Title: Seed Carrier (detail)
Medium: Italian Marble
Size: 7.5 x 30 x 5 inches
Seeds are dispersed in so many unique ways. The seeds themselves have built in mechanisms for moving about: jumping-jack bounces, sticky bits to attach to clothing, fur, shoes of passers-by etc…But my intent in submitting the sculpture Seed Carrier is to show another way – by boat/ship. The sculpture represents an empty wisteria pod which is floating on water, like a boat on the ocean.
The marble bed for the seed is empty of the wisteria seed, but I filled it with other (real) seeds to indicate how seeds for food are transported, country to country and continent to continent. Sometimes those seeds meant for food (rice, wheat, and the occasional wild flower) become embedded in the earth where they land and are able to reproduce……that is, if they haven’t come in contact with the New and Improved Monsanto Monster – RoundUp Ready-Xtend!
In the Air, A Seed Cloud (detail)
handmade cotton paper, watercolor, thread, sunflower seeds
As a gardener, I often look to the sky. I wonder – and always hope – that water will come on its own; I wonder and hope that little seeds might be drifting in the air and landing in my yard. Air, water and seeds: a unique relationship. I built In the Air thinking about this relationship.
This is an activity appropriate for young students. A silhouette of a child and a seedling are presented on the same scale. Prompts on how each takes in nutrients are provided, and placed by participants around the appropriate silhouette. Some statements are appropriate for both, so are placed in the middle. Younger students will need assistance in reading the prompts. Early readers may use it as an opportunity to practice reading.
For mobility and ease of storage, the silhouettes may be sewn with felt. The prompts may then be mounted on matte board, with small pieces of Velcro attached to the back. This allows the pieces to be attached easily and moved around.
Give off moisture
I absorb nutrients through my roots
I absorb sunlight through my leaves
I absorb sunlight through my skin
I absorb nutrients from the environment right around me
Seeds provide a thought-provoking platform to explore metaphor, which in turn can provide insight into the importance of seeds. Older students may explore ideas like diversity and migration on a platform of poetry. Younger children benefit from prompts offered by objects they may handle to aid in a conversation about seeds.
The materials used in this activity are flexible and should be chosen to stimulate conversation about the different quality of seeds. Written prompts complement related objects and are housed in a small ‘treasure chest’ or suitcase.
Seeds of commonly available fruits and vegetables are matched with the appropriate fresh produce. An expanded version may include images of the plants growing in the garden and/or seed packets. Seeds may be kept in sectioned boxes or small jars. Vegetables may be festively displayed as arrangements. Students may make labeled grids to guess at which seed came from which fruit. Alternately, they may be lined up with small bowls or labeled cards in front of each.
Good examples for fruit include apple, peach, plum, cherry, citrus, tomato, avocado and mango. Vegetables may include lettuce, carrot, pepper, pumpkin, onion, corn, beans, peas, beets and radish. Mustard seed can be paired with a mustard bottle. This activity incorporates touch through handling the seeds when assigning them to the fresh produce. Taste may also be integrated by sharing the produce as a snack after the activity.