By Heather Allen Hietala
The vessel in all its many forms is my muse. A seed by nature is a vessel containing it’s own history of where it came from and what it can become. In my work I am continually exploring the idea of a journey, using the shape and image of a vessel. A boat is a vessel and symbolizes a journey. A vessel can symbolize self. I view the vessel as a metaphor of interior and exterior, of containment, of transport and journey, and as a tool like the boat or tatting shuttle, with the ability to create. It is both universal and personal. In “Seed,” I use open-pollinated, non-GMO Edisto 47 Melon seeds from Sow True Seed in Asheville, NC. I chose a seed whose shape is reminiscent of a vessel. The book traces the journey of a seed as it falls to the ground, lays dormant, sprouts, emerges and then lets go to start the cycle all over again. I chose an open pollinated non-GMO seed, one that is true to itself so that it’s offspring will be true to itself and the cycle of regeneration is natural and ongoing. The visual story uses no words but actual seeds and thread to illustrate the regenerative cycle of life that begins with a simple little seed.
“Seed” is inspired by the idea of what a true (i.e. heirloom) seed is and what they represent. The shape of the Edisto Melon seed that I chose as my subject inspired the shape of the book when open. The walnut dye and tea used on my handmade paper for the covers reflect the natural tones of the seeds. The translucent nature of the gut allows the seeds to appear to be held in space as they fall, the thread alludes to a horizon line and the idea of a thread of genetic continuity. The Coptic binding allows the pages to be ordered but not totally encased in a rigid binding.
The book traces the journey of a seed as it falls to the ground, lays dormant, sprouts, emerges and then lets go to start the cycle all over again. The visual story uses no words but actual seeds and thread to illustrate the regenerative cycle of life that begins with a simple little seed.