Monday, 8 June 2020

Hullabaloo Art and Science Festival 2020

Good news!
Lucy and her woodland chef's crew
has been selected
to take part in this year AT HOME edition
a colourful event that happens every year on the Isle of Wight
and this year will celebrate 
the Island as the Unesco Biosphere Reserve

Many creative workshops will be free for everyone to attend online,
and we will explore the Island more stunning landscapes
to discover with my animal friends,
 some summer edible wild food,
 and the colourful magic gifts of plants!
I will host a live demo on making colour as well,
on Saturday 20th June at 1 pm (Uk time).

Find all the makers here

Join us for a celebration of nature and its gifts!

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Elderflower risotto

I have been diving deep into nature lately,
as in Britain we are having a wonderful weather..
Thanks to a course on natural ink making with Flora Arbuthnott
I have been inspired to start wild foraging, 
and to discover even more the magic of plants!

In this post I want to share with you a recipe that
I literally invented out of inspiration..
yes, because cooking is an art,
and it lives on inspiration too!


Ingredients for 2 serves:
4/7 elder flower heads, picked in a dry day
1 leek
200 gr risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, or similar)
500 ml Veg stock
half cup of cream
A pinch of grated Parmesan cheese to finish
Organic lemon zest (just a bit)

First, wash the elder flower, cut away the thicker stalks,
and dry it on a natural fabric cloth.
Wash and slice the leek, cook it gently until soft,
add the rice and toast it a bit,
then start adding the veg stock ( not all at once).
While stirring, check that the rice doesn't stick to the pan.
Add a bit of cream (I use soya cream)
At about 10 minutes in,
add the elder flower,
continue adding the stock every now and then.
Taste the rice and when is nearly "al dente",
add the lemon zest (less than half a lemon is enough for
this quantity of rice, as it is very strong flavour ).
When ready, if you wish,
sprinkle the cheese on top
and decorate with one fresh elderflower head and few lemon zest swirls.


Saturday, 2 May 2020

Lucy's Magical Woodland

Lucy's Magical Woodland
is my new project
where I  share with children and young at heart,
my love for cookery, art and storytelling!

This is my woodland chefs crew,
they are experts in natural and tasty food!

The videos are free , published on
a dedicated Youtube channel
and all updates are also posted in the Facebook Page 

In the first episode we made a nettle risotto , and
homemade hedgehogs.
It makes me so happy to teach kids what I know
about food and its beauty, qualities and arty uses !

I hope you will enjoy,
 and experiment along with me!

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Stay at home ...cake!

At the time of writing this post,
all the world is stuck at home.
Plenty of positive sides of this, 
including more time for creativity!

I have been experimenting with more food illustration, and new recipes, 
in particular I fell in love with this vegan cake
that can be made not vegan too
( just swap agave for sugar, coconut oil for butter, et voila' !)
You can find the all recipe here

Also, I have been creating pencil cases, 
with hand painted illustrations,
and they are very popular on my Etsy shop

Last news, but the biggest probably!
I am creating some free video tutorial for kids,
about food, stories and art,
soon I will share the details, but for now
I leave you with the introduction of these series, which will happen...
in Lucy's magical woodland!

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Seasonal picking

While the world is upside down,
the only way to calm my mind is stay in nature,
and at this time of the year,
I wanted to share my best findings with you...
With the corona virus pandemic, people are invited to self isolate
and animals really seem to like it!

We could lay down 4 metres from this sleeping fox!
I saw owls, and other woodland creatures around more than ever.
I imagined that the world could have been just like this
hundred years ago, and people knew animals, and
animals knew humains, much better!
That's how all our fairytales come about...we knew
the personality of our woodland friends, because we lived close
together, without a sea of noise..

One of the things I always liked, from
when I was small,
is to find little trails in the woods, and follow them, 
imagining to be that animal.. and finding myself in the most 
peaceful places, away from humains.
I often sit there, still, and feel at home.

In one of these ramblings, I saw new nettle was coming out.
Did you know that nettle is a forgotten treasure?
It is good for our mood, our sleep, blood iron level and the stinging hairs
contain serotonin!

I picked the new leaves tips, and cooked them,
you can use them just like spinach, and together with them
in soup, risotto, and as a filling of pies and tortelli.

Nature is a Mum, no doubt,
she gives us all we need to be healthy and happy!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Why do I draw food?

Food illustration is a "thing" I came to love just recently.
But there is a longer story.

