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Potato sows seed of inspiration for design student


A design student at Gray’s School of Art is looking to highlight the importance of the potato as a food crop around the world through her final year project.

Beatrice Charnley Degree Show 2016Beatrice Charnley, who is originally from France but now lives in Crathes, is studying 3D design and has created a series of plates which document the life cycle of the seed potato, from the stage of a micro plant in a lab to the point at which they end up on the table.

Her work will be on display at the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show until Saturday, June 25.

Beatrice said: “My interest was in following the community of people working at the seed potato production plant from seed to plate - from ‘prickling’ the seedlings to eating the potatoes together. The industrial process was documented in parallel with its relationship with the ‘making’ community which surrounds it.

“I worked with a local seed potato production plant. They and some of their staff were involved in designing and making plates describing what the potato meant to them as part of the project.

“I also developed the negatives of my own black and white photographs of the journey of the potato onto my own series of plates using a liquid light emulsion process - potato to plate in a new light.”

She added: “Putting the potato on the plate was the ultimate aim of the project. Some of the different ways of creating in which this can be done are part of my show - from growing the plant, to making a meal, to making the plate, or simply bringing it to the table in discussion. I’m motivated by connecting through making - exploring communities created by and surrounding food production and exchanges around the table.

“I chose the potato as it helped pay for my degree. I part-funded my study working with the same people who participated in my project. The community is one I am part of. Through the work I became aware of the significant role the potato plays internationally as a food crop, and specifically the importance of the North-East in seed potato production.”

Beatrice, who has been making her plates using a jigger machine as well as casting and hand throwing them, said she was currently putting together a proposal to apply for a residency which will allow her to develop the idea further.

The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, which is sponsored by BP for the thirteenth year, runs from June 18 to 25 and will showcase work by students of all disciplines.

Release by
Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology