Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We are presently getting ready for an exciting event to be held onsite where my studio is. This is a joyful event ...the stress is not there that comes with a show where things must be done to exacting standards and deadlines. 
Which is not to say that this weekend has been conceived, planned and prepared for without care and attention ... but it is very different when you can trawl your draws and find things that you have forgotten about and share them ... chronology goes out the window and in comes a more rapturous kind of musing and ad hoc approach. 

This morning started with a visit to Brewbakers in Sandgate Rd, Albion ... who really are the reason this research trip became a reality. Their decision to support my project  led to being approved by the Australia Cultural Fund and since then things have been steaming ahead.

This image below from Brewbakers features on my slideshow 'Homage to the Seed'... and the text on the right comes from a wonderful book published late last year called " Seeds, Sex and Civilisation" by Peter Thompson who worked at Kew Gardens throughout his career.  I cant recommend this book highly enough of you want to look at the grand sweep of the history of cultivated plants and their connection to civilisations.

This slideshow that I have been presenting in the last couple of months features the story of this artisanal bakery and links their contemporary venture with the age old art of bread-making .... wheat certainly being (one of) the oldest forms of plant cultivation for food we have on the planet.

My interest in Ethnobotany - or the human relationship to plants - goes back a long way and it's been fascinating to observe the way this Bakery cafe is indeed embedded in the community. Friendships have formed here and connections are nourished daily over the counter and at the tables of this convivial venue. The sourdoughs and wonderful products that are produced here are nourishing on many levels.

Organic flour from Queensland, Olive Oil from the nearby Darling Downs, eggs delivered from a local supplier and so on. To read the history of flour alone is a huge undertaking... ditto baking! This week if you buy your bread there you are likely to have a small note like this one below taped to your brown paper bag... 

 I think it is a wonderful affirmation for an artist to have this circle of connection between an artisan, the local community and this project on seeds! Huge thanks to Richard and Caroline - she with the very clever idea to spread the word about the Art Sale on bread bags this week! 
Caroline recently told me of her years in the Fashion Industry ... travelling to China to see manufacturing processes - especially relating to colour and dyes. Reeling in concern at the production values her thoughts turned to the critical need for organic processes in that industry... and reinforce her own conviction in this current business.

Before too long I want to document the story behind this Bakery for my project ... I like the way stories involve personal histories and passions and go beyond facts and figures to offer insight into how we can build a life around values of sustainability and biodiversity through the committment we bring to such endeavors. 
People like Richard, working ungodly hours to put this much praised artisanal product on the shelf each day... and Caroline with her endless task of overseeing other aspects of a very busy and successful business... are heros in our community as far as I am concerned, holding out for values anyone devoted to authentic practices understands. 
There is no comparison between a light white loaf from the supermarket  and a weighty sourdough from the shelves of a place like this.  Nutrition... taste...origin of the ingredients... all are accounted for here! Here's to many more businesses and ventures following the lead of this enterprise!

Read this post for more info on the weekend event... and if you live in Brisbane do come and say hello!

Dont forget my book is available  - on the weekend you can  pick up a copy in person or contact me about having it posted to your door!

Yesterday I blogged about the artwork I've been getting ready for the event .... here's a couple of the new things I now have available.

These four works are each 45 cm x 45 cm square ... composed of works on paper or fabric that have been collaged onto canvas. Ive had a wonderful week assembling and realising images in this way.
Its been incredibly revitalising... I think because I've had these ready to work with in the studio for ages and finally the momentum to focus on smaller collaged works.

The studio is swimming in material I could do something with and it heightens my awareness of the wealth of ideas that are running through this work and informing Homage to the Seed.

Text from my other blog:

Out of the blue is this oval which I was working on last year ...then came to a stand still. It featured seed capsules from rainforest plants... cross sections of the capsules to be precise. Yet in this work the pods kept 'busting into flower'... as they do! It was most unsettling ... and I left off. Last night I had another lash at it and now it seems resolved.... 

Well... less than a month now to when i depart for the Millennium Seed Bank and this exciting trip.  I've had some wonderful, wonderful messages of support and good wishes in the last few weeks... so many to thank I must say.... that will be an important  task for next week.

BUT ... before I dash off ...

today, in the mail, came a most generous money order from a true Seed Queen in Brisbane ... Gracias Denise ... she stars in my most popular Homage to the Seed blog post from last year!


Huge thanks also to Caroline and Richard ... and friends and family for seriously heart-warming support!
You're the best!!!


Shell said...

How wonderful! This bakery connection is really interesting and so great. From seed/gardening/nurturing/harvesting to food...plants are what sustain us. I hope we can pop in this weekend between family commitments. I will do my best! Cheers and have fun!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Shell!
.. its a fantastic symbolic link across millennia .... all too easy to separate plants into categories that imply high and low integrity ... I'm interested in how many ways one can approach the realm of seeds. Its impossible any more to not see how each thing is interacting with and affecting every other thing.

Hope to see you on the weekend if you find a space to pop over!
good to hear from you,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an update. I am so excited and inspired. I love how interconnected we all are in this world. Simply lovely post and as for the art. spectacular. Your seeds are blossoming and it is wonderful!

Sophie Munns said...

You're the best encourager Mary!
People will think i have you on a retainer given the frequency of your generosity of spirit! Life is so much better with shared energy from lovely friends.... I have to say that right now!
Yes... how connected everything is... and at this moment i am resale experiencing that.

Always..a big thanks to you my friend!

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh Sophie, you have an amazing story here. i too love the connection we all have to the seed. And how as an abstract form it is so important and magical. Love your prints as well... roxanne

Sophie Munns said...

loved your comment roxanne... so many of us have a strong connections to seeds ...

much appreciated... will be visiting soon... in the blogosphere that is..see you!

Velma said...

sophie, when you get done with this amazing weekend, i want a copy of your book!

Sophie Munns said...

Absolutely Velma!
monday now and i can say all went really well... better than I imagined in fact... and for the garden afternoon tea the weather behaved beautifully despite how the days looked!

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