Author archives: demitasse

Meet chefs of Sweet Amelias: Karessa & Zack

1.When did you guys  first fall in love with food?

Neither of us grew up in very “foodie” environments. Karessa grew up eating a lot of casseroles and typical 90’s mom meals; Zack grew up eating a lot of TV dinners. Karessa remembers specifically eating out at a Carrabba’s, the italian franchise, and ordering chicken picatta and getting her mind blown. She decided in High school that culinary school might be fun, because people will always have to eat, so that’s where she started to branch out more with cooking and got really excited about food, cooking meals for her family. Zack always knew he loved food; his mom always tells the story of how he ordered the most expensive thing on the adult menu even as a kid. He got his first job at a caterer at a fire house at age 14 so he was introduced to the industry very early on and always knew he wanted to be a chef; the fast paced environment really called to his temperament. 

2. Is cooking more of an art or a science for you two?

Cooking is definitely more of an art form for us. We use it to express ourselves creatively and try to push the boundaries of a “normal” dish. We both very much respect the science behind food but are both awful at following a recipe. We very much cook more from the heart and do what feels right in the moment rather than following a structure. Science does go hand in hand with whatever you are cooking however, so the more science you know the more you can predict what the food is going to do. For example, pasta dough is different every day, depending on the humidity in the air, so you can tweak the recipe of the pasta dough slightly based off of the weather

3. As chefs and restaurant owners, how important is it for you to stay in touch with nature?

We try very much to be in touch with nature, but with regulations it’s much easier to connect with our community and the farmers in it who are able and much more knowledgeable in that field. We don’t have a lot of time to explore and be in nature as much as we like but we did get a little experience in foraging with ramp season this year which got us very excited. We support nature by staying local and seasonal as best to our abilities. 

4. So how are you two coming up with your new recipes or ideas these days?

Towards the end of every month we have kitchen meetings where we sit down with our cookbooks and a list of ingredients coming with the farmers and see what inspiration strikes. It really takes a team to bounce ideas off of each other and complete a dish. It helps to keep our menu semi structured; for example the set number of items in each section and we try to have vegetarian options, a dip, a raw vegetable or salad dish and a toast or bread dish. We also try to stay updated with the current trends in the food world. Once we have the menu ideas solidified on paper the rest of the month is about r&d to see what works and what doesn’t. 

5. Which ingredient are you most obsessed with at the moment?

Zack has worked with Keisers Pheasantry farm for a while now and we’re getting pheasants from him right now, they’re very fun. We’re utilitizing the whole bird by making a sausage from the legs and wrapping the breast and sausage in the skin into a roulade. We’re also very excited about the baby ginger we’re getting from our farmer Liam from full table farms. The ginger is more delicate than fully grown ginger with edible skin. We’re also utilizing the leaves from the plant by steaming fish in it, so that’s a fun use of the whole plant. Zacks little sister Ashley is our pastry chef, and she brought us back some fresh chamomile from her recent vacation to Lebanon and it’s pretty incredible. We’re using that in our honey custard right now. 

You can check their website here:

In this blog post, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a talented photographer : Claire Rosen, she is an award-winning artist, whose work resonates with a profound sense of artistry and storytelling.

How did your upbringing affect you and your creativity? 

My creativity has its roots in my earliest childhood and the way my mother and father raised my three younger sisters and me.  My created the enabling environment that nurtured and expanded my imagination. We would spend hours at the Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art, celebrate Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter with tea parties, spend evening hours reading well worn Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and go to horticulture sketching classes in a local victorian-era glass greenhouse.  My father instilled an appreciation for the classics and an interest in philosophy, his analytical mind always focused on perfecting what he set to undertake, modeling a strong work ethic and high standards for quality. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was building an interior vocabulary from these childhood experiences filled with surprise and delight, that later would become the language of my artistic practice. I will be eternally grateful for the gift and privilege of that childhood. 

Tell us about your first introduction to photography, What drew you into this world?

I found photography in my early years at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Photography gave me a voice and outlet for expression beyond what I found in other mediums.

What does photography mean to you?

The pursuit of art provides a path to a life enriched with unique personal experiences.  For me, a life in photography has offered the opportunity to constantly learn, meet and connect with interesting people, and explore fascinating places near and far. The process of making my hidden, interior life visible is therapeutic as I engage in a psychological examination of different concepts. Making pictures allows me to explore the world, work out how I feel about it, and find my place within it. Beyond personal experience, I hope to affect viewers – to capture someone else’s imagination and provide an escape from the everyday world—even if momentarily.  I hope to create images that are a window to a whimsical place where anything is possible.

