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.

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