Salt, vinegar… and art


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YOU wouldn’t expect an artist to host a pickling workshop, and yet that’s exactly what Vivienne Bessette will do Saturday.

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YOU wouldn’t expect an artist to host a pickling workshop, and yet that’s exactly what Vivienne Bessette will do Saturday.

Bessette’s presentation, the poetry of ugly pickles: a compost-related workshop, is centered around food, composting and community resources.

The artist, who goes by they/them pronouns, incorporates drawing, painting, woodworking, sculpting, dying, writing, fermenting, and building relationships with plants, into their practice.

“People often ask me ‘what’s your medium as an artist’, and when I say plants they are often confused,” Bessette says.

“How I think about it is that it’s all practice. And one way to practice with plants is to make it into food. I am trying to grow relationships with food, either using something I find at a dumpster or something I grow, or something I can buy really cheaply.”

Bessette is interested in using unconventional materials to produce food. Relationships have been formed with small grocery stores in the city, which provide access to ugly produce that would otherwise be dumped. These unwanted items are then transformed into edible creations.

“I want to take bunch of fruit and vegetables, which might be garbage, and have an experience where they might become food or art. I am looking at pausing something with salt and vinegar,” Bessette says.

During the workshop, attendees will be encouraged to use produce and material gathered by Bessette and transform them into pickles.

“It’s a matter of expanding the concept of who art is for and what is making something that is considered art,” they say. “A better way of thinking about it is valuing other things as an art practice; people who have been gardening or cooking for years, I feel like those are the people I want to make work for and think about when I make work.”

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AV Kitching

AV Kitching

AV Kitching is an arts and life writer at the Free Press.

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