Thursday, July 16, 2009

Women Invented Cheese an installation by Sharon Siskin

Women Invented Cheese, a site-specific project by Bay Area artist Sharon Siskin, was conceived for the exhibition Terroir: A Sense of Place. Since it related specifically to the Marin French Cheese Company, we decided to post more about this work that was removed from the gallery in June.

excerpted from Artist Statement:

For this work I have focused on the Marin French Cheese Company, the history and culture of hand-making cheese, and also the role of women in this practice.
My inspiration comes from a wonderful poster hanging in my kitchen, made by my friend Deborah Green in 1977. It celebrates the role of women as creative inventors of a variety of cheeses, such as Mrs. Poulet in England who invented Stilton, Marie Harel in France who invented Camenbert, and Hanne Nielson in Denmark who began Danish cheese making. In Northern California Clara Steele from Two Rock (later called Point Reyes) introduced the first Marin cheese in 1857 and began a century-and-a-half of tradition that has created some of the finest cheeses produced in the United States.

Women Invented Cheese re-examines the 144-year history of women’s role in cheese making at the Marin French Cheese Company. Adelia Lichau, who worked there for 62 years, graciously offered her deep knowledge of its social and labor history, bringing stories to life for this project.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


On June 21 at the closing reception of Terroir: A Sense of Place, Jim Boyce and Kris Otis (Cheese Factory owners and Art at the Cheese Factory sponsors) presented a bouquet of flowers and kudos to Patricia Watts for her outstanding role as curator. Everyone present celebrated the successful 3-month run.

The enthusiastic response to this exhibition of 28 bay area artists was a strong confirmation of the ACF vision. Three thousand visitors to the gallery expressed their interest and made significant donations to further our goal of 3 - three-month exhibitions per year. An additional 10,000 visitors enjoyed the outdoor sculptures and 4 participatory events. We even had an artist in residence for one week. Congratulations to all the artists who showed their work in this successful exhibition.

Claudia Chapline, President, Art at the Cheese Factory Board of Directors


ACF has received a grant from the William and Claire Isaacs Wahrhaftig Foundation, in memory of Judith Hoffberg, for funding the summer 2009 exhibiti
on, Shaping Matter, to be curated by Mary Eubank and Zea Morvitz.

ACF has a part-time, seasonal, employment opportunity (August through October 2009, and also spring, summer, fall of 2010) as follows:

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR FOR NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATION - working with curators for volunteer, docent recruitment and training, backup gallery sitting in old barn gallery, weekend exhibition liaison between public, board of directors, artists (Friday/Saturday/Sunday 11-4). $10 per hour. Contact: Claudia Chapline,, or (415) 868-2308.

lter Orion MIDDLE: Sonja Hinrichsen BOTTOM (L): Josh Keyes BOTTOM (R): Mari Andrews
TOP: Installation shot with Ann Weber foreground, Sharon Siskin (L), James Gouldthorpe (R) on walls.