show, people asked
if my studio smelled and they
wondered how I
'stage' is a large
three bin composting
system behind our garage,
and my studio is on the opposite
end of the house, in the basement, with
only a computer and other art supplies, it turns
out that neither one actually smells
at all (or at least, not
of rotting food).
And I don't
really 'set up' my
either. I dump food and other
scraps into that plastic white bucket
that I purchased from K-mart a decade ago.
When it gets full, which is at least once a week,
I carry the 10 pounds of waste out to our
'active' compost bin. There, I dump
a bucket's worth of stuff onto
whatever was there
I stir it so that
it all gets mixed and
mingled. As you can see, the
bins are square, but the camera
creates a rectangular
I then crop
my image to create
'Compost Compositions' that
feel as close to the
'real deal' as I
in this drama, however. I
source most of my raw material
from Umpleby's Cafe & Bakery in Hanover,
NH, where each week I collect five
gallon buckets full of coffee
and other food
is set for new dramas
to unfold. Every time it's a mystery,
as the contents and light shift
with each season.
a wonderful mix of coffee,
fresh lemons, celery
and some old
how the fresh
and still warm coffee grinds,
generate steam. I also love how I don't
actually know what was in each bucket until
I stir the heaped mass of coffee
and vegetable scraps...
I doubt any
of these will become
official 'Compost Compositions'
as the lighting wasn't quite right today.
Stay tuned for more about
that in a later
can see, this
'behind the scenes'
view of my compost process
is not really behind anything other
than our garage. It's all out there. In the winter,
red squirrels come to feast; In the summer bees and
other bugs hover. For years I've referred to
my work as the 'real deal.' It may be
contained & framed but, like
me, what you see is
what you get..
(most of the time).
Evelyn R. Swett
reframing the narrative in community and with myself, finding transformation and joy in the mess of it all
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