Carolyn Tillie makes tasty jewelry
Why? Two words: Food jewelry.
She had a stall at the Fillmore Jazz Festival (where we also discovered BBQ oysters and Spam musubi). I saw the teeny cupcakes and tiny sushi sets from a distance, and had to stop.
Carolyn has a background in metal work and food — how perfect is that? — and she sources her ingredients from doll-house suppliers and Japanese gumball machines (I imagine her stalking video arcades in Tokyo with fistfuls of coins).
I couldn't decide: the pendant of frosted macarons?
Or the tiny vegetables?
The jewelry Carolyn makes influences what she eats. "When I was working with sushi, I ate a lot of sushi," she said. "When I did the cakes, I ate a lot of cakes."
She held up a Ziplock bag packed with doughnuts, frosted, sprinkled, each tinier than a fingernail. "Now I'm working with doughnuts." She pointed to another Ziplock, this one filled with fresh snow peas. "I have to pace myself."
Every piece was perfect, delicate, delicious. While I browsed, we chatted. Carolyn has a number of blogs; her current project is Fried Dough Ho, a love letter to the ways various cultures translate, create, and celebrate deep-fried yeasty goodness.
And then I saw it: not the tiny cupcake pendant or the chopsticks with maki, but the beans.
The necklace of real beans, heirloom beans, Rancho Gordo beans, laquered and threaded onto silver posts, strung on black stainless steel.
I had to have the bean necklace.
Mine is slightly different to the version on Carolyn's website; it has a big jewel of a Christmas lima bean as the showcase.
The necklace makes me think of slowly braised stews, of thick, rich cassoulets, of buttery bean purée.
I'm just waiting for the accompanying salt pork bracelet and garlic earrings.