For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Unraveling the Past . . . One Woman’s Search through Time

POWER IN THE BLOOD: A Family Narrative, by LINDA TATE (Ohio University Press 2009). This fascinating new book traces Linda Tate’s journey to rediscover the Cherokee-Appalachian branch of her family and provides an unflinching examination of the poverty, discrimination, and family violence that marked their lives. Although it is a memoir, author Linda Tate had to “imagine” some of the details of her search for her family’s story. She did it beautifully. With all the facts and memories woven in, her research over many years in Appalachia made the imagined parts more informed than not. She also used pseudonyms for some family members who may not have wanted their stories shared. But, in essence, this is Linda’s story, her life, and her family through the ages. The writing is lively and compelling and at times she is painfully honest about childhood events. But it is the spare beauty of that honesty that makes this book extraordinary.

Linda Tate is a faculty member in the University of Denver’s Writing Program. She is the author of award-winning A Southern Weave of Women: Fiction of the Contemporary South (U of Georgia Press 1994), and the editor of Conversations with Lee Smith (U Press of Mississippi 2001). She taught at Shepherd University in West Virginia for fifteen years, where she was named West Virginia 2003 Professor of the Year for her deep commitment to teaching. Linda now lives in Boulder, Colorado. She is currently at work on a new book, Reading and Writing the Self to Wellness, written in collaboration with social work professor Jennifer Soule.

-- Rosemary Carstens

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fabrics create heirlooms . . . the fine art of Susan Cranshaw

Texas ceramist and quilt designer SUSAN CRANSHAW started quilting in 2002 after an extended illness interrupted a 25 year career as a renowned ceramist in both the United States and Mexico. Applying her unerring sense of color and design to a new medium gave Susan a chance to create stunning, award-winning fabric mosaics that draw crowds wherever they are shown.

In her home studio, Susan surrounds herself with colorful textiles, baskets of thread, and line drawings for quilts still floating around in her imagination. She usually has several quilts in progress at once and works on each as inspiration strikes. Her signature stitching style uses tiny, intricate patterns sewn with contrasting threads over a variety of mix-and-match fabrics. She loves bold, high-impact color combinations and continuous lines of free-motion machine quilting.

Cranshaw also publishes quilt patterns and teaches others how to execute the techniques that distinguish her work at various arts organizations and shows. Among her award-winning designs is “Prickly Pear Cactus Blossoms” (above left) and “Road Runner and Horned Toads” (to the right). She is a spokesperson for
Aurifil Thread Company, under the auspices of the Bigfork Bay Cotton Company, Ltd, as part of their Designer Endorsement Program. Aurifil displays her quilts at trade shows and promotes her “Desert Series” patterns. About her work, Susan says:

The reason I choose to work with textiles, as opposed to painting, is that there are so many different patterns and colors of fabrics to explore . . . If I were a painter, I would want to paint all of those wonderful spots, dots, and squiggles, into my pictures. The whole quilt is a kind of jigsaw puzzle. The fun of quilting is solving the puzzle—visualizing how each simple piece relates to one another in order to produce stimulating textile art.

For more about Susan Cranshaw and her quilts, classes, and patterns: http://www.susancranshaw.com/
-- Rosemary Carstens