An Illuminated Feminist Seed Bank

63 3Arts supporters
$6,639 raised of $4,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on September 05, 2018
    • 166% contributed

An Illuminated Feminist Seed Bank is a new publication that will tell the story of Seeds InService, a unique Chicago garden project where plant fibers are cultivated for art works, research projects, and public interventions. For the past five years, we’ve been collaborating on this work that combines feminist and ecological concerns with the art of hand papermaking. “Radical craft” is a term we use to describe our art practice because it stems from a rich tradition of feminist craft particular to Chicago. With this campaign we have an exciting opportunity to document our efforts through a book that will serve as both a scholarly and poetic reflection on hand craft and social practice in uncertain cultural landscapes. The book will blend critical writings, research, illustrations, paintings, hand papermaking, and photography. Our plan is to have a self-published prototype of the book available to commemorate an exhibition and garden installation at Compound Yellow in Oak Park this July as a project of the Self Reliance School. Funds from this campaign will help cover subsequent printings of the book, as well as recoup costs of editing, writing fees, and design. By donating to this project, you are supporting a unique artistic project that combines seeds, plants, and papermaking in resistance to industrial agriculture and global patriarchy. The book offers inspiration as well as an informational guide for you to start your own seed revolution. It also promotes Chicago’s history in craft activism—a feminist tale that weaves back to the Jane Addams Hull House.

About This Project

We believe that crafts heal: they can restore us from the hardships of overwork and systematized labor; help us consider the unrealistic productivity expectations set forth by our capitalist society; break the myth that value is determined by number, size, and speed; and create a different relationship to time and means of production for a material—paper—which is industrially ubiquitous, yet environmentally devastating.

In our gardens, papermaking plants are tended and curated each year around ecological and feminist themes including women’s reproductive health and natural healing, indigenous rights and decolonization, environmental racism and climate change, and conflict zones and imperial warfare. Thematic garden beds range from Bosnian herbal magic with kombucha plants in collaboration with ethnographers, to agricultural waste for papermaking in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin plant pathology department. They animate the political discussion on plants, seeds and food sourcing, and create conversations around the complexities of the GMO debates and agricultural and social exploitation of plant production. Fibers grown from these plants become raw material for art works, collaborations, research, and workshops that explore concepts of social equality and environmental justice.

Our craft of hand papermaking stems from a rich tradition of feminist craft history particular to Chicago, including the settlement house and Arts and Crafts movements, post-WW2 GI Bill that expanded craft in higher education, Marilyn Sward (founder of the paper program at The Center for Book and Paper at Columbia College), and WomanCraft a micro-industry that offered creative employment to women recovering from homelessness. Both Seeds InService (SIS), and this forthcoming book project, carry on these legacies and build on them by examining contemporary issues through multidisciplinary projects and collaborations. 

With funds raised from this campaign, we will create a book that preserves, studies, and illuminates this work. The book will feature essays by leading social practice Chicago culture workers, Tricia Van Eck and Claire Pentecost. It will draw on institutional collaborations with local and global organizations, including UIC Heritage Garden, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Art Papers Magazine, Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm, Experimental Farm Network, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Schools for Chiapas, National Network of Abortion Funds, {she crew}, Comfort Station, Read/Write Library, and Northeastern Illinois University’s conference, “Art in Response to Violence.”

We are so grateful to you for your support in making this project possible, it has been a labor of love, and we are passionate about spreading the word on the seed revolution.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Personal thank you on social media ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus your name in the book colophon ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above plus a limited-edition, offset printed brochure narrative about the Papermaker’s Garden ($65.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above plus a letterpress printed seed packet made from plants grown in the Papermaker’s Garden ($115.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above plus a set of 11 x 17 posters from the Seeds InService (SIS) projects ($215.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750
    Above plus a garden planted in your honor with a theme of your choice ($265.00 is tax deductible.)

Melissa Potter & Maggie Puckett

Melissa Potter is a multi-media artist, writer, and curator who exhibits internationally. She has been funded by organizations such as Fulbright, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Crafts Research Fund for her art and curatorial projects including the exhibition, …

View Melissa Potter & Maggie Puckett's profile
  • Update 1: We are fast approaching our goal!
    Posted on July 20, 2018


    Maggie and I can hardly believe it, but we are only $442 from our $4000 goal, and we got there in 3 days! That is thanks to you all and our incredible supporters at 3Arts who generously provide a match to our fundraising. We are basking in our community today, grateful for the support you offer us as makers and friends. Thank you!

    Update 2: We are now almost $1000 over goal!
    Posted on July 22, 2018


    We can hardly believe it: thanks to overwhelming generosity, we are now almost $1000 over goal! With the help and encouragement of 3Arts, we are going to announce a stretch goal shortly. Additional funds will help us improve our book's distribution, and even hire an editor and PR expert.

    Update 3: $677 from our stretch goal and grateful!
    Posted on July 27, 2018


    Friends, Maggie and I are $677 from our stretch goal--we never thought we'd be here! This process has been such a great experience for us. For the first time since we started this project, we are talking about investing in our work in ways we've never been able to before. This fundraiser has helped us think big, and it has been so empowering! You are all the reason for that, and we are deeply grateful. Thank you for believing in this work!

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Miriam Schaer

    • Julia Leonard

    • John Paulett

    • paul catanese

    • Reni Gower

    • Catherine Nash

    • Don Widmer

    • Sally Bowring

    • Dahlia Elsayed

    • Maria Epes

    • Joanna Gardner-Huggett

    • phyllis bramson

    • Mirjana Ursulesku

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Wilber Schilling

    • Julia Goodman

    • Dana Duff

    • Kevin Valentine

    • Gregory W Shelnutt

    • Sarah Beth Woods

    • Michelle Citron

    • Nihad Ajanovic

    • Stan Pinkwas

    • Cindy Rehm

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Rene Aranzamendez

    • Tanja Softic

    • Janelle Dowell

    • John Hunsaker

    • Niki and George Nolin and Kase

    • Melissa Aranzamendez

    • patricia miranda

    • Cecilia Aranzamendez

    • Melissa Pokorny

    • Laura Anderson Barbata

    • Helen Hiebert

    • Michelle Wasson

    • Ellen Izzo

    • Isota and Gregory Potter

    • Eileen Foti

    • jessica cochran

    • Nejdet Eden Unluata

    • Jon Satrom

    • Mat Rappaport

    • claire pentecost

    • Warren Craghead

    • Susan Schear

    • Folayemi Wilson

    • Sue Forte

    • Stephen Reynolds

    • Maggie Leininger

    • Vesna Pavlovic

    • Aaron Landsman

    • April Vollmer

    • Helen O’Connor

    • Susan Heske

    • Christina McPhee

    • Jillian Bruschera

    • Mary Puckett

    • Amy Bassin

    • stephen flemister

    • suzanne sebold

    • Getty Images Employee Matching Gift

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 Additional support provided by: 

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