Archives for category: vegetables

The Mobile Garden Dress, part of the Urban Foragers series, participated in the first Eco Art Fest in Toronto during the summer of 2014. This new outdoor festival situated at Todmorden Mills is presented by No 9 Contemporary Art and the Environment, an arts orga­ni­zation that uses art and design to bring awareness to envi­ron­mental concerns. It featured 8 public art installations hidden throughout the site, live music, homemade organic dishes, beer and wine. Plus Public Art tours, Watercolour Painting Workshops, Sustainable building workshops, and Clay Stein Making. The Mobile Garden Dress was on hand at all the events onsite and she also traveled around the city to the Brick Works Farmer’s Market, the Taste of the Danforth and to Queen Street. It’s been a busy summer for this Urban Nomad! The dress was worn by several models whom i met and trained at the beginning of the project. Special thanks to horticulturalists Deena Del Zotto, Rachel Kimel and Wendy Woodworth for growing and taking care of the plants!

Mobile GArden Dress hits the streets of Toronto

Mobile Garden Dress roams the streets of Toronto

MGD on site near the stage at the Eco Art Fest

MGD on site near the stage at the Eco Art Fest

 

The Urban Foragers got together for the first time as a group to share a communal meal made from the food sources they each carry in their self sufficient dresses. The Mobile Garden Dress, aka Madame Jardin, The Nomadik Harvest Dress, aka Miss Cornucopia and the new kid on the block, The Traveling SeedBomb Dress, aka Agent SeedBomb got together at California State University Fullerton for the Ego Eco exhibition at the Begovich Gallery. The day began with the dresses walking around campus and interacting with students about sustainable food practices and also promoting the exhibiton. They then settled into the courtyard in the Visual Arts Department where they set up camp for the day. Madame Jardin and Miss Cornucopia helped Agent SeedBomb set up her teepee and then they began preparing the meal. They traded foods to enhance each others recipes and each created a dish to be shared. The Mobile Garden Dress made a salad from the veggies in her over 40 potted plants hanging from her hoop skirt  and added pomegranate seeds from the NomadiK Harvest dress. The Harvest dress in turn borrowed fresh herbs from the Garden dress to add to the soup she made from the many vegetables harvested from the Fullerton Arboretum. She also made a tasty fruit salad topped with Coconut from the SeedBomb dress. As it was her first time making food, the SeedBomb dress prepare a simple dish of energy snacks by crushing nuts and seeds with a mortar and pestle and rolling them into balls. She also shared some of her fresh sprouts for the salad. After inviting friends to join them in their communal meal, they told stories while soaking their feet in the pool and then later retired, each to it’s own comfy little shelter to bed down for the night. The event was held beside  Richard Turner’s “Wall Gazing Gallery”, a open structure with a corrugated roof with water falling from it into a pool surrounded by peach coloured Bougainvillea trees.

The whole process was filmed and is now available to view here or click on the You Tube icon to watch in your browser.

The Urban Foragers camp

The Urban Foragers camp

Credits:
Agent Seedbomb: Alice Tokunaga
Ms Cornucopia: Andrea Harris-McGee
Madame Jardin: Megan Eras
Artist and photographer: Nicole Dextras
Videographer: Kirk Dickinson
Curators: Emily Tyler, Allison Town
Makeup: Dusty Germano
Support crew: Gaby Castillo, Marty Lorigan, Martha Rocha, Mark Uspon
Special Thanks to the Fullerton Arboretum Staff and Lou Arnwine

Curator Emily Tyler and artist Nicole Dextras with the Nomadik Harvest Dress at OC3

Curator Emily Tyler and artist Nicole Dextras with the Nomadik Harvest Dress at OC3

I was invited by curator Emily Tyler to participate in the Orange County Great Park’s OC3 challenge exhibition with the installation of the Nomadik Harvest Dress. The theme for OC3 2013 is Sun Soil City  was to inspire discussion relating to important topics of energy, agriculture, and community.  Fourteen curators from prestigious Orange County institutions have been invited to transform a designated space in the Great Park Gallery.  The challenge was simple — create a unique environment within the allotted space showcasing the work of one artist utilizing recycled or reused materials.

It was another road trip for the NHD as the yurt structure had to be strapped to the back of a pick up truck. Unfortunately LA does not offer any transportation options other than the highway! The Dress was set up in the gallery loaded up with vegetables and foraged edibles such as Purslane, Cholla buds and Rose Hips. The Urban Foragers video was installed beside the dress and played on a loop for the thousands of visitors who came by during the Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and who voted for their favourite exhibit. Special thanks to Greg Pongetti, Nursery Manager at the Fullerton Arboretum for taking us foraging in the garden! The exhibition runs from September 15 – December 1, 2013

The website also has short videos of all the curator/artist teams.

The Mobile Garden Dress, part of the Urban Foragers series made 2 appearances during my StoreFront, objects of desire installation at the Lansdowne Centre in Richmond. The dress was animated by Nita Bowerman, who invited people to water the edibles in her skirt, talk gardening and then make a salad. If the shopping centre is the new community church then camping in a dress covered in edible plants is a great way to bring people together and bring some genuine connection to the retail experience.

 

Madame Jardin comes to life inside the StoreFront window display.

Madame Jardin comes to life inside the StoreFront window display.

Big and small help water the dress' garden.

Big and small help water the dress’ garden.

Engaging with shoppers about gardening and food production.

Engaging with shoppers about gardening and food production.

Sweet cherry tomatoes; Comparing the store bought version to the organic plant.

Sweet cherry tomatoes; Comparing the store bought version to the organic plant.