What 3 words describe your photography style?

Whimsical, Fantastical, Abundant

How do you prepare for your projects? Do you picture beforehand in your mind the images you take?

When preparing for a project I gather inspiration and create extensive mood boards, mind maps, and sketches followed by research and a production plan.  I have outlined my whole workflow in my book, Imaginarium; The Process Behind the Photos. 

You can check Clarie’s work here:

All photos by Jie Deng in the eye photography

1. When and how did you start painting? 

I remember painting, drawing and sculpting with clay from a very young age.  I have a lot of positive memories of exposure to art that feel linked to the eventual path of becoming a painter myself. 

My mother is very creative and I remember her taking me to classes at Wayne Art Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and I would sometimes get lost in the galleries. It was the 80s and kids wandered freely without parental supervision.  I have really good memories of that time, even if most of what I made exploded in the kiln.

My grandmother also had an incredible sense of design – her father was a gallerist and cultural critic (J.H. de Bois) in the Netherlands and she would take me local Cape Cod art galleries as a kid.  Seeing the beauty of a place expressed through art was just magical and that stayed with me. 

I remember announcing to her that one day, I would have my own gallery.  (I also told her I would be a marine biologist and a pediatrician.)  She told me, with characteristic Dutch sobering sensibility, that there were already too many art galleries on Cape Cod.

My first formal oil painting class was at Hampshire College in 2001, but at that time I was also doing a lot of photography working with a medium format camera.  

I always had a sketchbook of abstract watercolors that I would come back to, but I didn’t start to really explore abstraction with oils until I took at class with Yolanda Sanchez at Penland School of Art in 2015.  That class was a turning point for me.  Yolanda, like me, also worked in healthcare and was also a practicing artist.  

I began to see that I didn’t have to pursue only one passion.  I could practice acupuncture and painting. 

I also started to see how the practice of acupuncture and movement of qi (energy) and brushstrokes were in conversation.

2. What do you think is the most important influence in your painting?

For me painting is a space of total freedom.  It’s an expression of energetic movement and what as acupuncturists we call the Shen – heart qi – existing in that space beyond thought or the intellect.  Resting in this space during activity is so rare in our current times and that is what really excites me about the painting process.  Even if I tap into that space of consciousness for just a few moments of the painting, that is what feels most vital about the painting process.  

My wish is to convey that space to the viewer and continue exploring it in my work. It sounds very lofty but I think it shouldn’t be – I think we all have access to consciousness or a state of peace and is vital to cultivate it.  

3. Do you work from life, photographs or from imagination?

This varies but is usually a combination of imagination and the natural world.  Light and the drama of light on the landscape is something that continues to interest me.  When working indoors I may work purely from imagination or I might set up a still life of florals to spark the process.  Other times I will paint at the ocean or in my grandparent’s backyard – any part of nature that I feel a personal resonance with or want to convey. 

4. What is your creative process like?  

I typically allow a painting to evolve while I am making it and don’t have any set boundaries beyond the canvas when I begin.  I often work outdoors in warmer months, look for places where I feel inspired and set up my easel there.  

Sometimes I will get an image of part of a painting.  I’ll sketch that out to remember it and come back to it.  I find that when I am spending time in nature (particularly by the ocean) and am emptying myself of the busy-ness of daily life by taking time to meditate, do qi gong, and sometimes journal, an idea for a painting may come.  

When I’m painting during a busy week and haven’t made the time for much contemplation I just allow myself to explore by choosing a color palette, mixing color and working from there. 

5. What are you working on right now? 

Currently I’m working on several pieces – one plein air piece I began at The National Seashore in Eastham, another large abstract floral-inspired piece, and I am starting a new piece inspired by the incredible gardens at Chanticleer. 

All photos by Jie Deng In The Eye Photography

(This photo from MaryFatimah’s website)

1. What do you like most about being an artist? 

I love creating. I love making something new, and discovering new things through my work. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I have completed a project and the wonder of discovering what the piece will be as I go. 

2. Which artists influenced you?

I am terrible with names and facts. There is so much art I like from the old masters to my 4 year olds paintings. Its hard for me to pin point specific artists. I will say my background in architecture is a big factor and I love the design work of Carlo Scarpa (an Italian architect from the 1900’s). 

