Lavandula loving

Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (formerly Lavandula officinalis) is by far one of my favourite flowering plants.  This aromatic shrub is native to the western Mediterranean, primarily the Pyrenees and other mountains in northern Spain.  It is grown widely in Europe and across northern and eastern Africa, and from southwest Asia to southeast India.

Lavender has culinary and medicinal uses, and is often commercially grown to produce its essential oil, which has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.  The word Lavender is derived from Latin lavare, which means to wash – and has a long history of being added to bath water to calm emotions and relax the body.

You can also drink this sweet smelling herb by adding some of its flowers, picked straight from the garden, to 1 cup boiling water to ward off a headache and unwind before bedtime… it makes a deliciously relaxing tea.

Leaves and flowers, which have a slightly bitter flavour, can be used to flavour vinegars, jams, relishes, cakes, biscuits and cheese.  It’s probably worth trying Lavender honey sometime, the flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make high-quality delectable honey.



On Food & Memory

In what ways does food, eaten by individual bodies, feed collective memory?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this question while researching the anthropology of food.

On Food & Memory is the title for my next exhibition at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne this coming June.  The show will explore food and memory by documenting intimate stories about food histories and traditions shaping people’s memories.

Memories hold significance on a deeply personal level, and at the same time, construct the rich tapestry of social life. In this audio-visual exhibition, I’ll be looking at how food is connected to culture and identity, how it is used in rituals and how it forms sensory memory.

On Food & Memory invites you to celebrate food, culture and culinary history in a nostalgic reflection on foods remembered, secret recipes and family traditions.

Opening: Saturday 18th June 2016, 2-3:30pm

Exhibition: 16th June – 2nd July 2016

Venue: Gabriel Gallery at Footscray Community Arts Centre

The senses and the sensory

A sense is defined as any of the faculties – such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch – by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from inside or outside the body.  
In my current show at Little Woods Gallery, my aim was to create a space where people could really tune into their senses with very simple and familiar stimuli: food & plants. 
In my ongoing research on food and sensory memory, one of the highlights of this show has been the plant installation where I asked people to write down a memory that came to mind when they smell one of the plants displayed. 
Focusing on our sense of smell, I called the piece ‘Memory Garden’ and selected herbs that are used in many dishes and often found in home gardens.  There was sage, peppermint, spearmint, garlic chives, Vietnamese mint, parsley, thyme, lemon verbena, oregano, rosemary and chamomile.  
It has been fascinating coming in to the gallery to read the notes left behind.  There are recollections of places, cities, homes, Bolognese sauce, favourite dishes, tabouli, lovers, parents and grandparents… especially, grandmothers!   
Thanks to everyone who shared their memories, they are simply beautiful. 
This has been a really interesting exploration, especially with my next project in mind, which specifically documents stories on food & memory.  So stay tuned for a more nostalgic reflection.