Once out of her skirt, Madame Jardin unhooks her bamboo bowl to begin preparing her lunch.

Once out of her skirt, Madame Jardin unhooks her bamboo bowl to begin preparing her lunch.

Picking tender purple cabbage leaves

Picking tender purple cabbage leaves

Community salad; everyone   shares in the experience.

Community salad; everyone shares in the experience. Salad ingredients include lettuce, basil, chives, cabbage, peppers and cherry tomatoes.

Food tastes much better on polkadot plates!

Food tastes much better on polkadot plates!

The Mobile Garden Dress comes to life inside the StoreFront window display

The Mobile Garden Dress comes to life inside the StoreFront window display

Sharing salad with shoppers

Sharing salad with shoppers

Madame Jardin and her friends take a nap in her skirt/tent

The salad has been made and eaten and so Madame Jardin invite some of her new friends into her skirt/tent to tell stories and take a nap.

Nomadik Harvest Dress with Lorraine Matheson Heidi

The Nomadik Harvest Dress was completed during a 2 week art residency at the McMichael Art Gallery in June 2012 in collaboration with the Fashionality Exhibition. This wearable architecture is the second piece in the Urban Foragers {house of eco drifters} series, which began with the Mobile Garden Dress. The design is based on the yurts I experienced while in Mongolia. The skirt is created from a folding bamboo fence and Willow struts sewn into a wool waistband.  The traditional felt outer covering is replaced with crazy quilt of woollen sweaters, which have been shrunken and dyed. The covering contains over 40 pockets that are meant to hold the plant materials gathered by the dress wearer. The skirt also acts as a shelter for camping in cooler weather and it also carries a portable Butane stove, pot and utensils for cooking the veggies. The piece was presented during the Canada Day festivities at the McMichael and animated by Lorraine Matheson Heidi, who interacted with visitors about the local edible plants in her dress.The NHD, animated by Nita Bowerman  was presented at the Sustenance Festival in Vancouver, where we made a soup with local vegetables and shared it with the public. Special thanks to Fred at the McMichael for teaching me about the local plants.

Nomadik Harvest Soup

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I chose this tree because of it's expressive branches

Pommes Maison was an installation I created for the Land Art Mont-St-Hilaire festival in Québec from October 12th to the 16th 2011, where I was one of 10 artists invited to create sculptures in a working apple orchard within 4 days. It was a challenge to find and harvest my materials and then construct my piece in such a short time frame, in all weather but it was well worth it. On October 16, the exhibition opened to the public and I witnessed people of all ages interact with the apple/skirt/shelter.

My sculpture was constructed around an apple tree and consisted of a dome shape, which acted as a skirt for the tree and also as a shelter where one can sit, eat apples and contemplate the sky. The structure was made from Willow branches onto which apples with holes through them were skewered, like giant apple kabobs. Once these were staked into the ground in a circle, the tops were bent towards the trunk to form the dome. I then decorated the top with long apple skin peels, which I discovered one day as they were making apple cider in the kitchen.

This event takes place on Mr. Robert’s land and he has a large roadside store called Le Pavillon de la Pomme, which produces fresh apple pies, juice, cider,  you name it- warm homemade apple turnovers where the favorite breakfast food of most artists. This very well attended Land Art event is in it’s 5th year and is curated by artist Jérémie Boudreault who runs a small theatre across the road. She was very accommodating and supportive of the artists and took us out to dinner every night for fantastic local meals.

You can view the other artist’s installation on my Facebook page. Not all artists used “organic” materials and some brought pre-made things with them but all works responded to the site and formed a engaging exhibition. All the installations stay up as long as possible as many people frequent the orchard and woods for walks throughout the year. The artists were: André BoisvertÉpurarium, which won the best of show Olivier Lefebvre, Steve Jobs Portrait, Luce Pelletier, Toison, Stacy Levy, Bluegrass, David Moore, Ulysse,  Michael McGillisSeigneurial Chandelier, Gary Smith, Against the Grid, Yolanta Sprawka, Mémoire d’eau, Linda Swanson, Pommes de la terre and also with Pedro Mendonça, University of Sherbrooke art student.

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The Mobile Garden Dress is a self-sustaining garden and shelter for the new urban nomad, complete with pots of edible plants and a hoop skirt which converts into a tent at night. This garment is 100% compostable and recyclable. It is contrusted from natural materials such as Willow, basketry reed, grasses and leaves. The hoop skirt is covered in pots containing live edible plants such as herbs and vegetables. The dress advocates for an autonomous and democratic urban lifestyle based on self-sufficiency. During the day, Madame Jardin interacts with people and engages them in conversations about plants, gardens and composting. At night she can sleep in her tent/skirt, unwind and water her plants in a local community garden. Like a true nomad, her camp can be quickly transformed; her hoop skirt collapses into a light-weight framework, her organic cotton tent fabric becomes an elegant dress and all her belongings fit onto her wheeled structure.

The Mobile Garden Dress was commissioned for the Vancouver Children’s Festival and was worn everyday for a week by artist/actor Nita Bowerman, who was usually followed by a gaggle of chatty children who wanted to water her plants and smell the herbs. During this week I  taught workshops to kids who helped create the Eco-Wardrobe installation, which consisted of outfits made from leaves and flower petals hung on a clothesline on site. I later added more detail to the dress and we took photos of Nita wearing it in a greenhouse at Southlands Nursery owned by Thomas Hobbs. For this I created an elaborate head piece out of edible flowers and added accents to the dress such as the collar made from Peruvian Chili Peppers. She was right at home in the steamy greenhouse surrounded by her potted friends. Watch video of the dress in action  here.

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