Friday, February 20, 2009

Checking out the Hudson Valley Seed Library

All it takes is a mid-February snowfall (and a hailstorm, yesterday afternoon) to make my thoughts turn to my summer garden. Or actually, the work I need to do to make sure I have a summer veggie garden once again. (And if ever there is a year when it might be a good idea to have a modern "Victory Garden" - this could be it. Or as Michael Pollan said ...)

That's one reason why a recent e-mail from Ken Greene and the Hudson Valley Seed Library was so timely and welcome. It's a great cause, and I'm going to let Ken tell you the details:

Pack Art
Heirloom Garden Images Past and Present

Two Gallery Shows
Gardiner Library: March 2nd- 30th
Opening Reception and Talk: March 8th, 2-4pm
Catskill Mountain Foundation: April 11th- May 17th
Opening Reception and Talk: April 11th, 4-6pm

The Hudson Valley Seed Library (HVSL) is excited to have its first gallery show of original heirloom artwork created for its seed packs. Curated by HVSL co-founder Ken Greene, this colorful collection of artwork celebrates the diversity of New York's heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. The show features fourteen works of art by eleven New York artists.

Art Packs
The artists featured in the show were commissioned by HVSL to create cover art for the company's seed packaging. Mediums include painting, drawing, collage, paper cutting, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and digital imaging. Two additional pieces accompany each original artwork. One is a framed Art Pack, the shape and layout of which were created by Gardiner-based package design company Treeo Design. The other is a vintage image of the variety taken from HVSL's collection of antique New York seed catalogs. Limited edition prints of the artwork will be for sale.

During each reception, Ken Greene will give a guided tour of the show. Greene will share the stories behind the seeds and artwork and talk about the mission of the Seed Library.

The Hudson Valley Seed Library, which got its start at the Gardiner Library, is now a small homestead-based seed company in Accord, (Ulster County, New York), run by Greene and partner Doug Muller. The HVSL catalog focuses on New York heirlooms and open-pollinated, non-GMO varieties that do well in the Northeast. Some of the seeds are available nowhere else, such as Hank's X-tra Special Baking Bean from Ghent, New York; the original stock for this variety was donated to the Seed Library by former Gardiner Library director Peg Lotvin. In addition to an online catalog of over 50 varieties, which includes the 13 Art Packs and a mix of locally grown and commercially grown seeds, HVSL offers a Seed Library membership program. Members can check out seeds to grow in their gardens and return saved seeds at the end of the season. The Seed Library's long-term goal is to offer an accessible and affordable source of 100% regionally grown seed. To purchase seeds, become a member, or learn more about the Hudson Valley Seed Library, please visit the website.

Come celebrate the diversity of heirloom seeds as seen through the eyes of artists!

The following artists contributed artwork for the 2009 Art Packs:

Michael Asbill: Hank's X-tra Special Baking Bean.
Nancy Blum: Gift Zinnia.
Ryan Cronin: Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflower.
Jenny Lee Fowler: Nasturtium.
Ayumi Horie: Rat's Tail Radish.
Dani Leventhal: Double Yield Cucumber.
Cassie Quackenbush: Cilantro
Carrie Scanga: Black Valentine Bean.
Sarah Snow: Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, Bridge to Paris Pepper, Goldie Tomato.
Michael Truckpile: Dinokale.
Cynthia Winika: Calendula.

Local art AND local plant seeds. How great is that?

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