We've known about Lora Shelley's work for quite some time. A postcard of one of her portraits has been on the fridge of our friend's house for a few years. It seems Lora had been keeping an eye on us as well, "I think the seed packets are beautiful pieces of art. I've seen them around these past few years and admired them and thought it was a fantastic project linking artists with gardeners and farmers" she says. Lora had even applied to be a pack artist in the past. But sometimes we get applications from amazing artists who just aren't the right fit for that year. This year, Lora was a perfect fit.
Here's the piece she submitted as an example of her work. It's from her Diner Series. "The Seed Library ties in very well with my work," says Lora. "I have a series of Diner paintings that I started in 1994 and I come and go from that theme often. But I seem to always be drawn back to food related images. Eating is what we do for survival. It is life."
Even though we're vegetarians, we could appreciate this as a portrait of comfort food. We could feel comfort in act of preparing and serving the meal, and imagine a diner patron waiting to dig in. And although most diners have little in common with the heirloom varieties we like to grow, there was one variety we were going to offer that is a quintessential winter comfort food- Butternut Squash. So we asked Lora if she would do a proposal for our Waltham Butternut Squash seeds.
Laura says, "I was very excited to get started. Butternut Squash has a delicious shade of autumn orange that is one of my favorite colors to work with."
During the process of working with us, the original proposal (pictured above) turned into a different piece entirely. Lora told us she was going to take the initial image and expanded the surrounding environment -- imagining what was outside of the picture frame.
Here's just a peek at the top flap of that kitchen.
And here's Lora in her studio with Charley, one of her furry muses.
Lora says, "I do hope people will plant the seeds and enjoy delicious recipes featuring this colorful squash. I know I have saved the packs of the HVSL seed packs I bought. And yes, a confession, I mainly bought the packs for the art it featured. I plan on framing the tiny works of art. Now they reside in my curio box shelves with other treasures."
She also has advice for potential Pack Artists. "This was a very fun project. I really enjoyed it. I appreciated Ken's comments at the start of the process "what we like about your work" -- I found that tremendously helpful. It helped me to know how to start creating my image. And the sketch approval was also a good step along the way. There is such a variety of work featured - I really can't wait to see them all at the opening show. Definitely send your work in!"
We hope you have as much fun paging through Lora Shelley's website as we did and that you’ll come to one of the upcoming Art of the Heirloom exhibitions to see her original piece. The pack will be available in our Season’s Seedings Holiday Catalog in November. If you’d like to be one of the first to receive the catalog when it’s ready, make sure you are signed up for our monthly Seeder’s Digest email.
More Sneak Peeks on the way!