The East Fork Journal

The East Fork Journal is a collection of musings, interviews, recipes and special features on products, collaborations and other beautiful objects we stumble across on our journey.  To get all of this delivered to your inbox a few times a month simply enter you email.  We hope you enjoy and if you like what you see, please tell us!  

 

TOMATO MARMALADE + A DINNER AT THE POTTERY

As summer is taking its last breath, and all of the late season tomatoes are still barely hanging on the vine, tomatoes are making an appearance in nearly everything that graces my stovetop. On September 7th we're hosting the lovely and skilled baker, Sarah Owens at our pottery for a last hurrah dinner to celebrate the end of summer and a move to our new production space(!). We recently got a stack of her latest cookbook, Toast + Jam delivered, and I couldn't even wait a full 24 hours to make something from the book - everything just looked so delicious . 

I have a mystery variety of teeny-tiny volunteer tomatoes that have practically swallowed my yard whole this summer. They are sweet, acidic, and prolific - so I decided to substitute them into her recipe. Sarah calls for Roma or Brandywine varieties, which would probably make for a more smooth, jammy texture, but these worked perfectly for a quick refrigerator jam. 

This sweet, fragrant, and heavily spiced condiment would be lovely on top grilled chicken or lamb. Pair with a light-bodied, tart and juicy fruited, ever-so-slightly chilled red, like the Cerasuolo di Vittoria - a zippy blend of Nero d'Avolo and Frappato. 

TOMATO MARMALADE

adapted from Sarah Owens' Toast + Jam

  • 3 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup citrus peels (from a variety of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons)
  • 1/4 cup peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Transfer the tomato mixture to a large pan and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour, uncovered. Stir frequently in the last half hour of cooking so the thickened marmalade won't stick to the bottom of the pan. When the marmalade is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in a spoon, test it for set, using a chilled plate. When the marmalade passes the set test, skim off and discard any foam that may appear on the surface and remove the cinnamon sticks. 

EAST FORK DRINKS: ORANGE THYME COCKTAIL

I'm all for a glass of perfectly chilled rosé or a goes-down-too-easy collins on a balmy summer night, but sometimes you just want to sip on something boozy. You want a drink that you can take your time with. A drink you can sit with - get to know. Since my herb garden is currently spilling over with thyme, I decided to make a thyme syrup to give this old fashioned riff a brighter, herbaceous profile, but any fresh herb would work well here. 

ORANGE THYME COCKTAIL

2 oz of your favorite rye or bourbon

.25 oz thyme syrup*

3 dashes Regan's orange bitters

1 thick peel of an orange

Add your whiskey, thyme syrup, and bitters to a rocks glass. Add a few ice cubes (the bigger the better - you could even use one large ice cube if you're feeling extra fancy) and give it a stir. Be patient with this step - you want the outside of your glass to feel cold to the touch and the ice to have done its dilution duty. Take your orange peel and squeeze the oils from the skin side over the top of your drink and drop the peel in your cocktail. It should smell intensely of orange when you go to take a sip.  

*Thyme Simple Syrup (makes about 1 1/4 cups of syrup)

  • a sizable handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup raw demerara sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Let the thyme steep until the syrup is cool. Strain out the thyme sprigs and store in the fridge. Syrup will keep for two weeks.

GIRL FROM DACULA

The sticky June day in 2014 when Amanda visited East Fork Pottery for the first time, we were all prepared to give her a schooling on our ceramic lineage.  She didn't need it; she'd done her research, and had a few things to teach us, too.  An eager learner from the start, Amanda approached her apprenticeship with fierce concentration, taking a holistic approach to the study of clay and quickly developing the hand skills needed for throwing production pottery. Today she serves as East Fork's Production Manager, orchestrating the flow of materials as they arrive at the workshop until they're delivered, as finished work, to your porch. 

She's currently at work on a series of ceramic sculptures that can be viewed at East Fork Asheville starting Friday, August 18th. 

Amanda Hollomon-Cook began an apprenticeship at East Fork Pottery in Summer 2014.  She's now the workshop's Production Manager.  Photo by Mike Belleme

Amanda Hollomon-Cook began an apprenticeship at East Fork Pottery in Summer 2014.  She's now the workshop's Production Manager.  Photo by Mike Belleme

Connie: Tell us a little bit about the place you're from - what's the vibe? What were the people like in your town? What did you take away from growing up there?

