Who puts the culture in agriculture?
Artists are part of a sustainable and resilient economy, one that values the contributions of every member of the community. The 16 artists for this year's packs each interpreted one variety of flower, herb, or vegetable from our catalog. They used their individual visions, backgrounds, skills, and talent to create their pack art. The resulting eclectic collection represents the diversity of the seeds we offer and celebrates seeds as cultural treasures. Through this series of posts, we hope you enjoy getting to know each artist a bit better and gain some insight into their creative processes and the many connections between art and agriculture. Each post also contains two links. Click on the artist's name to see more of their work and click on the variety name to see (or buy!) any of the original artworks. Sales of the original pieces support the artists, gallery and us!
I really have a thing for popcorn.Every Tuesday, I drive my friend Jane from where she goes to school and I go to work, we come to my house, and we set out to do our chores.Hers is algebra homework.Mine is popcorn popping.I have finally figured out how to burn it only occasionally.Mostly, the work comes in the decision about what flavor of popcorn we would like on this particular Tuesday.Will it be buttery cinnamon and sugar?Just plain salt and butter?Will we put honey on the kernels before they even pop, making us our very own kettle corn?Or will we choose our favorite, a light spritz of soy sauce?
Have I mentioned that I love popcorn?But it is only recently that I have come back around to adoring this satisfying snack. I noshed ravenously on it as a child.But years ago, I watched a college roommate suffer silently through an eating disorder, restricting herself to a diet of only popcorn (plain, no butter) and Swedish fish.
Many years later, it was all I could do to not associate popcorn with women struggling with body love, slowly starving and feeling bad.I owe it to my friends Amy and Sarah Little who brought popcorn back into my life with a bang when I moved to the Hudson Valley fourteen years ago.These two coated their popcorn with an assortment of condiments, concealing the fat free food that I had once known.And it was off to the races with a newfound love.
And so, when Ken and Doug proposed the seed pack idea to me and I took a look at the thirty plus seed possibilities to make art about, it was with little difficulty that I chose calico popcorn.I researched the proper meaning of calico just to be sure I was committed. Calico: having sections or patches colored differently and brightly.Since most of my artwork has been calico without my conscious awareness, I knew this was the seed for me.I set to work immediately, months before the original painting was due to my seedy friends.I sketched ideas in crayon and pony expressed them to the Seed Library.After some art direction from Ken, I began the process of choosing just the right 1”x1” squares to serve as my calico canvas.I included envelopes and letters to and from my grandmother Browning, heirloom of all heirlooms; maps of the Hudson Valley; crayons scribbles from the original sketchpad for this idea; and even homework from some homegrown organic children I know.Behold the patchwork of bold calico popcorn colors: yellows, browns, reds, maroons, giving each kernel its own artistic stamp.
And as I drew and painted the corn, I munched on some popcorn for inspiration.