We're continuing our tradition of commissioning artwork for the covers of our unique seed packs. Last March close to 300 creative artists applied to be Pack Artists. It's taken 8 months to choose the artists, give them time to create their pieces, and turn their works into seed packs. Next week the final designs are off to the printers. All 24 new packs will first be available in our Holiday Gift Catalog. The big reveal will happen on November 9th at the gallery opening featuring the original art and new packs. In the meantime, we'll be posting sneak peeks of each new pack and introducing the new artists all month.
Sneak Peek #2:
Don't Scratch That
I often get asked, "How do you choose your final artists and who decides what variety their interpret?"
It's a long process from the first time I see an artist's submission to when the final work is done. There are always more talented artists to chose from than there are varieties in need of an artist. First and foremost I'm looking for diversity, but after that what I look for changes with the particularities of each variety. In a way I'm playing matchmaker. Just like thinking about the personalities, inner character, and feeling that makes you think two people might be good for each other, the same indescribable feeling happens when the right artist comes along for the right variety.
In this case it was something about the texture and feeling of Okra that made me think Susan Wilson and her unique medium of scratch board art would be the right match. And luckily, she felt the same way!
"I was very excited when I was assigned the Burgundy Okra," write Susan. "The Burgundy Okra features both a beautiful, graceful, creamy white flower and a wonderfully colored, uniquely shaped fruit and lots and lots of contrast and texture. Perfect for scratchboard! In creating my artwork, I tried to show the relationship between the flower, fruit, leaves and bud, the color and texture of each component and how they fit together to form a beautiful plant. I love the way the burgundy color unifies the flower, fruit and leaves."
For those of you unfamiliar with the medium here's more about it from Susan.
"Scratchboard is a subtractive medium in which highly detailed and delicately shaded artwork is created by scratching a clayboard panel that has a coating of black ink. Tools such as an x-acto knife, steel wool, and tattoo needles are used to create artwork rich in texture and detail. Ink can be added for rich and vibrant coloring. It is a time consuming medium, but the results are well worth the effort."
I also wanted someone who could capture the alluring beauty of Orka, which is often overlooked as an edible ornamental.
"I hope my art, as well as the other art packs, will raise awareness of the wonderful varieties of heirloom plants that are in danger of disappearing," says Susan. "The beauty of flowers is so transient, sometimes lasting less than a day, or even a few hours. Art is a way of capturing, preserving, and sharing that small, defined, but often unobserved moment in time. Viewing our world through the eyes of an artist can help people appreciate what we have and encourage us to take better care of our fragile environment. Heirloom plants especially need to be documented in art and protected through organizations such as the Hudson Valley Seed Library."
You'll be able to see the rest of the art featured on this Art Pack, along with 23 new Art Packs by a diversity of artists, in November on seedlibrary.org, just time for the holidays. When everything's ready we'll post the catalog on our Facebook Page and send out the catalog in our Seeder's Digest newsletter. For more about Susan Wilson you can visit her website. Her artwork is for sale in the gift shop of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. She is represented by the Wallkill River School and Gallery in Montgomery NY, where she has participated in both group and solo shows and offers classes in scratchboard.