Tuesday, June 15, 2010



"White" market of Akka or Acre.

Follow me on a little journey, if you dare. We will let the heady aroma of spices lead us down narrow passageways where we will find the Spice Mistress selling her wares. As we stroll along, we inhale the fragrance of pungent spices from every part of the world.

Spice Mistress is a gypsy at heart. and she will always travel to where her trade leads her. Casablanca, Kashmir, Istanbul, Madagascar - these foreign places are no stranger to her.

Today, she is an itinerant peddler at the famous Akka market. Let your imagination take you there with the help of these wonderful photos.

Look at this tower of spices! Photo taken on the Souk Khan at-i-Ziet in the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem

I was inspired to create a series dealing with spices from around the world after a friend of mine, Wayne St. Clair, visited Jerusalem last year. He knows how I love to blend flavors with spices and sent me back e-pictures of the spice markets in Akka. The photos that Wayne took had me longing to be standing right in front of those ancient stalls and inhaling the aroma of these gems.

The Spice Mistress Sculpture-first in my new series


Side view of Spice Mistress

Catlin from CSN has offered me a gift certificate for $40 to be given to one of you in conjunction with my spice posting. Perhaps you can purchase one of the mortar and Pestles to whip up your own special blend of spices. Below is a picture of the one I own and I notice it is offered by Sur La Table, one of their sites. Catlin asked me to post a link to one of their 200 stores, ’lights’ which I had no problem doing since I’m looking for lighting for my Tuscany Suite. This is the room I posted about awhile back. I’m renovating it so that I can offer classes here at Woodloft next year.

There is nothing to do to win the gift certificate but leave a comment and I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, June 22rd.

Mortar and Pestle I have used for years

A spice vendor in Akka.

Inside Damascus gate

I’m offering Spice Mistress for sale on a Etsy, where you will be able to see more details. Alternately, you can e-mail me. I take all of the major credit cards and checks.

I hope you enjoyed your spice journey. If you’d like to see more of Wayne’s photography from Jerusalem, you can click here

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  1. Your words drew me deep into the market along with the heady scents and yes, there she was, the Spice Mistress. She took my hand and gazed into my eyes. Her own were the colour of cinnamon flecked with dashes of saffron. "Take these" she whispered, pressing a tightly wrapped packet into my hand. I knew not what she had given me, but the twinkle in those cinnamon eyes told me all I needed...

  2. Art,spices,visual delights! What more could you want in a post? Just beautiful Cheryl:)I would LUUUVE to take a class with you someday!Kids are out of school this Wed. so it'll be pasta time soon!!! I'll keep you posted!Love B

  3. Trish has to say: Cheryl, You have done it again with the help of Wayne this time. You have awakened the gypsy in me. And all I want to do is travel to see these wonderful sights, smell the aroma of the spices, and of course, eat the results of the natives using these spices. But alas, I am stuck in this cubicle.

  4. I love your new sculpture. I can see why the spices would be so inspiring, they have wonderful colour, aroma and taste. So full of magical properties.

  5. I don't even know what to say anymore except that I am going to start saving my pennies for one of your sculptures. Your talent is simply amazing! I loved the tour of the spice market. I could imaging the smells...

  6. Love all of Wayne's photos, love your fascinating sculpture, the pestle and bowl is beautiful and you always keep me inspired and wanting to expand my own knowledge. Amazing! Both of you.

  7. She's wonderful, I can almost smell the spices and sense the hustle and bustle of the souk! I'd so love to cometo the States and take one of your courses in the future- I'll have to save my pennies hard.

  8. You are right! Our posts are a lot different. I was especially intrigued by that spice pyramid. That must have taken hours and hours to put together. Beautiful and colorful, too.

    I'm a big spice fan. I simply couldn't imagine eating without some type of seasoning. Your mortar and pestle don't look as rough as mine. Yours is far more beautiful!

    Really great post. It was also really great to see the first piece in a new series. I bet your spice lady could carry several baskets filled with spices on her head.

  9. When I close my eyes I can smell the pungent spices and hear the bustle in the marketplace thanks to these fabulous pictures. I, too, am intrigued by the spice pyramid. And your exotic Spice Mistress is exquisite! Hugs, Terri xoxo

  10. This is such a fabulous post, so fun to close our eyes and travel to another place. I loe your new Spice Mistress.

  11. you have done a wonderful job of spicing a plug for CSN stores...they should kiss your feet!...lol

    i love your mortar and pestle..and your sculpture! she's wonderful!

    please enter me in this certificate giveaway...it's the spiciest thing I've done all day!!! lol is that sad or what? hehe...

    i must also take a minute before leaving your site, to thank you so very much for your kind comment....words of inspiration are what you left me! and for this I thank you from the spicey depths of my artistic heart!

    ciao bella
    have a great night!

    creative carmelina

  12. What glorious colors you've woven into your post, I'd love to be there too! And your Spice Mistress- wow! I can't wait to see the rest of the series!

  13. What wonderful pictures ,I can almost smell all those spices. A great inspiration for all your upcoming pieces. Your Spice Mistress is Divine!

  14. I absolutely love all your work. Beautiful, so alive with so much expression.

  15. Spice is Life...healing and exciting..
    I love the Spice Goddess..she is wonderful.

  16. Mmmmm... now I'm hungry, LOL. I can almost smell the aromas through monitor. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have such an abundance of fresh spices to cook with?

  17. My belly is growling...
    while I am here,
    I want to comment on the last lady.
    Wide-eyed and wise, she is.
    Your work is inspiring and thought provoking.

  18. Oh Cheryl you touched on tow of my favorites.
    Art and spices, love them.
    I love this spice art journey with you, terrific.
    Your Spice Mistress is so glorious, really enjoyed seeing her.
    Excellent posting ...
    Hugs, Laura. xoxx

  19. Cheryl, Spice Mistress is fabulous! What an amazingly strong and beautiful contenance she has.

    Love your pics too - I'm sure I can smell the enticing fragrance of all those spices!


  20. Hey this is Wayne. I am glad everyone likes the photos. The fellow who made the spice pyramid told me it took 4 hours to make.

    A correction or two though. The White market where both photos of the bags of spices were taken (same shop just different angles) is in the north coast city of Akka or Acre, not Jerusalem...and so Akka is not a market in Jerusalem. There is though a famous market in Jerusalem; the Mahaneh Yehuda, which I did not get a chance to visit...however here is a link to a 360 degree view of part of it though. Enjoy. W


  21. Oh, that spice tower was a sight to behold! Thank you, so very much for your heady guided tour ... I was caught deeply in the moment ... reveling in the intoxicating scents. And those glorious muslin bags filled with earthy colors in rich textures, colors and flavors! ~ My husband and I have longed to travel to Jerusalem ... perhaps one day we will, for his ancestry lies there.

    Your Spice Mistress is just how one would imagine her to be ... so very wise and serene. A lovely, lovely post!

  22. Oh your spice mistress is sublime and carries the exotic essence of her name so well! I love spices and all that they evoke. What a wondrous journey in this beautiful post. By the way there is abook called " The Spice Mistress" by Chitra Divak that I loved - a good read !

  23. Beautiful post, I love all the colors of the spices too,and never imagined there were so many.
    Your work is amazing, love your spice mistress.

    As for the mortar and pestal, it looks exactly like ours, and it is still on my counter waiting to be packed up as we move in a few days, that's why it has taken me sooooo long to return your gracious visit to my blog. Thank you :)


  24. I just want to pick up hands full of the spices from those bags and breathe them in. Your mortar and pestle is gorgeous. I recently bought one at the co-op and am loving it. Spice Mistress is breathtaking.

  25. I love that mortar and pestle and I could almost smell the aroma of all those spices. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing. Nice to know you.

  26. Love the colours of the spices and the Spice Mistress.

    Please don't count me in for the giveaway, so the chance for someone else to win is greater.

  27. Delightful! I can almost smell the spices. . .

  28. Cheryl,Layers book that Lisa gave me is absolutly beautiful!Thank you for the birthday shout-out!Cant wait to read it! Deb ;-D

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