Apples in Porcelain


 

Drap d’or gueneme, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012.

Drap d’or gueneme, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012.

In 2009 and again in 2011, artist Jessica Rath visited the Cornell/USDA Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva New York, one of the most important centers of apple cultivation in North America. The result is a startling exhibition of porcelain pieces inspired by what she saw there.  Over at Edible Geography, you will find this wonderful interview Nicola Twilley conducted with Rath about the idea for her exhibition, the process, and the results.  As Twilley explains:

“Rath’s original goal was to create slip cast porcelain sculptures that embodied the incredible — and now endangered — range of the apple’s aesthetic potential; revealing the charms and qualities it has developed through co-evolution with humans as a reflection of our own desires and will. During her visit, however, Rath also became fascinated by the conjoined twin of Forsline’s apple archive: Brown’s speculative sisters and successful, selected clones, which she photographed as bare-branched trees against a white backdrop.”

Entitled take me to the apple breeder, the show is closing at the Pasadena Museum of California Art this weekend. Let’s hope it tours to other locations.  Twilley’s edited interview is available on Edible Geography and cross-posted on Venue, and is well worth reading.  I have included of few of Rath’s Geneva station photographs, and the porcelain pieces inspired by them below.

PI 588933.12 (unnamed cluster); photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit.

PI 588933.12 (unnamed cluster); photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit.

PI 588933.12 (Unnamed cluster), Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain and bronze, 2012.

PI 588933.12 (Unnamed cluster), Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain and bronze, 2012.

PI 594107.j5 (unnnamed—whiteness), photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit.

PI 594107.j5 (unnnamed—whiteness), photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit.

Whiteness, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012.

Whiteness, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012.

A Yellow Bellflower photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit. The Yellow Bellflower is thought to have originated in Burlington, New Jersey, and is still grown as an heirloom variety today. It is described as a “large, handsome, winter apple” that is equally delicious when used for cidering, baking, or eating out of hand.

A Yellow Bellflower photographed on the tree by Jessica Rath during her 2009 visit. The Yellow Bellflower is thought to have originated in Burlington, New Jersey, and is still grown as an heirloom variety today. It is described as a “large, handsome, winter apple” that is equally delicious when used for cidering, baking, or eating out of hand.

 

Yellow Bellflower, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012. Rath explained that she focused on the Bellflower’s “fantastic curves and lilts. It was very muscular — even beefy — to the point where it felt almost as though it shouldn’t be called an apple, but rather some other fruit instead.”

Yellow Bellflower, Jessica Rath, high-fire glazed porcelain, 2012. Rath explained that she focused on the Bellflower’s “fantastic curves and lilts. It was very muscular — even beefy — to the point where it felt almost as though it shouldn’t be called an apple, but rather some other fruit instead.”

 

 

 

Tattooed Apples?


Che-appleNicola Twilley at Edible Geography just posted this fascinating article about the almost lost art of apple tattooing and some new, slightly more disturbing “innovations” in designer apples.  Looks like I’m going to have to get to work on a few apple stencils to put on the apples on my own trees.  Who could resist a Che Guevara apple?  A stencil of Johnny Appleseed is a must, of course, and maybe one of Bronson Alcott.  Perhaps Liberty Hyde Bailey deserves his own apple stencil.  I am open to suggestions!

Twilley tells the story of Japan’s apple stencilers:

red bags apples“In 2007, Cincinnati-based artist Jane Alden Stevens spent four months in Japan, documenting the extraordinary attention its orchardists put into growing perfectly beautiful apples. In addition to culling blossoms to reduce over-crowding and ensure regular, large fruit, and then hand-pollinating them using powder-puff wands, Japanese farmers put a double-layer of wax paper bags around their baby apples for most of the growing season.”

“The bags do double duty, shielding the apples from pests and weather damage while also increasing the skin’s photosensitivity. In the autumn, a few weeks before harvest, the bags are removed — first, the outer one, revealing the fruit’s sun-deprived, pearly white skin, and then, up to ten days later, the translucent inner ones, whose different colours are chosen to filter the light spectrum in order to produce the desired hue.”

“As they are finally exposed to the elements for the final few weeks before harvest, thePeeling-off-stencil-460 most perfect of these already perfect apples are then decorated with a sticker that blocks sunlight to stencil an image onto the fruit. This “fruit mark” might be the Japanese kanji for “good health,” as Susan Brown mentioned. Others have brand logos (most notably that of Apple, the company), and some, according to Stevens, are “negatives with pictures. One Japanese pop star put his picture on apples to give his entourage for presents.”

The whole piece is well worth reading!

The Tree With the Apple Tattoo

Also check out this page of successful apple stencils the Société Régionale d’Horticulture de Montreuil. 

triswirl apple tat