The Cone of Torture

tourbillon side by side website

So I make food out of glass, right? “Sculptural still lifes,” as I like to call them. Plus, I am a student of art history, with more than a passing interest in the Baroque and Rococo periods. 

Soooo, when I heard about it last spring, it seemed like a no-brainer for me to make a contribution to the upcoming Gardiner Museum exhibition Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment. I met with the exhibition’s wonderful curator Meredith Chilton and her design team, and it was decided that I would make some little glass marons glacés, (chestnuts boiled in sugar syrup - more on these another day), and also create a dessert tower for a table representing an “intimate dinner for two.” What an exciting challenge!

Well, it certainly has been a challenge. Even though I have made hundreds of glass macarons before now, I have never had to deal with them with gravity, geometry, and math also playing such a crucial role. Thank heavens for my husband David, whose livelihood involves making sure that giant sheets of glass don’t fall off 40-storey buildings. I don’t think anyone without his expertise could have helped me get those heavy little macarons stuck on that cone (or make the cone) any better. Even with his help, though, there were some days when we couldn’t call what is now known as the Tourbillon de macarons (Macaron Twist) as anything but the “cone of torture.” However, I am so pleased with the result that I am willing to forget how we got there. 

If you’re in Toronto before the middle of January, or in Hartford CT between February and May 2020, make sure you visit  Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment. The show is an amazing collection of priceless pieces from the 17th and 18th century, with beautiful descriptions and information, plus a smattering of contemporary pieces like my own.   

Tourbillon de macaron, 2019, kiln-formed and cold-worked glass and mixed media, tin plate.

◼︎ ◼︎ ◼︎ ◼︎ ◼︎
© Janet Panabaker 2020       follow me on Instagram!