Amanda: I’m from Dacula, Georgia. it is a sprawl of Atlanta and is deeply suburban with a few rural pockets. I rarely go back to the area as it is more and more unfamiliar in so many ways. As it is for many people, I imagine, I took away that I didn't want to live the lifestyle that was conducive to the area. Although, I now see many aspects that I took for granted.

C: What was your first encounter with clay? Did you feel an immediate affinity or was it a slow build?

A: My first encounter with clay in any real sense was at a community studio in Athens, GA called Good Dirt. I was lucky enough to have a couple of really passionate and interesting teachers that pointed me in the right direction. I was certainly hooked off the bat but did not have a good sense of how I would pursue it.   
 

Amanda runs quality control on side plates just out of the kiln.  Photo by Mike Belleme

Amanda runs quality control on side plates just out of the kiln.  Photo by Mike Belleme

C: How has your work at East Fork informed or influenced your work outside it?

A: Work ethic is the big one. I'm pretty self-motivated but working at East Fork has really instilled that quality in me, which I appreciate. Also, not to be too precious. I'm quick to re-work a piece that I am not finding pleasing. In some ways, this has been a challenge as I have the tendency to put tight "production" standards on myself. Since I work in my studio before and after work, I can have a hard time switching gears. I want my personal work to have a looseness and immediacy to them and sometimes the habit of production throwing removes that trait. However, I find that grey area between those two modes of thinking can produce something really interesting. So I am trying to embrace the gap between that "gear switch" rather than bridge it, if that makes any sense.

C:  What else, besides clay and fellow potters, do you look toward for inspiration? What other materials speak to you? What other non-clay artists are you into right now?

A: Right now, I mainly look at architecture. Brutalism and functionalism particularly. Their heavy, unfussed aesthetic just grabs me. It just shows how pleasing the juxtaposition of simple shapes can be to the eye. I do look at other ceramic sculptors but I look at a lot of concrete or metal sculpture. I am drawn to artists that work in more than one medium and do not limit themselves to a single process. I hope to grow in that way. Gosh, it's hard to name specific people as I look at such a wide spectrum.  Some are current, some not.  Isamu Noguchi, Eduardo Chillida, Jonathan Waters, Claudi Cassanovas, Jennie Jieun Lee, David Hicks, Del Harrow, Agnes Martin, Jacqueline Lerat, Julia Haft-Candell all come to mind.

C:  What's it like working with your husband?


A: We sure do talk about East Fork a lot! I'm sure you and Alex could give us a run for our money on that one though! Working with Thomas is the best. Our jobs are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum which is a good balance. I'm just so happy that we found jobs where we both feel fulfilled and like we contribute to something larger. Not enough people can say that.

C: What feelings were elicited for you when making this work? What feelings are elicited for you when you look at it?

A wood-fired, hand-built form by Amanda Hollomon-Cook

A wood-fired, hand-built form by Amanda Hollomon-Cook

A: As I mentioned, I really enjoy work that is made with materials that are generally seen as more rigid. I like to look at highly refined shapes and structures then suggest those forms using unrefined methods. I like pieces to show process-coil marks, pinching, smudging, all of that is neat to me.

Click here to read an interview with Amanda from July, 2014, shortly after she began working at East Fork.  

SO LONG, SOAP

As East Fork has evolved to sell objects and products that we don't ourselves make, we've put a lot of brain power into defining what is "East Fork" and what isn't.  A question I find myself asking a lot is: "Is this object trying to do too much?".  Whether we're talking about a mug, a cast iron pan or a beauty product,  we value objects that make a big impact without screaming for attention, that function as they should, and that look good doing it. 

All that to say: there's an oil cleansing band wagon and we've jumped on it head first.  Oil cleansing works on the basic premise that using soap destroys the protective layer of sebum naturally secreted by your skin and sets off a vicious cycle of your body trying to over-compensate.  The more soap you use, the more oil your skin makes. Makes sense to me. 

We've found 3 oils that work great, smell great, and look great - all with their own personality.  Keep scrolling to learn more and find them in our web shop, here.

S p a r r o w   f o r   E v e r y o n e:

This is a magic little elixir, made in small batches with wild-foraged and shaman approved, organic ingredients.  The texture and fragrance are divine: a blend of highly-nutritive plant oils, including hazel seed, borage seed and black cumin seed oils and essential oils like ylang ylang, jasmine absolute, lemon and rosewood. 