3. What is your daily routine when working?

It depends when I am working on, and if I have a show or fair I am working towards. I work in very different mediums, so a day could be throwing on the wheel, painting swaths of trace paper or spinning yarn, possibly all three. I also have a lot of back-end work necessary to run my business, answering emails, applying to shows, running my website, inventory, meetings ect. 

4. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get a lot of my inspiration from nature, the colors forms and colors in nature are a constant wonder to me. I also am intrigued in our inner worlds, and how I can express that or connect with others through my work. 

5. What are you working on now? 

I am currently working on a series called internal landscapes, attempting to document feelings and movements of emotion. I am also preparing for summer and fall shows with my ceramic goods and am in production mode. 

All photos by Jie Deng In The Eye Photography

Meet Hilary, pastry chef.

How did your passion for baking start?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been in love with the magic of baking! As a young
child, I would look up wide-eyed as I watched my grandma create these beautiful pies for our
birthdays and holiday celebrations. She taught me how to make pie crust by hand, how to
carefully crimp the edges of the dough, and was always willing to try my new ideas! As I grew
older, I became more adventurous in my recipe choices and I started to get super excited about
the chemistry and science of baking. I love how you can start with the same basic ingredients
but your techniques, temperature, and baking method can yield wildly different results. This
enthusiasm and fascination led me to pursue an associate’s degree in pastry art in 2014! Once I
started working as a professional, I was able to truly hone my skills and focus on consistency
and speed in a large scale production environment. Working in a busy kitchen is an experience
that I wish everyone could have. It pushes you to develop production speed, fast reflexes,
discipline, quick communication, and problem solving skills in addition to appreciating the joy of
hard work and creating amazing food for others. These are life skills that I will always carry with
me! Over the past few years, my passion for baking has shifted and changed a bit. I still love it
intensely, but I know that it’s time to chase my next career dream. I left my pastry position at
Terrain at the end of May and I will be starting graduate school in a couple weeks for digital
marketing! I’m an avid food photographer as well and I hope to someday combine my visual
skills with my food knowledge into a successful career.

Where do you find your inspiration for each of your creations?

I am inspired by a few things: balanced flavors, varied textures, and aesthetic beauty. My
favorite desserts usually contain herbal or floral notes! I love using things straight from the
garden when I can, especially summer fruit. I am often attracted to more rustic styles; I love
French breakfast pastries and I don’t like anything overly sweet. I’m a pastry chef who doesn’t
have a big sweet tooth! I’ll take fruit pie over chocolate cake any day. My absolute favorite
pastry is a fresh “kouign amann.” Imagine croissant dough rolled in sugar (and salt!) before
being carefully folded and tucked into a metal ring for baking. The result is out of this world! It’s
both sweet and salty, super flaky, and the sugar on the bottom melts into a crunchy caramel
layer that dreams are made of. You can visit my friends at the Malvern Buttery to try one

Is there anyone who’s been a big influence on what you do?

I had the privilege of working closely with pastry chef Robert Toland for the past five years at
Terrain in Glen Mills and he’s had a huge influence on what I have accomplished. His menu
vision and ideas always kept me learning and pushing to expand my own repertoire. He
introduced me to countless desserts and methods; his drive to try new things opened my eyes
to flavors, ingredients, and recipes that I never would have reached for! We have both recently
moved on from our roles at Terrain but I count him among my closest friends and it’s a
connection that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to work on another project

What is your most well used cookbook?

To be honest, I have a habit of mostly using online resources for recipes. I do have a large
cookbook collection, but I don’t bake directly from it as often as I should! My most frequently
used resource is Deb Perelman’s blog smitten kitchen. The recipes are delicious, streamlined,
and heavily tested; every single thing I’ve made from her site has been amazing! She has a
wide variety of both savory and sweet recipes, ranging from weeknight dinners, to amazing
party appetizers, and wedding cake advice. She explains things in simple terms, tries to keep
dirty dishes to a minimum, and she’s hilarious. Check it out! I will add just a few of my cookbook
author favorites: Rose Levy Beranbaum for all things pastry, Erin Jeanne McDowell for pies, and
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Plenty More for delicious vegetarian food. I am also a huge fan of
the New York Times Cooking section — they have excellent savory recipes, fun desserts, and
great videos!

