SEED3 Art Show & Tell

This year’s SEED3 show took place during an exciting cold spell in Taos that brought a reported 9 inches of snow up on the Taos Ski Mountain. All those in attendance wisely wore plenty of warm layers of clothes. It was like a scene from another season, but I guess Taos folks are prepared for such inconveniences and so the opening was well attended. The seed-themed food was both beautiful (in a seed kind of way) and tasty and seem to disappear quickly.

This is a detail from a mixed media painting by Katie Woodall, who is one of the core of four seedettes who plan and organize all year to make this event happen. I am a big fan of her work. The name of the piece: Unfolding FIVE.

This is one of Mandy Stapleford’s many ceramic pieces, part of the group that hung on the wall, painted ceramic, the “Specimen Series.” Mandy is one of the originators of the concept of the SEED show three years ago.

Titled “Mysterious Burst” this handmade cast paper installation was created for the show by Stephanie Lerma and piled in a corner. For me it was the kind of art that was surely open to interpretation. It brought up a lot of images for me, raising more questions than answers.

Here’s another large and tantalizing piece by the same artist, Stephanie Lerma. She used handmade paper, beeswax and hollyhock seeds to create “Midnight in a Field of Flowers.”

These are my two Seed Quilt paintings, mixed media–collage and oil with encaustic on cradled birch panels.

I was able to catch this nice photo of Sybille Palmer standing in front of a part of her ambitious project, “Thirteen Endangered Plants of New Mexico.” Images of each of the 13 were printed on silk organza then mounted on cotton from India. The pieces were connected with supporting sticks and draped up the walls and across the ceiling. The end panels had lists of world-wide endangered plants. You can see the banner coming down on the opposite wall in the previous photo of my work.

Outside in the courtyard Matt Adams created this sculpture he named Cladobe Podster. Its ingredients are listed as wood, lathe, adobe clay, nylon fiber, oxides and acrylic admixture. I took this just as the sun was getting low in the west, with just enough light to accentuate the evocative shapes.

This photo shows off a couple of things. First the fiber art (crocheted jute) of Maria Hwang Levy. I believe this one is named “While with Quinn.” At the upper end of the photo you can see the entrance to the back room reserved for the educational part of SEED3, the Seed Exploratorium. Mondays are for visitors from local schools whose trips are organized as part of the show’s three-week venue.

And here’s an actual child demonstrating what it’s like to take seeds and grind them up into cereal-sized bits in the Seed Exploratorium. She seemed to be enjoying the task. I was introduced to her so learned her name is Camille, and she is the daughter of one of the artists in the show, Conrad Cooper.

Since this is a blog and not an official report of this show I have left out a lot of worthy art and a lot of names among the 16 artists who worked to make this event happen. For myself it was a joy and an honor to be a part of this year’s show.

I couldn’t leave out this photo of one of the food dishes contributed by artist Sybille Palmer. There were other artistic offerings of seed-related food but this took the prize. And yes, I had one of the tasty morsels even though it looked too beautiful to eat.

Monsoon Season

Took this photo mid-day today–my favorites, hollyhocks, next to my favorite Taos cafe/restaurant, El Gamal. Note the monsoon type clouds in the sky. The intermittent clouds provide times of shade or at least filtered sun during the days and this is a great relief now with highs flirting around 90 degrees. A little late afternoon rain can really drop the temperatures and raise the spirits of everyone. I can’t report that we’ve had near the actual amount of rain we need, but it does feel like a blessing when it comes. The smell of moist earth is like an elixir.

My zucchini squash has started blooming but I loved seeing this abundance of squash blossoms at the farm market yesterday. Since we are in the world of the “Three Sisters” here (squash, corn and beans) I know these flowers are integrated into local cooking traditions. I can’t think of that many foods where we eat the flower of the plant, other than those we can add to summer salads.

You are looking at my first zucchini squash to reach edible size. Well, I’ll give it a couple more days. I like the sensation of visually moving into the inner sanctum of a garden plant like this. The large leaves of the zucchini plant usually cover this view. As any gardener knows zucchinis are one of the most expansive and giving of all the food plants. It’s truly one of those “plant the seed and stand back” awesome miracles.

Now my tomatoes are a different story. I have just begun to construct a cage for them that grows upward as they reach higher, to give support to the precious fruits. Last summer in this same location I believe the “cage” reached the height of my shoulders. I admit it developed a gradual lean, a little to the south, but it held up to the end. I’m using what material I have on hand, sticks (and garden twine).

Last summer I planted Heavenly Blue Morning Glories in the place where this year I planted my peas. They were spectacular, with amazing flowers I photographed all summer. This year they are growing on a tipi of sticks I built in the flower bed closest to the front porch–a welcoming public situation. They are eagerly climbing up now as fast as they can, fully committed to their destiny of beauty.

Root vegetables are starting to appear in the market, beets, potatoes, onions, and everyone’s favorite, carrots. These beauties were grown by Isidro Rodrigues on his farm in Chamita, down near Espanola. I was asking his permission to take the photo for my blog when I began to realize he speaks only Spanish. Fortunately his next door neighbor at the market was a fellow farmer and friend from the same area and he was happy to translate. I will send a link to this blog to his friend today. He said he would show it to Isidro on his computer.

Ever vigilant for an opportunity to photograph seeds for the art I will create for the Seed3 show this fall, spied this mandala in the garden at the Hanuman Temple last Sunday. I have some similar images from last summer, but none with quite the perfection of this one.

And on the topic of seeds, some of you loyal readers will recall the early spring photos of a perennial Wild Blue Flax that showed up around my house. For the most part those plants are in the seeding stage now.

Whatever stage plants are in these days I’m sure they, like us humans, are enjoying the monsoon’s moisture and shade, and the occasional rain.