Posts Tagged ‘Chapel Hill’

Paperhand puts ‘Invisible Earth’ on the map

August 14, 2013
Darwin narrates evolution

Darwin narrates evolution

The current production of the amazing Paperhand Puppet Intervention is one of our favorites among the nine and counting we’ve seen. “Invisible Earth” features a Charles Darwin character fast-forwarding through evolution with a message of peace, love, and stewardship — the usual lofty Paperhand themes. As always, Paperhand’s visuals amaze both children and adults. This year’s include dancing amoebas, barnyard animals, funky monkeys, a huge elegiac mask with outstretched arms, and a humanoid assembled with Japanese lanterns. Several times throughout the 90-minute show, cast members glided the stage waving huge strips of fluttering fabric hanging from bamboo poles, sometimes sending the caressing cloth out over the audience. Truly poetry in motion. Another highlight this year: gorgeous, searing music composed by Ari Picker (Lost in the Trees) and, as always, performed live by the Paperhand Band. Below are a few of our favorite images. But please, go see for yourself! Paperhand will be at its annual summer home, the historic outdoor Forest Theatre on the UNC Chapel Hill campus, through Sept. 8, and then at the NC Museum of Art amphitheater Sept. 13-15.

Stiltwalkers portray jelly fish

This year’s creations include jellyfish on stilts

Pigs walk through the audience to join the animal orchestra

Pigs walk through the audience to join the animal orchestra

The animal orchestra in action

The animal orchestra in action

Scene of the Visions of Earth

Giant masks are a Paperhand signature

The Great Unfolding

Outstretched arms signal a lantern surprise (top secret!)

North Carolina food and wine fest keeps growing

August 15, 2012

Wow, in only its third year, TerraVITA has become a leading Southern food and wine event, with a focus on farm-sourcing, artisanal producers. This year’s event has expanded over several days, with activities running Nov. 1 to Nov. 3 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Sounds like a great weekend getaway to me!

Much of the credit goes to founder and organizer Colleen Minton. I’ve seen a lot of “food festivals” come and go, but this one keeps getting bigger and better. And … Colleen gives back, as well. TerraVITA has donated more than $10,000 to local nonprofits over the past two years, and this year is adding a fund-raiser for the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. The market, just over the Chapel Hill border, should also be on your list of must-sees!

Below are some details on this year’s celebration, and tickets are on sale NOW! Ordering info. is here.

Jay Pierce of restaurant Lucky 32 at the TerraVITA event in 2010

WHAT: TerraVITA is a 3-day festival featuring the best in sustainable food and beverage in the South and celebrating chefs, farmers, and artisan beverage producers who offer the necessary foundation to create a sustainable network. The event features educational workshops and demonstrations, guest speakers, as well as food and beverage tastings and meals. The festival will begin with the Harvest Potluck Fundraiser for the Carrboro Farmers’ Market and end with the pinnacle event, the Grand Tasting on The Green.

FEATURING: More than two dozen chefs and artisan food producers from across the state of North Carolina participating in tastings, demos, dinners and workshops for the general public. Also, artisan wine producers, micro brewers, coffee roasters and boutique distillers will participate in workshops and over more than 100 tastings.


★ Harvest Potluck Fundraiser: Thursday, Nov. 1,  from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Carrboro Farmers’ Market

★ The Sustainable Classroom (Speakers, Workshops & Demonstrations): Friday, Nov. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at multiple locations in Chapel Hill (hotel shuttles provided)

★ The Carolina Table: East Meets West (Dinner): Friday, Nov. 2 from 7 to 10 p.m. (Location TBD)

★ The Grand Tasting on The Green: Saturday, Nov. 3, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on The Green at Southern Village in Chapel Hill

Paperhand Puppet wows again

August 14, 2011

The Sun Goddess is one of our favorites.

Last night’s showing of “The Serpent’s Egg” was our seventh time seeing Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and it was my favorite show since our first, in 2006. (So sad that we lived here in Durham, NC, for two years before we discovered one of the country’s most amazing big-puppet performances!). Paperhand is a summer highlight, and we love the stage at Forest Theatre on the UNC campus. This year the visuals (more photos below!) were mind-blowingly stupendous in every act, and I appreciated that the “teaching and preaching” — all good stuff — came at the end instead of throughout. The music was particular stellar this year, as was the female vocalist, Claudia Lopez. Here are a few scenes:

Poignant and hilarious was "We Are All Just Babies," no matter our age.

Paperhand always turns a little dark, as in this macabre death dance.

These creatures are athletic and technically challenging. The "riders" are on stilts and their horses/birds (?) buck and stomp. Amazing.

