Bread Alone Bakery


The Bakery© Durga Yael Bernhard

This painting was inspired by two years of working at Bread Alone Bakery in Boiceville, NY.  One of the owners, Sharon Burns Leader, is an old friend of mine.  One day, she asked me to come in and help her mix colors for the icing used to decorate cakes.  Several excursions ensued in which we decorated wedding cakes together – a nerve-wracking experience with unbelievable pressure – followed by a job offer:  I became a pie-maker, and spent two days a week assembling various delicious berry, apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies.

After working at home as a solo artist for so many years, it was really nice to be part of a team.  And what a team the bakery is!  I picked up a few words of happy Spanish, shouted back and forth by workers in the steamy room that surrounds the massive wood-fired ovens.  The pastry room was also a regular beehive, with timers going off as confections went in and out of the convection oven.  I loved being on my feet all day, pushing carts full of baking trays, darting into the walk-in for supplies and a breath of cool air, chatting with passing coworkers.  Sometimes the Mexican workers blasted their music over the sounds of electric mixers, grinding machines, and rolling conveyor belts. Like this painting, it was all very lively and colorful!

If you have an eye for storytelling pictures, here’s what you’ll find in my version of the bakery: in the upper left, the pastry room; upper right, the large bread-baking area, with mixers, racks of bread, and a glimpse of the brick ovens; lower left, the café; lower right, the office, with owners Sharon and Dan visible on computer and phone.  Finally at the middle bottom is the entrance to the bakery, with a father and son coming through the door, and a worker taking a break on the steps.

My challenge was to bring all these disparate elements together into some kind of harmonious whole – no doubt much harder to do in real life than on a canvas.  Sharon and Dan do a terrific job!  Bread Alone is a great asset to our community and contributes a lot of wholesome bread to local and regional grocery stores.  I don’t work there anymore, but my teenager daughter will be starting her first summer job there this summer.  I hope she’ll enjoy being part of the team as much as I did!

A good week to all –

D Yael Bernhard

Author / Illustrator of
LOVE ISNew! – a unique crossover book for all ages
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVENew!! Explore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
THE JEWISH EYE 2017 / 5777 Calendar of Artnow on sale
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!

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