Seeds are the essence of our sustainable world heritage; those who preserve them are our heroes. Three years ago, artists Mandy Stapleford and Siena Sanderson were moved by the book Seeds, Time Capsules of Life to produce a special art show in Taos New Mexico. The book collaboration by Wolfgang Stuppy and Rob Kesseler represented the values of the Millenium Seed Bank with provocative wonder. The botanist and photographer produced a marriage of sustainability principles and illuminating macro-photography. Nine original artists responded to this root idea, opening at the Stables Gallery in Taos for the first time, in October of 2009. Since then something out of the ordinary has flourished: conceptual metaphor, botany, discovery, and profoundly original artistic responses continue to evolve. In 2010 there were 14 artists expressing 15 mediums in the show. SEED 3 promises to be equally enthralling.
There seems to be a mystery about how 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 co-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."
During the show an entire room is dedicated to engaging all five senses, so that information can be synthesized in multiple ways. Groups of children from all over the Taos School 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 annual SEED Shows have a far reaching potential. A desire to inspire SEED nationally is making headway . Seeds are wealth: they are free, they are the embodiment of hope.
What is your SEED idea?