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Archive for January, 2011

I wanted to quickly share a link to an article published over the weekend with Chicago Art Magazine.  A big thanks to Robin Dluzen for a great conversation that didn’t feel like an interview and her thoughtful perspective on my work.

Catherine Schwalbe-Bouzide’s Corn Party:  Intent and Reception of Social Art.

These are words from the Facebook post by Kathryn Born – Editor in Chief

“Bouzide will re-appear in the 40 over 40 series… but .. holy smokes, what a wonderful, unpretentious artist. She’s comfortable either being identified either as a relational aesthetic artist, or a nice lady who gave you a free bowl. And that’s a wonderful attitude – if you don’t “get it”, you never even knew it was art, just a posit…ive experience with another human.

Social artists – take note.”

A big thanks to Kathryn and Robin.  I have been reading their magazine on line since its inception and have been in awe of their comprehensive and mindful coverage of a variety of artists in the Chicago area.  And… “They pay their writers!” said good friend Jeff Huebner.

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“Corn Girls” Bettmann Archive 1915, University of Illinois Mayfest courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

I wanted to write about The Cornettes:  Advocates for Urban Agriculture in the middle of winter for many reasons.

They are a work in progress.

They have taken on a life of their own.

They couldn’t happen without an ongoing relationship with some amazing women.

I have some thoughts of where they need to go given the recent climate of Urban Agriculture but I thought I would write about where they have been.

The Cornettes started several years ago in my mind.  I appreciated a picture on the back book sleeve (above) of The Story of Corn by Betty Fussell.  A friend, Nancy Little, found the book for me on a sale table at Border’s.  She gave it to me in the midst of a dinner with friends.  I immediately was taken and mesmerized by the images and text throughout the book and of course, the back cover.  Since reading the book cover to cover, at the gentle urging of Bill Friedman – my corn husband, it has affirmed and fueled my work in many ways.

As Fussell writes, “Corn made the whole world kin.”

Fast forward to about four or five winters ago, I shared the image with my mother not knowing where it may lead.

I bought a fresh cob of corn for inspiration on the summer day we embarked on the project after fabric shopping and sewing some kernels together.

Here is mom studying the cob…

Mom studying the fresh sweet corn

We had Summer Sweet completed for our Corn Celebration at Lillstreet Art Center in 2006.  Many thanks to Jennifer Dotson and Mary Zehnder, the first women to don the husks of Summer Sweet to an adoring audience.

Well, I started off this blog entry to talk about and share images of The Cornettes.  But, back in 2006 “The Cornettes” didn’t even exist.  Just Summer Sweet materialized with dreams of more down the corn row.  How did they get their name?  What are their names?  What is next for The Cornettes?  Stay tuned and keep your ears to the tilth!

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