?
Jo: They do! Except we’ve always said that if somebody from far away wins the bike, then we probably won’t ship that, but otherwise we’ll mail their packages to them.
TYG: How did you come to be involved in this?
Jo: There was a woman, who has passed away, who got me involved with the Youth Program. When I was doing fundraising for the clinic, it was just fun to do fundraising and put on these events. When they closed I had to find somebody else to give my energy to, and it turned out to be the Youth Program.
Candle-Making at Turtle Island
Our publisher interviews himself regarding his candle-making lesson at Turtle Island Candle Company.
TYG: What was the experience like?
Allen: Well, I must say, making candles was surprisingly fast. I also almost burned myself when a couple of drops of 160-degree wax got onto me, but just a couple of drops. My teacher, Bonnie Jean, was excellent. She said I was a natural.
TYG: How long did it take?
Allen: Well, how long did it take. Hmm. Well, it took maybe 45 minutes to an hour. Just dipping the candle into the different colors probably took only about 15 minutes. The drying took longer.
TYG: What was the inside of the room like?
Allen: It was hot! Hot, hot, hot! And there were many different chambers, many different kinds of things in the room, including in a wooden chest, all the vats of waxes, which I used greatly to make my two candles.
TYG: Who gave the class and where was the classroom?
Allen: As I said before, Bonnie Jean gave the class. She runs Turtle Island Candle Company as well as Turtle Island Tattoo. The classroom was in the candle shop.
TYG: What did you make?
Allen: Well, I made two candles. One was a “mushroom” candle, and the other was a beautiful candle, the kind you can see in her shop, the kind with beautiful peeling back to reveal the inner colors of the candle.
TYG: What ingredients did you use?
Allen: Oh, that’s pretty simple. Just about four or five colors of wax, acrylic, knives, and the candle core for dipping.