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House of Ferment

2015 - 2019

culture /ˈkʌltʃə/ noun

1. The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively
2. The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society
3. The cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc. in an artificial medium containing nutrients

The project is a collaboration with Grizedale Arts, and centres on a collection of fermented cultures used in food preservation that have been collected and used over the last decade by Karen at home. The House of Ferment can be seen as a portrait of the Lake District and of the artist, working as a repository for old and new cultures and as an impetus for dialogue, inventiveness, learning and exchange.

Karen's core collection of preserved and fermented foods (including sourdough, nuka, vinegar, umeboshi and miso) are being combined with bespoke functional elements by invited artists who have contributed to the life and work of Grizedale Arts' Lawson Park HQ, including a table by Laure Prouvost and vessels by Bedwyr Williams and Giles Round. The overall structure is designed with Front and is loosely based on the geology and topography of the Old Man of Coniston, the mountain that dominates views from Lawson Park.

Between July 7-11 2015 the House of Ferment opened to the public at 6 Southwark Street, Borough Market, London SE1, with various talks and workshops alongside chances to try the various ferments. Lunch was served daily 12-2pm - more info on the schedule here.
Guest speakers included Jane Levi, Bronwen Percival, Darren Ollerton and Roopa Gulati.

In September 2015 Karen then travelled to NW Japan to learn about rural Japanese ferments in the village Toge, such as koji (for miso). This trip was supported by the Echigo-Tsumari Triennale and facilitated by Junko Maruyama and Risa Ikeda.

In collaboration with UK-based Polish artist Kasia Garapich, the HoF then travelled to Krakow in Poland for the Grolsch ArtBoom Festival, from Sept 25 - Sept 28 2015. Details here.

On Sat. Nov 28 from 10am - 2pm Karen cooked Japanese brunch with the HoF at Coniston Institute, Cumbria followed by a free Home Produce & Fermentation workshop 2-3pm. No booking needed - just come along.

On 23 & 24 January 2016 the HoF visited Hauser & Wirth Somerset where we hosted talks by local bakers and brewers, as well as delivering our own workshops on ferments of all persuasions.

On the weekend of 24 & 25 September 2016 the HoF went to the Harris Museum in Preston for two days of free, drop-in events.

From 20 January - 8 May 2018 the HoF was at Hauser & Wirth Somerset in 'The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind'.

Karen is undertook a period of Research & Development on the next steps for the project, supported by Arts Council England. As part of this, she led a kvass workshop for Company Drinks (Barking) and at Squash (Liverpool).

The HoF is exhibited in the V & A Museum (London) show FOOD: Bigger than the Plate until Oct 20 2019.

The development of the House of Ferment has been supported by Arts Council England, Grizedale Arts, Science Gallery London, the Polish Cultural Institute and Cass Sculpture Foundation.

ArtBoom Krakow installation, c/o ArtBoom

ArtBoom Krakow - tasting session

House of Ferment, Coniston Institute, Cumbria

Karen learning koji-making, Toge, Japan

Installation view in 'The Land We Live In - The Land We Left Behind', 20 January - 7 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Ken Adlard