Talking Bread Loaves

“Talking Bread Loaves” PART 1 and artist Jerry Shawback

Self Portrait (18″X24″) by Jerry Shawback

For many of you that regularly read Creative Potager and its “sprouts,” artist Jerry Shawback’s contributions are a familiar sight. There is no direct connection between “Talking Bread Loaves” and Jerry Shawback. I am simply impressed with his work, his community building and his support of artists. Later in today’s post, Jerry is featured along with a few more images of his work.

“Talking Bread Loaves” will be told in three parts over the next three days. I am considering it for inclusion in my new book Mona’s Work.

Mona’s influence is multi-generational. My mother, Mona’s daughter, learned the art of amusing children, while she was cooking, from her mother. This is how I end up knowing about talking loaves of bread. At the age of five my family and I lived eighty miles from the nearest store. We went to town for supplies once a month. Good homemade bread was a staple. It was also my favourite food, particularly still warm from the oven, cut thick and slathered in butter with wild raspberry jam dripping off the edges and running down between my fingers.

Each week my mother would use her “magic “to make eight fresh loaves of bread. The reason mom needed magic was mostly to keep me amused, not because it was necessarily part of making bread…

Wrestling my way out from under a mountain of covers, I make my way to the kitchen. I know bread is going to be made by the bowls and pans already on the counter. Mom has the yeast set aside to soften in a very large, heavy bowl. The melted lard and yeast are floating on the warm sugar water. Standing on a stool, I stick my nose right over the bowl. I can smell the beginnings of bread. Mom makes a crater shape out of the flour on the table.

I put my fingers in the flour but mom scolds “Ahk! You will make the dough run out and spoil the magic.”

I knew that to spoil the magic meant the loaves of bread wouldn’t be able to tell her when they were done. So I take heed, carefully twisting my fingers together to keep them out of the flour crater.

Continued in PART 2 …

Sprout Question: How do you use your creativity to arouse the imagination of others?

Bonus: I connected with Jerry Shawback through his twitter account and was blown away by his generous “retweeting” of links tweeted by artists he is following (his support of Creative Potager tweets has been incredible). Sometimes I spend an hour or more just viewing the links he has sent along. However, one of my challenges has been getting to see Jerry’s work because his tweets about his own work are minimal. This is one of the reasons I asked Jerry if I could feature him on today’s post. I want us to pause and take note of Jerry Shawback’s art as we recognize his support of other artists.

sketch by Jerry Shawback

sketch by Jerry Shawback

More of these exquisite daily line drawings can be viewed in Jerry’s flickr portfolio. I suggest watching them as a slideshow.

Self Portrait (11″X18″) by Jerry Shawback

On March 13, 2010 Jerry’s portraits will be shown as part of the Gallery 9 “FACES” exhibit. Gallery 9 is affiliated with, an international community for creative people where Jerry is a recognize community builder and active participant on the site.

p.s. Who is Jerry Shawback?

“Self portraits have the inherent ability to expose the depth and breath of human nature.” – Jerry Shawback

The artist’s self portrait series explores identity through multiple approaches to the same subject matter. Stylistically varied, they reveal the strange and vulnerability essence of the human condition.

His affinity for people, observation of life and strong draughtmanship is apparent in his depiction of the human form and informs Jerry’s painting. Other influences include: Rico Lebrun, Egon Schiele, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and his mentor Cornelius Cole III.

After studying communication design in Los Angels at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of design, a division of the New School for Social Research, Jerry worked as a freelance designer, commercial artist, and animator for the entertainment industry.

In 2007, after a ten year hiatus from the art world, Jerry returned to painting as a primary focus. He is currently working on a series of self portraits encompassing various artistic motifs, while maintaining an underlining vision, cohesion and emotional honesty. Jerry also produces works on paper documenting the lives and experiences around him, and his continuing study of the human form. His work has been featured in shows throughout Southern California as well as in private collections.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

22 thoughts on “Talking Bread Loaves

  1. I’m so glad you’ve chose to feature Jerry’s work – his selfless advocacy for other artists is now legendary around Twitterland. His own work is so intimate and graceful – would love to see the new exhibit (bring it to Portland!) – he gives up the ghost of ego in favor of something more mature with less disclosure. There is enigma here – and it is most welcome.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you DJ and you sprout is most elegant in acknowledging Jerry and the impact of his work.

      I particularly like “he gives up the ghost of ego in favor of something more mature with less disclosure.” This “less” shows up in the minimal and powerful lines in Jerry’s sketches and the brush strokes in his painting. However, it is also congruent with how Jerry presents in the world. I realized that when I wanted to do this feature, I knew very little about who Jerry was or his creative journey. Yet, I felt I knew everything I needed to know from our exchanges… until I had to tell someone else. You have successfully capture this essence in you comment DJ. So glad you dropped in.

  2. Terrill,
    I am also very lucky to have met Jerry in Twitterland. His astounding generosity, good heart and keen intelligence have been an extraordinary help to me personally and to so many others in the twitter community.

    He has taken tremendous risk in life to bring into the world, work that is so intimate, revealing and artistically uncompromised.

    From the very first time I saw his work on the website of the whole 9, I was so taken that a painter could communicate and express through an art form so much of his individual spirit and personal heart.

    As I began to know him, all my intuitions became true, and I realized that I had met a fully manifest human being.

    Thank you for the post!

  3. I learn from Jerry every day, as his sensuous drawings wind themselves into my hours. Because of the fascinating glimpses into the raging Twitter stream of talent he fishes in, I get a continuing education over the course of the day. That generousity is all the more miraculous because he is genuinely interested in people and their vision, aspirations and work, and that is the most difficult form of encouragement to maintain, a forthright gift to the world.

