Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Seeds are the essence of our sustainable world heritage; those who preserve them are our heroes. Two years ago, artists Mandy Stapleford and Siena Sanderson were moved by a pair of remarkable authors to produce a special art show for the public. The book collaboration by Stuppy and Kesseler was called Seeds, Time Capsules of Life. Representing the values of the Millenium Seed Bank with provocative wonder, the botanist and the artist produced a marriage of sustainability principles and illuminating macro-photography. Nine original artists responded to this root idea, opening at the Stables for the first time last year, in October of 2009. Since then something out of the ordinary has flourished: conceptual metaphor, botany, discovery science, and profoundly original artistic response are continuing to evolve.

This year there are 14 artists expressing 15 mediums in the show. As before, there is a mystery about how the participation in this event opens creative doors. It is as if the generative vitality of seeds has an effect on the unfoldment of ideas. Web-site director and environmental artist Claire Long Cote bears witness: “ Seeds are primal, beautiful, miraculous, …of utmost importance in our lives.” Her enthusiasm expanded into the formation of this website that connects artists from events to resources worldwide. Photographer Geraint Smith says of his recent work: “I made these transfers on fabric as prayer flags, inspired by the milkweed seeds in the wind.” Using collected live flowers, mixed media artist Katie Woodall says “the creative tension feels like a new seed vying for its potential home sometimes.…Glue it down now; save this reference before things shift, or the connections are no longer remembered.”

From the beginning, experiential education has been an essential component of the show. According to SEED 2 curator and educator, Siena Sanderson, "We are attempting to encourage people to not only look at artwork inspired by the seed but to engage in ...tactile learning ... about the remarkable lives of seeds----all in the same gallery."

An entire room is dedicated to engaging all five senses, so that information can be synthesized in multiple ways. SEED 2 was partially funded this year from the Albert I. Pierce Foundation and Taos Community Foundation. Groups of children from all over the district have been invited to participate. With educator Susan Vernon’s help, activities include experimenting with the ways seeds are dispersed, and even inventing them from clay. Respecting the natural intelligence of the child is a way this group has chosen to contribute to our local seed bank, and that of the greater world.

Ongoing SEED Shows have a far reaching potential. The 501-C3 umbrella for the exhibit is the Taos Chapter of the Native Plants Society of New Mexico. This is just an example of how connections are made that invite further collaboration. A desire to inspire SEED nationally is making headway . Seeds are wealth: they are free, they are the embodiment of hope.

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