Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Lana Suomala: ‘From the Cookie Jar: 12 Fairy Tales and Recipes’

by Hee Han | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Arts | December 6th, 2017

From the cookie jar - photo by Luna Suomala

hanhe@mnstate.edu

We may introduce Lana Suomala as a Moorhead High school Spanish teacher, but when you see her art, you will remember her as an artist.

Suomala gets inspired by human stories; her own, her relationships, and those she observes in the world. She explained, “I’m attracted to the stories we tell and retell, as in fairy tales. Also, patterns in the natural world, whether it’s the construction of a feather, the changing of seasons, or the life cycle of a dragonfly.”

While creating artwork, Suomala revisits her themes again and again and it makes her need to change medium and mission constantly. “I worked on a series of projects that involved sewing and fabrics for a couple of years. Then, I purged the house of all of it. My daughter had to sew a hole in her dance leotard recently and we had to search the junk drawer for a free travel sewing kit.”

“I don’t think I decided to be an artist,” Said Suomala, “When I have ideas, I feel compelled to put them out there in one way or another. It’s invigorating and sometimes inconvenient. Suppers are better and clothes are cleaner when I’m not on an art bender. I become very focused and exist in my own world for spurts of time.”

Suomala added, “Often, the art chooses me. Sometimes there may be a deeper meaning that I believe is important to be on our collective radar. Other times I want something to be beautiful, funny, or special to one particular person.”

“From the Cookie Jar: 12 Fairy Tales and Recipes” was inspired by the children who are fleeing the violence of the drug war and showing up unaccompanied at the southern border. Suomala has been exposed to this topic in a variety of ways; Lutheran Social Service Refugee Resettlement, her work as an educator, knowledge of how the policies as a nation affect other people and populations, the immigration raid of Postville Iowa in 2008, as well as through friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and also through the news.

“This project is really a continuation of a project that began in 2009. This is not my personal experience, but an act of artistic journalism,” Suomala said, “More people are on the move than ever before. Articles and horrific imagery flash across our screens until we become desensitized or until the news cycle moves on and we have the luxury of forgetting. This project attempts to process these tragedies in an intimate way, a way that connects us to our childhoods, our hopes and our fears. I hope these stories remind us of our humanity, our vulnerability, and also of our shared responsibility.”

Little Red Riding Hood - photo by Luna Suomala

The cookies used for this theme are from Suomala’s favorite gingerbread and sugar cookie recipes, incorporating food coloring within. Suomala explained that they were edible until she glued them onto pans.

“Because they are cookies, they are fragile and temporary, and they represent childhood,” she added, “Each time I see them, they show more signs of deterioration, some with slight discoloration and others with cracks and crumbles. I tried to incorporate elements from the stories to make them recognizable, as well as to show displacement. All of the pans are used and are from my kitchen, from friends and family, and from thrift shops.”

Hansel and Gretel - photo by Luna SuomalaSuomala shared a moment of while creating the cookies; “This project was very time-sensitive, as the dough is only workable for a short period and there is a lot of detail and fitted parts in each cookie. No matter where an observer stood, I’d ask them to “get out of my light.” Sometimes the baking process changed the cookies in surprising ways, both positive and negative.

Some cookies took a few attempts. On one attempt, I opened the oven, pulled out the cookie and said, “That’s a good one!” Usually I’m critical at first. Then, I lost my hold on the pan and the cookie fell to the floor and broke into bits. One family member handed me the broom, another said, “That’s how the cookie crumbles.” It was a little too soon, but it’s true, cookie crumbles. I stored the cookies in giant pizza boxes from Spicy Pie and everyone who came over wondered about my pizza obsession.”

Suomala said that sometimes Fairy Tales are only viewed through the Disney lense or we focus on the “Damsel in Distress” and the “Happily Ever After” wedding. At that moment, she tends to see them in a different view; “Again, and again, the child experiences the worst possible scenario and then embarks on a quest to overcome their circumstances that they themselves did not create. Sometimes they are assisted by fairy godmothers or magical beans. Other times they must use their wits.

Sometimes the endings are happy and other times it is more complicated. In each story, we hope the child survives and thrives. I chose the specific stories because I know them well and because there is the element of a journey. This series began visually but became a writing project as well with the recipes.”

YOU SHOULD KNOW

Bakers and Storymakers: Lana Suomala and McCal Joy

Thurs (4:30-8pm) and Sat (10am-2pm) until January 6

APT Holiday Art Market, 225 4th Ave N, Downtown

Lana Suomala: http://www.lanasuomala.com/

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Policy, not law, has torn more than 2,300 children from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although immigration reform has been a heated topic for decades, the policy of zero tolerance began with a…

I don’t think so. You might be tempted to buy a service plan—also known as an extended warranty—on your next laptop, desktop or other electronic gadget. But chances are what you spend will be money down the drain. Retailers…

Thursday, June 21, 8 p.m.-11 p.m.Hotel Donaldson, 101 N BroadwayJake Ingamar may be best known as a solo acoustic, indie singer-songwriter/pedal steel player. For the very first time, he’s plugging in and is going full blown…

This week’s highly anticipated edition of the HPR is coming straight from Madrid, Spain, a city steeped in romance and tradition as well as contemporary nuances. Ever since I read “The Sun Also Rises” at the age of 14, I…

Memo To My Fellow AfricansScience tells us that anatomically modern human beings started to evolve in Africa from our very close relatives the chimps and apes about 300,000 years ago. We are still not sure of the exact time and…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

Every year the Fargo Moorhead area celebrates its love of food with Restaurant week. Each restaurant involved prepares a special menu to showcase the best of what they have to offer. This year there are seventeen restaurants…

Front Street Taproom has struck up a relation with local record shop, Vinyl Giant. There are two events where turntables are set up and people can play their records. Every Wednesday they host Vinyl Night from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.…

Writer-director Chloe Zhao’s sophomore feature “The Rider” cements her status as one of contemporary filmmaking’s most promising voices. A carefully curated blend of fact and fiction, the movie focuses on the aftermath of a…

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduCome one, come all to the 59th anniversary of the Midwestern Invitational Art Exhibition! This tradition celebrates each year with a preview and awards selection the first night of its showing, with…

Projects have a tendency to take on a life of their own once they’ve reached a certain point. When the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre was established in 1946 to offer other local opportunities for artistic expression outside…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

On June 16, the North Dakota Brewers Guild will be presenting “Under Brew Skies.” This will be the third year for the beer festival being held in Fargo’s Island Park. The festival will feature over twenty breweries primarily…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comAnd they lived “happily ever after.” Many people in the U.S. believe in love and matrimony, but marriage takes consistent effort and time to weather the ups and downs.According to…

Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu“Rev. William Barber is the closest thing to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we have in our midst.”- Prof. Cornell West on the Poor People’s Campaign Co-Founder, Rev. William BarberRecently, I was…