The Lumsden Biscuit
A new social enterprise for the village of Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Sylvia Grace Borda has visited and worked with the Lumsden community over an 18 month period through a partnership grant with Scottish Sculpture Workshop and in tandem with EU Arts Funding (Frontiers in Retreat) to produce both an edible local product and a new social enterprise for youth.
The result is the Lumsden biscuit - a lot more than just a treat!
These edible artworks created by Sylvia made in working collaboration with Lumsden community involved several key development stages. These included
(1) The artist chronicled local flora through photograms, a camera less photographic process that is associated with the birth of photography in the early 19th century. In this process, plants are placed on light-sensitive photographic paper in which light exposed areas are in negative to where the object is placed. An outline or shadow of the object appears when the paper is developed. Photograms offer quite accurate depictions of objects, and were used in Victorian times to assist with botanical studies.
(2) Sylvia transformed her photograms to become the ‘negative’ spaces in the design of carved food moulds. Through trial and error, the artist worked together with community experts to master how to ‘print’ photogram shortbread artworks using the specially made moulds. In this way, she and the community have created the first known edible ‘photographs,’ which not only challenge design motifs associated with traditional shortbread making, but introduce new innovations in contemporary art and food production.
(3) Lastly drawing on ideas of inter-generational learning and mentorship, the artist and the community established a youth based social enterprise group to make the Lumsden Biscuit. A youth group are continuing to work with the artist and Lumsden master bakers to learn about photography and ecologies, cooking skills, plus innovation and business management.
What the Lumsden Biscuit is illustrating is how sustainable rural culture can be achieved at present and into the future.
What more could anyone ask of a biscuit?!
Local residents and the artist celebrating the first making of the 'Lumsden Biscuit,' which was later served as part of a dessert offering at the well-known Black Cat Bistro (March 2016). More about the biscuit's community roots can be found on the village website at http://lumsdencommunity.co.uk/the-lumsden-biscuit/