    • Thank you Stacy for coming by. No one has yet jumped at a chance to answer today’s question: “How do you use your creativity to arouse the imagination of others?” yet, your answer shows how Jerry has found a creative way to arouse our imagination every day.

      Readers, tomorrow, Stacy is going to be my feature guest. You may want to get an early start and browse through her “The Old Bouquet” blog now.

      Some readers may wonder why I feature other artists, writers and photographers on Creative Potager when I do all of these things myself. It is simple. I am enriched by the company I keep. I want this vibrancy to be a part of Creative Potager. It may seem counter-intuitive from a revenue generating business perspective. Trust me, it is not. Our profiles and our creative work are raised when others know us and our work well. We develop this familiarity in community. Creative Potager is a such place where community is nurtured – where sprouts are shooting up every day – where something is always in bloom. I’m glad you came by to be inspired.

  4. I enjoyed part 1 of your bread story, with particular interest in the magic part of it. I thought you were going to say the bread wasn’t going to rise if you touched the flour crater, but the magic turned out to be the bread telling her when it would be ready. Interesting twist.

    Sprout: I hope that the writing I do for kids piques their imagination. Whenever I read to a class, I ask the kids to give me some ideas for my next book, about what they think Magda should do in a situation, or how they think I should deal with a certain subject in the book. I have used, and credited, kids’ ideas in the past and intend to continue to listen to their creative ideas and give them credit for them in the future.

    • Amber, I’m pleased the “Talking Bread Loaves” story caught your interest:) Your practice of asking kids for ideas and then giving them credit is one I admire and appreciate. Great answer to today’s sprout question. Thanks a bundle! (I can hardly wait until Magda starts blogging!)

  5. I’ve never experienced art quite like Jerry’s before. He has the most elegant lines which demand attention. So open and peaceful, like a sparrow that fly’s in no direction but knows exactly where it is going. I am in Aw with Jerry. His art is not only great, but so is his heart.

  6. I am quickly becoming a fan of Jerry and his work. So nice that you featured him. Of course it goes without saying that I’m a fan of yours too!

    How do I use my creativity to arouse the imagination of others? I guess it would have to be with my blog about art and life. I try to have something inspiring every day that I write a post.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Martha thanks and great you could come plant a sproot here with all the shoots – real shoots – growing over in your studio. Your Artists Journal blog is amazing and one of the first one I put on my blog roll. I can attest to your ability to arouse imagination from everything to burying collage material in the backyard to deciding when a piece is finished while showing us your progression over time.

      Martha, you and I have chatted before about how when an artist shows their work it is a little like being naked. Well, I have found that showing my work in progress – unfinished, unframed, in the studio is a little like being naked and in bed with the public. I have more than once hesitated before deciding to post an unfinished work. Then I remember your blog and I tell myself “If Martha can do it, Terrill, you can do it.” And I do.

  7. How do I use my creativity to arouse the imagination of others? I think i have learned a lot today from all the comments here and responses on twitter about how i use my creativity to arouse the imagination of others. It has been eye opening.
    thanks everyone and
    thank you

  8. Terrill,
    Thank you for both the story and sharing Jerry Shawback with us… It was a quick artist date for me…

    Thank you for the beginning of the “talking bread loaves” story… I love the magic, of bread speaking to your mother, and offering you the creative way for you to find the joy in baking, and creating…

    Thank you for sharing Jerry Shawback, I find his work interesting, the drawing seem frantic, in scribble lines, but finished in their expression of the subject he has capture…

    I look forward to following up with Jerry’s work/art, and to follow the making of your bread…

    How have I used my creativity to arouse the imagination of others? My photography is a form of consciousness of evolution… a consciousness awaking, or I like to think I do. That is my goal…I wish people to take another look around them to create a more healing attitude to the world around them.

    • Jeff what a wonderful surprise to see your lovely comment here this morning. You are welcome on all accounts. And thank you for answering the sprout question. Jeff you were the one who inspired me to take my photography to the next level and create a redbubble account for my photography and art prints. It has been a great community and venue for me and I am forever grateful that you lead the way.

      When you say “I wish people to take another look around them to create a more healing attitude to the world around them” I can say that is how your photography strikes me. I am often vicariously walking with you and your dogs through the trails, ducking under branches, stopping to catch how the light is coming through the trees.

  9. How brilliant of you to juxtapose your essay of your mama’s breadmaking with a piece on Mr. Shawback and his work. The joy of creating something wonderful and sharing it, as well as, the ultimate sustenance it gives, are two qualities that your mama’s ‘magical breadmaking’, your eloquent memories, and Mr. Shawback’s work have in common. It has been many things, but mostly a great pleasure, to be able to see Mr. Shawback’s work through Twitter. A more altruistic tweeter and active supporter of all things art, i have not found; and given that his artistic talent exceeds even his own boundless generosity, Mr. Shawback has become an enduring source of inspiration. Thank you for your very fine Blog post.

  10. Wow! So glad that I stumbled upon your twitter post today and then things unfolded…Shawback’s work is inspiring and the stories of his kindness and generosity toward other artists are touching…I shall enjoy looking for his posts and discovering new worlds at his suggestion!

    How have I used my creativity to arouse the imagination of others? hmmmm… my work is about telling stories with images…but I simply report the elements-wait to see who shows up and include them as they insist. …and the story is defined anew by each viewer…utilizing their own love of story and talents for storytelling. My favorite part of sharing my work is hearing the interpretations of others.

    And,finally, baking bread is one of my most joy-full pastimes and something passed down/learned from my mother and grandmother. A wonderful sharing of making and eating…breaking bread is rich with opportunity for connection…and more joy! I’m anxiously awaiting your next installment of talking bread loaves!

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