How long have you lived in Kennett square? And What do you like most about Kennett

I’ve lived here almost all my life! When I was two years old, my parents moved to a family farm
outside of Kennett. It has truly been an incredible place to grow up. This is where I got my start
as a professional baker! Dan and Dorothy Boxler of the Country Butcher hired me as their head
baker in 2013 and I spent a year learning the ins and outs of bakery production, ordering
ingredients, keeping track of inventory, taking custom cake orders, etc. It was a great place to
get my start! I adore the warmth and energy of this town. I love Kennett Square for its
welcoming support network and engaged community; over my lifetime, I have watched this
place evolve and grow into a vibrant town of extraordinary people and businesses with a strong
shared identity. After the past year and a half of fear and uncertainty, it’s particularly comforting
to see Kennett emerging as a thriving community once again.

TAGS: pastrychef

What initially attracted you to textiles as a medium?

I was always drawn to the weavers at artisan shows.  Not just the texture and colors but the mechanics fascinated me.  It is a tactile art and has such a rich history not just in this country but throughout the world.  It was an important part of the community in early societies.  I decided to take a class which led to several more before I felt confident enough to purchase my own loom.  Weaving is an organic art in that the loom is made from wood of trees grown from the earth, the fabrics are derived from wool from the animals and the end result provides fabric for rugs, clothing, household linens, etc. full circle.

What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?

I grew up surrounded by fabric, my mother sewed.  She made all of her clothes, my own and even that for my dolls (much of which I still have today).  Her sewing table was tucked into an alcove in her bedroom and she allowed me to play amongst the bias tapes, spools of thread, cutting table and loads and loads of material bursting from her dresser.  I told myself I would never have a room so cluttered with stuff when I grew up – well there it is – I grew up to have a room dedicated to weaving with a 300 pound floor loom and loads of fabric and tools for my craft all around.


Tell us a bit about your process

The process starts with deciding what I want to make and then choosing the fabric.  I use reclaimed upholstery fabrics that otherwise would end up in the landfill.  I also repurpose jeans.  The fabric will tell me then what color to use for the warp (the vertical threads that go on the loom and weft (the horizontal threads that are hand thrown with a shuttle).  You measure your warp threads, dress the loom and begin to weave.  When done, you take your project off the loom and finish it off with sewing or braiding of the fringe.  I follow the traditional style of rag weaving using upholstery fabric as the weft.  You never know exactly what it will look like until you are finished.  Many of my products are wearable or for the home like table runners, wine totes, purses, pillows, and belt bags.

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?

I am currently exploring the early colonial craft of coverlet weaving and hoping to explore more in the next year.  I love the history of the craft both from the woven item to the machinery it was produced on.  

Tell us about a piece of work you have fond memories of and why? 

I particularly like when the piece brings back memories for someone.  I had made a simple wine tote but the fabric reminded the person of their own grandmother.  She accidentally lost the bag but I still had fabric left and made another for her.  She was thrilled and I was able to give her back the memory.  

Meet Annie, the glass artist.

When did you first start making your glass art, and who or what inpsired you to begin?

I started making glass art a long time ago at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  Over the years after I graduated I made art on the side while working in restaurants and gardening, but recently decided to focus on glass to see if I could make a career out of it.

What mediums or techniques do you work with?

I’ve been working lately with stained glass, specifically the tiffany style, which is copper tape and solder.  I sometimes do mosaic work which involves cutting glass, glueing to a surface and grouting.  I really enjoy exploring different processes and techniques and I just purchased a kiln to do some glass fusing and slumping.

Please tell us a bit about your design process?

My design process has gone through many changes over the years and varies depending on what I am making.  With my stained glass sun catchers I try not to rush an idea, I do a bit of light sketching and look at things that inspire me (mostly plants) until I finally get a design I like.  I then darken the lines with a thin sharpie so I can trace the glass.  Next comes choosing glass.  This might be my favorite part because the colors of the glass itself have a lot to do with inspiring the design in the first place. After colors are chosen I trace the design onto the glass on my light table, cut glass, grind glass, copper tape the edges, solder, add hangers, add a patina if I want, and then polish and clean! 

What is the main inspiration for your designs?

I find that my inspiration often comes from deep in my psyche and is very nostalgic.  My childhood was full of exploring nature and having adventures with my sisters, so I would say that along with the natural world I experience today in beautiful Chester County is the basis of my inspiration, coupled with my love for plants and interior design.  

What has been your favorite piece that you’ve made?

I would say my favorite piece would be a circle suncatcher that I recently made.  Shades of blue, geometric shapes, asymmetry and circles are things that I love very much and they are all included in this piece.  I don’t think it’s any crazy feat of skill or talent but I feel very satisfied with it’s authenticity.   

Meet Victoria, owner of TEXTILE, vintage+contemporary designers.

Please tell us about your journey to become a stylist and how did you first get into vintage clothing?

I have been a stylist for about ten years now.  I have always loved clothing and putting outfits together.  I was lucky enough to have a grandmother and mother who saved a lot of their favorite pieces from years past.  I love wearing vintage pieces!  I wanted to create a place where your favorite female designers and vintage collections could come mingle together.  And that is how TEXTILE was born. 

Where does your boutique name: Textile come from? How would you describe your boutique?

While trying to brainstorm a name for my first boutique, I was all over the place.  It’s a daunting task to name something you’ve dreamt about for a lifetime!  Fabrics and the tactile connection you have to an article of clothing is one of my favorite things.  A lot of people choose an item of clothing to wear because it feels good.  TEXTILE is an ode to fabrics and the creative process of fashion design. 

What was the first piece you fell in love with?

My mothers wedding dress is the very first piece I fell in love with.  It is this simple cream long sleeve column dress from 1975. The most beautiful figure hugging gown.  I fell in love with this as a child and that sparked the vintage lover forever!  I still have her dress today (preserved,) it’s the most important piece in my closet!  

What’s in your own closet?

I have quite the eclectic mix in my own closet.  I wear vintage clothing almost everyday.  I love pairing new contemporary pieces with vintage.  That is what you will find at TEXTILE.  A curated collection of vintage and also contemporary clothing!  I love denim.  Pairing denim with a cool vintage floral jacket or vintage lingerie is my go to.

Who are your style muses? 

My style muse has always evolved and changed from year to year.  But the women who have always had the most enviable style to me are Gwen Stefani and Kate Moss.  Eclectic, sexy, and unique.  

“I practice my soul and the compilation of my experiences on whatever paper or form will hold it.

To forever pursue an outward mark from an inward inkling is an accomplishment in and of itself.

It takes strength and magic and an unscratchable itch.

In the end, art is a solitary, personal and probably selfish experience, that exists intimately between the artist and the tools of the art.”—Diane Cirafesi

What do you like most about being an artist?

It seems there was never a choice in being an artist: it’s something you can’t NOT do. The gift Art brings is being able to process everything seen into some sort of image that stores itself in my psyche, and informs future work, whether consciously or subconsciously. And I kind of like that part of it: it’s a vision-driven life.

Which artist or painter influenced you?

I am influenced by most every artist that I have viewed, but tend toward those who evoke some sort of iconography, spiritual, abstract realism… I really like deKooning, Larry Rivers, Jim Dine, Picasso….anyone whose work reflects thought and purpose of mark.

What kind of creative patterns,routines or rituals do you have?

My circadian clock usually has me creating from late afternoon to late in the night.

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

Deciding when to stop. Which can be never.

What are you working on now?
The same work I have been working on since I picked up a pencil as a child…it’s always and ever just one giant piece of work, strung together by different media.

Meet Catherine, she is a Pianist, improviser, Steinway Artist.

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and pursue a career in music?

When I was 8, my parents bought me an 80 year old piano at a yard sale with a cracked soundboard.  My dad who was good with woodworking repaired the soundboard and built me a piano bench.  I played non-stop after that! I was a music minor in college when I discovered that I could improvise, and the music started coming in torrents after that.  Even though I was performing classical and my original music in many solo concerts a year, it wasn’t until five years after graduation that I decided to leave my corporate job and pursue music full time.  By that point I had released two albums and was performing throughout the region!

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Pianist George Winston, Cellist David Darling and his organization Music for People, and Pianist Dr. Robert Bedford.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

River Flow, Maiden’s Voyage and I Dream About This World: The Wyeth Album.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Learning to be self-aware enough to know when I need to practice and continually improve!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

Purely by emotion, and a reflection of my state of being! I have found that some years I’m more melancholy and want simplicity and depth, others I’ve craved structure and light-heartedness, and others I seek a deep-dive into intellectual and technical challenge.