Butter Village

The inception of this project was formed a year ago during the Thanksgiving season. It wasn’t a single, pivotal moment that gave rise to the vision of Butter Village. Instead, what remains vivid in my memory is a collection of moments and experiences that played a role in molding the concept of the Christmas village:

I saw a carved, butter turkey in Stop & Shop. I remember picking it up and looking at it for several minutes. It resonated with me. At this time I was working on an intense 2 1/2 month freelance gig with my dear friend Jacquie. I was at her house, opened her freezer, and saw little figurines of all types nestled between her frozen soups. I thought this was just brilliant! And with Christmas around the corner, the memory of my childhood Christmas tree came to mind. Under it, my father would display his Lionel trains. The set was gifted to him as a little boy by his father and mother in 1950. As a kid, I would spend hours lying on my stomach playing with the figures in the little, magical Christmas village. I gave all the characters a story. I remember the ice skaters were in love.

butter village
Friends were inspired to contribute. Thank you Ryan Thomas, Magera Holton, Jacquie Walther, Jamie Shultz and Tyler Wright for brainstorming the concept with me.

And so, Butter Village was born.

The hallmark feature of this project is the interactivity and the element of surprise for the viewer. Butter Village lives in my freezer.

butter village sculpture

This past summer, friends hanging on the porch would ask for a cold drink. I’d send them inside alone, knowing they’d go in the freezer for ice. They’d come back with a warm drink but their minds were blown! I host Easter every year and when my family discovered what was going on inside the fridge, they started taking family portraits beside the village. My adorable nieces and nephews looked very confused and amazed. Only my Mother seemed alarmed by my project (and I get that). At the B91 Community Garden Pie Party fundraiser, my neighbors also discovered butter village. There was a crown around the refrigerator trying to get a peek.

Experiencing the surprise in my family, friends, and neighbors’ expressions and hearing the sound of their laughter reinforces the value of the sacrifices I’ve made—forgoing frozen sauce, my cherished Ellio’s pizza, and ice in the summer are all sacrifices well justified.

butter village sculpture2

I’m overwhelmed by the words of encouragement from the fans of Butter Village. Your support kept me focused and inspired me to go above and beyond my expectations for the sculpture. I’m so grateful for your support.

Butter Village brings joy.

I unveiled Butter Village on Instagram Christmas morning. Please take a look – @theglorifiedtomato. Click on my profile to view the highlights.  There you’ll see the year-long progression of the art project.

tagged in art, butter