Thursday, 16 August 2007

Jam making and creativity

... yesterday's post on how to find subjects to write about is still rippling through my mind. At lunchtime yesterday I had bought a pound of raspberries and greengages. Raspberries in particular have become the fruit of summer for me since I moved to Scotland: so many of them are around and for such a long time that I do on occasions stop minding too much rain.

A fews years ago, when I was finishing my PhD in geography and got exhausted from the sheer endless writing up of all those pages and the constant skintness, I started making jam. My grandparents had an allotment and there would be so much jam made and fruits bottled, similarly, many of my friends would try out new recipes for all the strawberries, currants, plums and so on in Germany. Making jam - if not having a garden - was a way of being closer to them, but also something practical that I really longed for. Subsequently, my shelves - and those of my friends here - got filled with all sorts of jam creations (mind you, that grape and red wine jelly was rather disappointing).

I haven't made much jam in the past few years - I actually rarely eat jam in the morning and there's only that much you can give away. But the practicality of something other than thinking/writing academically was absolute joy - in the process I tried a variety of other things, such as knitting and crochet. While they open up a number of possibilities, their creative potential seemed however rather limited - in the end, the jams I kept liking most and making again were redcurrant, plum and raspberries - so, nothing fancy at all.

Do you see where this is going? When I started drawing, the technicality of the tutor's instructions was easy enough to follow but it took a good few more rounds of being lost and starting to do things differently and 'just try this and see what happens when I do this' for me to get a sense of the endless possibilities and openings of painting and art in general.

This looks like a post that I will be coming back to. But in the meantime, here is a link to a blog which has a whole series of interesting thoughts and commentaries on creativity Libzoid is by Libby Mills, an American artist who works with polymer clay. I enjoy visiting her blog to get pointers on work process, inspiration alongside a commentary on a medium I know very little about.

In the meantime: This is what I had for breakfast

Greengage (Mirabellen) and raspberry jam

500 g raspberries
500 g greengages, finely chopped
500 g 2:1 jam sugar

Mix all in a large pot, mash the fruit up thoroughly and let sit for a couple of hours
Bring slowly to the boil while stirring

Let cook for at least 3 minutes
Fill in sterilised jars immediately and seal.


Libby said...

Thanks for the link! Your raspberry jam looks wonderful. I am eagerly awaiting the fall raspberry season. It should be any day now.

Gesa said...

Thanks for stopping by, Libby! Just finished the first of those jars, and am really glad I made the jam

Anonymous said...

Süße, Deine wunderbare Marmelade ist mittlerweile bei mir eingetroffen und hat meinen Frühstückstisch in der Sonne bereichert! 1000 Dank und viele Küße, Irene