Alongside Silicon Valley engineers and software developers, artists explore new technologies
By Melissa Hart
This May, artist Andrea Blum wandered through the woods of Marin County collecting plants, insects, and lichen. Then, she headed for Autodesk’s steel-and-glass Pier 9 studio in San Francisco to cook the natural materials into a dye, which she’d later use to color pieces of felt. She cut the felt according to a design she’d made with the company’s 123D Make software and layered the purple, brown, and gold squares between wood that she’d cut and milled in the studio. Finally, she used an Omax water-jet cutter with 55,000 psi of water to cut the layers into circles and cake-like wedges. read more
Andrea Blum has spent much of her life following others. She once followed a cheesemaker back to his village in Italy to learn about where the milk came from. That’s also how she ended up in a butcher shop in Switzerland watching the curing of meats, or in a basement in Austria sampling homemade schnapps.
“It’s a passion of mine to go beyond what I’m eating and find the story behind it,” Blum says.
That curiosity about the people behind our food led her to create My American Pantry (MAP), a start-up company that promotes regional food and drink producers across the country. Blum is laying the groundwork for an online marketplace with a series of aerial photos of food artisans with their goods.
“I think of it as a Kickstarter for food artisans, where people can launch their businesses but in a very curated, beautiful and artistic way with recipes, videos, multimedia,” says Blum, who is a culinary artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga.