Charlie Olson: Glazing Poetic

Photo by Charlie Olson

Working off unsettled beats and experimental muses, Charlie Olson takes to pottery like jazz. The product might look straightforward, every curve and coloration seeming the result of a clear plan, but there was a 54-year learning curve to manufacturing that cohesion. As jarring notes ring fittingly dissonant, Charlie’s pieces sometimes capture an allure with regard to intention—his practiced hand turning what might’ve been a blemish into a feature.

read more

Connection During COVID-19

I’m a big-time hugger. Always have been. I miss hugs. I mean, something fierce! And now, with having so much more stress in my life, I crave them even more, which makes not getting them even more depressing.

read more

Curbside Composter: Breaking Down Naturally

Photo by Curbside Composter

Did you know that on July 1, 2020, Vermont banned food scraps from trash and landfills? To some, that might sound bizarre—maybe even unreasonable—but to most who compost, it makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t visited the Dane County landfill, all I can really say is it’s gross and heartbreaking. There’s a lot of food waste in that landfill, and food waste that decomposes in landfills produces the infamous greenhouse gas methane. As recycling wasn’t really a thing until the 1970s, today’s world needs to put composting at the forefront of people’s minds.

read more

Jerina Vincent: The Business of Making Community

Photo by C3 organization

Jerina Vincent, owner of JNJ Craftworks in Verona, said the above in the middle of our interview. With everything that will be covered in this article, her drive to start a nonprofit is at the core of who she is; nearly everything earned from her work after paying for food, home, and family goes to help some facet of her community. And nearly every minute spared outside of work and family is spent helping schools, churches, and people.

read more

Volunteer Time Off is a Valuable New Benefit in Workplaces

Photo by UW Credit Union

In a recent conversation with Madison Essentials’ publisher, the topic of volunteer time off (VTO) came up. I explained that UW Credit Union has a successful VTO program in place, and was asked if I would be willing to write about it. The Giving & Sharing issue is the perfect place for this story.

read more

Beef Butter BBQ

Photo by Beef Butter BBQ

Patrick Riha, owner of Beef Butter BBQ, read a news article about hospital workers and other frontline professionals pulling extra shifts without even stopping to eat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital cafeterias and many restaurants were closed, and takeout, if they had time to order, had limited availability.

read more

Glass Nickel Pizza

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Is there such a thing as a day that isn’t made better with pizza? Even if you get hit by a pizza delivery truck, the first thing that crosses your mind is, “Hey, maybe I’ll get free pizza.” We can all agree that life’s too short to eat bad pizza, but I’ll eat bad pizza to hold myself over until good pizza arrives. With so many great pizzerias in Madison, it’s not always easy to choose where you’ll get your next pizza from, though I’ll bet Glass Nickel Pizza makes a lot of locals’ shortlists.

read more

Trendy Creamy Lactose Won't Go Home

Photo by Kyle Jacobson

I really want to hate what lactose is doing to beers. In some implementations, it’s like pouring honey over homemade pasta—an insult to the chef at the very least. But for the brewery, it’s brought in a bunch of non-beer drinkers, which is fantastic. And as far as the taste goes, after telling my inner purist to take a seat, it’s not too hard to see there are some brewers out there making it work with an adept showing of balance.

read more

Gates of Heaven Synagogue

Photo by Madison Parks

As we approach the holiday giving season, homage should be paid to those whose generosity 50 years ago was instrumental in saving the Gates of Heaven Synagogue, which is now located at 302 E. Gorham Street in the James Madison Park near downtown Madison.

read more

DCHS Centennial Celebration: Helping People Help Animals

Photo by Dane County Humane Society

From the beginning, community members have rallied to help Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) save animals. Whether it was giving to Mrs. Ida Kittelson, their first president; contributing directly; or participating in a campaign, the community has been there when DCHS needed them.

read more

From the Publisher

2020 was inundating and overwhelming. There were catastrophes of death, disaster, illness, destruction, tragedy, and loss. Crushing economic adversities resulted from halts in business, job reductions and losses, and company closures. A persistent political, sociological, and socioeconomic divide became cataclysmic in a pandemic year when fueled by a growing disproportion and disparity in equity, justice, and equality. All these things brought on an onslaught of emotions: fear, despair, turbulence, anguish, confusion, heartbreak, anger, grief, unsettlement, loneliness, insecurity, and hopelessness. Phew! It took a whole lot of descriptors to befit a whole lot of year.

read more

Fitchburg Family Pharmacy: Going the Extra Mile

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Uncertainty related to COVID-19 and its effects on our health and everyday life lead us to seek small comforts and expertise. On the health front, the collaboration of the physician and pharmacist helps to ensure patient medications are taken as needed and prescribed while also reducing potential harmful side effects. Community pharmacies do the preparation and dispensing of the medications, and their pharmacists provide frontline medical advice.

read more

Anthology: Shifting Out of Neutral

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Pixar’s Ratatouille features Auguste Gusteau, a chef who proclaimed anyone can cook. His belief is that cooking is not meant to be restricted to those with culinary backgrounds. Ego, the movie’s food critic, has a second interpretation: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” On Madison’s State Street, the sisters Komai, Sachi and Laura, employ a similar philosophy to Anthology, their paper and craft store. Simply put, anyone can art.

read more

Living In Uncertain Times

Sandy Eichel shares the knowledge she gained from her personal experiences in living a life of “should”—being the person you think you should be rather than the person you want to be.

See all

Back of the House

See all