Eleven puppeteers operated the serpent, which has a ferocious roar.

Paperhand cofounder Donovan Zimmerman steers the serpent toward the outreached hands of mesmerized children. Magical and moving.

She makes magical menorahs (and more)

October 19, 2009
A trademark handcrafted sculptural menorah by Sue Treuman

Trademark handcrafted ceramic menorah by North Carolina artist Sue Treuman

I recently wrote the piece below, about the fabulous ceramic sculptor Sue Treuman, for my regular artisan column in the News & Observer. Her work is sold nationwide and  menorah prices range from around $95 to $250. Google her name and you’ll find stores that sell it. It’s amazing!  Here’s the article:

The aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks prompted ceramic sculptor and musician Sue Treuman and her husband, Bill, to look for a more low-key place to live. She grew up in New York, and had spent most of her adult life not far away, but moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 2007.

Despite the emotional and economic trauma of 9/11, Treuman said it was a dream a few months earlier that affected her most.

“It was the end of the world, and everyone was running around trying to get what they could get, just running around like crazy,” she recalled. “I walked through the crowd and decided I didn’t want to do that. I walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and there are poets and singers singing their songs. I see everyone expressing themselves. It’s all about creating one’s life and doing what one needs to do. It changed my life.”

Single woman menorah

Some of her menorahs focus on one figure

While she had been making art for decades, Treuman, 62, became more focused and more appreciative of her creative community. When she and Bill decided to move, that was key.

“Family, community, connections, generations; that’s what’s important to me,” she said. They spent two years in Northampton, Mass., but Bill wanted to move south.

Then she saw Weaver Street Market, the cooperative grocery store and gathering spot in Carrboro, near the boundary of Chapel Hill. “I said, ‘OK, I can live here.’ It speaks of community, and that’s what my work is about.”


Sue's work often depicts family, community, and connections

Indeed, community and family are themes that run through Treuman’s work, especially in the pieces for which she is national recognized: menorahs, the candelabrums used during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each is a masterpiece of ceramic sculpture, depicting one to nine figures in clay often in motion, perhaps dancing, playing music or praying.

She got the idea about 30 years ago, and over the years, they have become more sculptural, textured and detailed, she said.

“I celebrate the culture of being Jewish, and Hanukkah is one of my favorite Jewish holidays, because you sing,” said Treuman, who composes music, plays the guitar and sings.

“It’s the story of the miracle of light, that the oil that was supposed to burn for one day burned for eight days.”

A handcrafted sculptural menorah

Menorahs are used during Hanukkah, which this year starts Dec. 12

In her 20s, while working out of a co-op art studio in the Bronx, Treuman’s pottery was for the most part functional. But as her work evolved, she moved more into sculptural pieces, especially the human form, and the menorahs were the perfect stage.

“These are functional, sculptural, and spiritual, synthesized in a ritual form,” she said. “There’s something about making an object of ritual use that people will touch and use. For me personally, I need my stuff to be touched.”


Sue shapes the stoneware clay with her hands and a potters' wheel

Treuman works on them year-round, in parts, storing limbs in different boxes. “My husband calls them the body snatchers,” she said with a laugh. She shapes the stoneware clay with her hands and a potters’ wheel, and each menorah has textures pressed into it, not carved.

“I do series, and though some might look the same, they’re all different. They’re fired twice, glazed, and then I enhance them. The faces have to be worked on to bring out detail, and I’ll use different lusters and acrylic colors.”

She sells the menorahs in galleries around the country, and they will be among the work on display at her home studio during Orange County Open Studios in the first two weekends of November.

Godess pot

A day with friends inspired 'Goddess pots,' Sue's most recent creation

More recently, the sculptural series Treuman has been concentrating on is her “goddess pots,” vessels decorated with a fantastical woman’s face or torso.

“They were conceived after spending a day egg-painting with a group of women,” she said. “For some reason, being with a group of women always gets my creative juices flowing. I woke up in the middle of the night and said, ‘My next project will be goddess pots,’ and I drew everything out.

Goddess pot

Goddess pots celebrate womanhood

“I wanted it to be women vessels, women holding space, and it turned into open vessels that became women, and then a venue for making different faces, hair, textures. Some are very, very big. I do make some smaller ones, but I usually sell them to private collectors.”

Since moving to the area, Treuman has gathered together a new group of women.

“I literally found one woman weaving in her front garden. I’ve never been so bold,” she said. “We dance and sing and eat and laugh. We have fun. The group is dedicated to the spirit of being a woman and what wonderful things women can do and be.”