I make work that examines how the camera contributes to our understanding of community and identity. I began to think about the relationship between food and identity while working on my series of photographs in Treece, Kansas. I stumbled across an old church community cookbook (a cookbook filled with recipes contributed by those affiliated with the church, likely created as a fundraising tool) and decided to make one of the recipes. It was for a scripture cake, and making it requires going on a sort of treasure hunt in the Bible. It seemed to represent the community of Treece in a lovely way. I baked the cake and photographed it, all the while thinking of the many people before who had enjoyed making this cake as well.
Shortly after baking the cake, I began creating a new body of work inspired by community cookbooks. This work is still in progress.
I began this new project while at a residency in Ithaca, NY, which took place during the time I spent as an A.I.R. Gallery Fellow from 2013-2014. It seemed fortuitous that the gallery asked each of the fellows to create some sort of community project. Thinking about how food we make and share together as families, friends and as a community plays a large role in our identities, I decided to make a community cookbook for the gallery.
The result is the A.I.R. Gallery Community Cookbook, a collection of recipes that were contributed by members, staff, fellows and other female artists affiliated with the Brooklyn-based gallery. The book includes recipes and tips, along with photographs exploring the identities of the artists who shared them. I photographed the artists in their studios, examining the links between creativity in the kitchen and in their art practice.
This diverse collection of recipes could only come from this community. Cooking from this cookbook will allow readers to gain insight into various aspects of the A.I.R. Gallery artists’ lives. The women who make up this community are just as diverse as these recipes: they are artists, bakers, cooks, theorists, wives, mothers, daughters, teachers, feminists, designers, writers, poets and much, much more.
The A.I.R. Gallery Community Cookbook is softcover, 8.5˝ x 11˝, with 152 pages, 82 recipes and 80 color photographs.
The cookbook is available for purchase through Blurb for $40 by clicking on this link. In true community cookbook style, a portion of the sales will be donated directly back to A.I.R. Gallery’s Fellowship program.
Click here to read an interview I did with Les Femmes Folles about the cookbook.