Video Timelapse!

Borrowed: MFA Thesis Exhibition

This video timelapse captures the entire installation of my vegetable pile in the museum and part of the opening reception.

I hope you enjoy it!

Special thanks to Josh Angehr for shooting this and putting it together!


First Return!

I wanted to share with you the very first documented ‘return’ I received via email this morning from one of our borrowers:


“As promised, here are our veggies in our raised bed. Our Jack Russell jumped on the bag with the acorn squash and it broke… but since it was in a bag I was able to save all the pieces and plant it. What a BRILLIANT idea and project. Good luck to you!!”

And GOOD LUCK to EVERYONE with your veggies! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Thanks again for your participation!

Got Veggies, Now What?!

Many of you might be wondering now that you have these strange clay vegetables, what is the best way to ‘return’ them? I’m hoping to answer some questions you may have, and share with you some options.

First of all, I want to give you an idea of what kinds of seeds you might find inside of your vegetable. (see process info in earlier posts for pictures of how they got IN there) You will likely find a mix of five to ten (sometimes more in larger forms) different heirloom varietals from the following list:

Ashworth Sweet Corn

Bloomsdale Spinach

Blue Hubbard Squash

Blue Lake Pole Green Bean

Chioggia Guardsmark Improved Beets

Detroit Red Dark Beet

Early Fortune Cucumber

Early Summer Crookneck Squash

Light Red Kidney Bean

Long Island Improved Cheese Pumpkin

Muncher Cucumber

Oaxacan Green Dent Corn

Provider Bush Green Beans

Purple Savoy Cabbage

Purple Top White Globe Turnip

Rainbow Chard

Red Russian Kale

Royalty Purple Bean

Sparkler Radish

Sugar Snap Pea

Sugar Daddy Snap Pea

Table Queen Acorn Squash

Waltham Butternut Squash

Watermelon Radish

011 001

Before I set about filling them, I would start a little pile for each one to ensure it had a good selection in each form. Those little seed piles often looked like this:

020 008

Each form is pretty diverse, so part of the fun comes with identifying what sort of vegetables you have once they sprout forth!

If you have a space in mind that you can keep an eye on, like in a window box or plant pot, you can simply place your clay veggie on top of the soil and water it. The moist soil will likely break down the bottom of it first and the clay will get soggy and reveal the soil and likely some of the seeds inside. During earlier germination stages, spritzing it with water and keeping it in a simulated greenhouse environment can really help.


For this ^^ one, i started it in a plastic to go container I found in the garbage.. it was almost like a ‘mini greenhouse to go’ with it’s clear plastic domed lid. It took about three days to see the first sprouts emerge.


In some cases, with larger forms, the clay outer shell will protect the developing seeds underneath, and you can lift it to check on them and spritz with water in the early stages of development.

As it continues to grow, you can add additional soil, or transplant it to a larger pot or garden as you see fit


Here is another seed bomb grown inside along a sunny window, and transplanted later into a bigger pot

IMG_0031 IMG_0032 IMG_0034 IMG_0035

After the plants emerge, depending on the size and thickness of each clay shell, the remains can be broken apart and mixed in with the soil, if they haven’t already dissolved.

OR, if you prefer to toss your seed bomb in the backyard on a patch of ground along the side of your driveway, and let the rains break it down, or simply break it apart on the ground to have more control of what’s inside, these are also options. It won’t take much force to break them apart. Some forms are more delicate than others, as many of us learned at the opening of the show!


So if you ended up with a vegetable pod and are still confused as to what to do with it, feel free to email me, I’d love to talk about it and answer any questions you might have. I understand too that it is possible you might have a hard time letting go of this organic object you have acquired from me. Just remember, the true potential lies inside of the form. If you need to live with it on your shelf for a month before you decide what to do with it, the seeds and soil will be waiting.. but keep your growing season in mind, and remember, it’s only clay, it came from the ground, and it is meant to go back!

Happy seed bombing!

Specimens and Reciprocity

I’m happy to say that my thesis show opening and installation were quite successful! The opening was very well attended and people were happy to participate in the project I have worked so tirelessly on for the past five months!

Here are a few pictures of the completed pile before the opening began, to give you an idea, in case you weren’t able to be there in person.



I ended up with approximately 600 vegetables, and surprisingly only broke about five or six getting them over to the Dorsky Museum. Installing the pile required hauling them from the studio in bushel baskets. And it was raining that day, so you might have an idea of how nervous that made me, considering that they are unfired and the painted juice surface treatment is not permanent by any means.


I began setting up my forms on a platform I made that was derived from a map of the Walkill River Watershed and Subwatershed, which covers the area where all of the materials used were sourced. Here’s the original map and an abstracted one, which I then projected onto a piece of paper 12 feet long, and transferred onto two lengths of 1/2″ sanded plywood, then cut out with a jigsaw.


My intent with this backdrop was to reference the landscape and create a compelling organic shape that would be revealed once the vegetables were removed. I also considered how a long and narrow shape would be easy for people to access from all sides. Here is what it looks like as I started to place the vegetables.


To accompany my pile, I also made a cubic foot of materials in a sealed plexi-glass vitrine, including all of the materials I used with the vegetables, as well as fragments of the fired clay, emphasizing that fired ceramics do not go away, but become part of the landscape. I enjoy how this picture captures a continuation of the pile behind it with its layers.


And in keeping with my show’s title, Borrowed, I devised a library card system for participants to sign out their vegetables. Alongside the pile was a note explaining to the audience that they were encouraged to carefully select a vegetable of their choosing and fill out the requested information in my book. The small library card was intended to go with the participant, so he or she had record of the transaction and understood what he or she was agreeing to.



As one might imagine, when you invite the audience to handle unfired work, there is the risk of breakage. I could tell that the people who broke them were horrified, but I knew it was virtually impossible to keep them all intact, and I wasn’t upset as much as I was entertained.  In some ways, seeing a broken form on the floor might have been a good instructional aid for the next person to be a little more gentle.

057 063


Food security, afterall, is a delicate matter. If you pull from the bottom of the pile, you can probably guess what might happen.

051 052

As the night went on, the beet juice colored veggies were the first to go. More of the platform became exposed underneath the pile.064 069 070

And borrowers diligently waited in line to sign them out.


I really loved seeing people walking around with their veggies of choice in their hands, and talking to people about the project as they went about the gallery checking out the rest of the show.

072 079 065

I would like to thank everyone who was able to come to the opening and all of you who chose to participate in my project! I am looking very much forward to seeing what sorts of results people have from planting or seed bombing their forms!

Stay tuned!