As a young adult, I spent nearly 10 years battling with food disorders and, why not, depression. 
At 15 I was in my town hospital, 32 kg and a iron will to not to let me talk out of my decisions.
Well, one simple decision:
 food is bad and I am not dealing with it. It makes me feel heavy, 
look fat and not be wanted.
A long way I have come from that, and thanks God I am totally recovered.

Yet, a few years ago, while deep into my art practice, I noticed some curious
  traits of my personality: if I was deep into my work, and I felt thirsty or hangry,
 I wouldn't let me follow this needs, and carried on in my job. 
Eventually, I realized that this was another sign of lack of care, 
and I began a long journey of self love.

And here, food played again a big role:
 Cooking for myself even the simplest meal had the impact of a big act of care.
Plus, if I felt some how uninspired that day,
 cooking was a real creative 
(and almost always rewarding ) go-to activity.

You see, I am Italian of origin, and food culture runs in our veins... 
Our parents (and specially older generations) are people who think of a meal 
not as a pre-prepared food, but as a time spent in a place ( usually the kitchen) 
with a certain atmosphere and certain people around, 
taking raw ingredients and let them mix and emanates the most delicious flavours, 
which memory will never forget.
I always thought this was normal, but living abroad,
 and considering the lack of time that many of us increasingly experience, 
I came to treasure this aspect : more than a mere need, food is an experience.

Now, as I am interested in illustration related to kids, and I started asking myself :
how is the food experience for them?
Soon I came to the conclusion that too often it wasn't the best, 
not even healthy, and that most of the kids I could approach, 
hadn't been even enough lucky to see an adult properly creating a meal.
No memories of how an onion becomes a delicious flavour, 
or how is better to prepare the filling of tortelli the day before, so the dish will have a greater flavour.

All this said, it has been very clear to me that I had all the elements
of setting off for the journey
to make food become again the great adventure it really is.

I try to draw stories, and the fun, quirky combinations that I love
  around food, and I think this theme
can lead to so many different connections...
to self care, tradition, innovation and mostly, 
appreciation for what the Mother Earth gives us:
life together with the chance to be creative in a healthy and respectful way!

Interesting books about food: 
Foraging and Feasting, an inspiring book about how to find and use wildfood
Baking day at Granma's, a lovely picture book

Blogs ( I am sorry , but I love Italian ones !):
Giallo zafferano, the best of Italian cooking
Mi piace mi fa bene, healthy and tasty food
L'Araba felice in cucina, recipes and funny stories

Instagram accounts:
They draw and cook, the best collection of food illustration
Thabhita Hawkins, an Instagram account of a food stylist photographer

Creative approach :
Erica Liverani, italian chef that often cooks with her little daughter
Andrea Animates, amazing felt art

Well, by now you must be feeling a bit hungry!

Thursday, 9 January 2020

New beginnings

Happy New year my lovely folks!
It 's impossible to not have notice on which
sad note 2020 started, between fires and threatening wars
but in my little corner of my tiny world..
all is fine!

In the South of UK we have experienced a lot of rain
(if we could just catch it and bring it where is more needed!)
and the number of days in a greyscale is so big
that I felt more and more depressed.
Oh dear sunshine, you make the plants grow..
I want to grow too! come to visit more often!

I started my year busy with commissions
and for the first time ever, I was asked to recreate exactly one of my images..
and so I did, and it was really interesting,
relaxing, and I could put more contrast in colours than in the previous version..
You know, it is funny to say
but I feel I am less afraid of using dark colours than I was in the past.
Oh yes, this is the truth, as funny as it sounds!
It was because every time I used a dark colour, I would sort of
feel its darkness taking mood..
Plus, they were hard to control..
It sounds very silly, but with a bit of practice I feel I am more comfortable  now!
STILL, I do not have a single black paint in my tool box!
I normally use sepia together with blue, I rekon they will be enough of a strech for this life..

I also did a day of clay
playing with characters

Now I am working on new ideas for the coming seasons, 
and of course I am experimenting, learning, and dreaming of sunny days
and future travels!
Anyone coming to the Bologna Children Book fair this year? 
I can't wait, it is a safe bet for inspiration!

This is a little sketch I have been working on, and with this 
I wish you good ideas!

Notes and discoveries:

- running is my go to treatment for depression ( with the right shoes and not on tarmac! )
- Stephanie Graegin characters are my favorite these days
- favourite food : cooked apples and pears, with few pine nuts and cinnamon on top, mixed with fresh Ricotta cheese ....yummy!
- Art tip: did you know that on the Holbein Acryla Guache tubes you can find value and saturation levels ( Munsell scale) of each color? This helps me to choose which color to go for, in order to follow better my value sketch! And also to control saturation in an image and consciously put it where it needs to be !