Use it in place of toner, cleanser, lotion, and night cream, or as an aftershave or scalp treatment. Really. Scroll through the photos below for a step-by-step guide to facial oil cleansing.

C o n n i e  S a y s:

I got married last September and, as penance for spending the previous 17 months washing my face exclusively with Vita's diaper wipes, I bought a heavy arsenal of natural skin care products and devoted 30 minutes of my precious post-bedtime ritual childfree time to cleaning  myself.  My skin looked marginally better, I guess, but I'd file that time spent under NOT WORTH IT.

When this stuff appeared in the shop I was sold exclusively on the scent -  It smells as I imagine Cleopatra might have - in full recline, with an asp across her collar bone, awaiting her posthumous reunion with her beloved Marcus Antonius.  In other words, hopelessly romantic, earthy, floral, and a little spicy.  It's feminine in one sniff, masculine in the next . Gender bending, not gender neutral - Alex almost emptied the bottle on his entire body in the first week.  I've used this in place of soap since April, and this is easily the longest I've gone without a zit since the 6th grade.  

This oil is a bit of a splurge, yes, but not if you consider that you can skip the toner, cleanser, moisturizer, under eye serums, yada yada yada...and it doesn't hold a candle to the price of a tub of La Mer. 

 


E V E R Y D A Y  O I L:
 

Asheville native, Emma Allen, started mixing oils in her Brooklyn apartment in search for an all-over body oil that wasn't a million dollars, didn't contain any nasty chemicals or fragrances and worked.  Her blend, which includes just a bit of power-cleaning castor oil,  contains 100% organic, cold-pressed, plant oils and steam-distilled essential oils to use on body, face, and hair.  It's hydrating, cleansing, insect-repelling - and in a big, fat bottle that you won't blow through in two weeks. 

Everyday Oil is sold in trendy boutiques across the country, but made right here in our little mountain town! 

Ingredients:

Coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, castor oil, Palo Santo, lavender, geranium, and clary sage.

E RI N  S A Y S:

I'm not gonna lie - I was pretty skeptical about the idea of slathering oil on my already oil-prone skin, trendy as it may be - but this stuff has made me a believer. It's great for oil cleansing, removing goopy eye makeup, body moisturizing - you can even sub it out for your icky chemical-based deodorant. Literally everything. It smells equal parts beachy and backyard garden-y and absorbs into your skin super fast. I'm also a sucker for the cool girl, minimal packaging. Carry this everywhere - every day


C L A R Y  C O L L E C T I O N  B a t h  a n d  B o d y   O i l:

A product for the purist, made in Nashville, TN.  With a 100% olive oil base, Clary oil is infused with plantain and calendula, chamomile, and lavender flowers, making a super gentle, antioxidant rich, all-purpose rub safe for everyone's skin.  The makers recommend using it on damp skin, all over the body, or adding a few drops into your bathwater.  

We love using this oil after dry-brushing

Fun fact: I brought this bottle with me to the birthing center earlier this month and used it to clean the meconium off Lucia. Worked like a charm, ya'll. 

a n n e  s a y s:

After emerging from the depths of a minor addiction to beauty guru Youtube videos at the end of college that kept me hooked on always trying the next new thing (those people are scary good at their jobs), I became wholly untrusting of the beauty industry and essentially swore off using any product on my skin that I couldn't also eat.  After a few too many drippy post-shower trips to grab the jar of coconut oil from the kitchen counter and far too many constellations of confused breakouts, I've sought out a self-beautification middle ground - straightforward yet thoughtful natural products made by smaller, like-minded brands I can trust.

Despite years of devotion to bath-taking and sun-basking, I only recently realized I haven't been moisturizing my body; after trying out this Clary Collection oil at the shoot for the photos above, I'm sold.  This oil feels luxurious, but it soaks right in and truly nourishes my skin without any of that greasy, okay-but-is-this-mostly-just-sitting-on-top-of-my-skin business.  It also left my legs with a nice, subtle sheen that inspired an afternoon trip to the pool.  I can't wait to add a few drops to a hot bath and slather this stuff on in the cooler months - it seems perfect for staying soft and supple when the weather is out to get you.