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Looking at Crop Art

Deciphering the Crop Art exhibit/competition at the 2002 Fair.

You've found your way through the Minnesota State Fair's Agriculture- Horticulture- Beekeeping (Ag-Hort-Bee) Building to the Crop Art exhibit/ competition, and there it is in all its glory -- crop art!

And it's all kinda bunched together. And it's all in somewhat mysterious groupings called "Lots." What are you looking at? [Note: you can get a flavor of the 2001 Crop Art competition on this page. It's a big, big picture, and it doesn't even include Lillian's stuff!]

First: Lillian's work

At the far right and then into the corner and a little past the corner is Lillian Colton's artwork. You can see some of her work here on this Web site, but you'll like it even more in person.

During the fair from around noon until five or so, you can see Lillian herself, demonstrating crop art techniques. Be sure to say "Hello."

Also, at the table in the corner, crop art workshops are held. If you always wanted to give it a try, here is the place to get your feet wet.

After the corner, and then the little bump in the corner you arrive at the Big Wall.

Competition Starts Here

A couple of things to look for in all of the competitive pieces: Each piece has a legend card that tells you what seeds are used to make up the picture. Each piece also has a little tag that says who the artist is and what category -- or "Lot" -- the piece is entered in. There are black and white signs all over the place telling you which "Lot" you are looking at.

Judges have looked critically at all the crop art entered in the Fair so each "Lot" has a first place, blue ribbon winner and more ribbons are assigned as deserved.

Next: Kids, Seniors and Out-of-Staters

The first part of the Big Wall is devoted to kids up to age 12, senior citizens and folks who aren't Minnesotans. If you look closely at the black and white signs "Lot" signs, you can tell if a piece was done by a 12-year-old, an over-65-year-old, or someone from outside the state.

Right of Center: Advanced Amateurs

Taking up most of the right side of the wall before the Center Rectangle, are the entries of the Advanced Amateurs. These people really know how to put seeds on a board. They do very painstaking work.

To be on the Advanced Amateur side of the Big Wall, you have to have won four blue ribbons in four years on the Amateur side. Only then do you become an Advanced Amateur Crop Artist.

There are seven categories to look at. Categories include: Natural Seeds No Paint, 30% Painted, Irregular Shapes, Dried Plant Matter, Tree or Shrub Matter including Seeds or Bark, Special Occasion, Plant Crafts.

Those categories are represented on both the Advanced Amateur and the Amateur sides of the wall.

In the Middle: Best of Show

There in the middle of the Big Wall are the best crop art entries of the year. The Best of Show -- the purple ribbon winner -- is in the middle. The Reserve Champion (second place) is on the right. The best of the Junior divisions is on the left.

Best of Show can come from the any category and any division of the competition. This year the Best of Show is from an Advanced Amateur and the Reserve Champion is from the Amateur division.

Heading Toward the Door: Mostly Amateurs

Close to the middle on the left is another Junior category, ages 13-16. Next is the Novice Category -- people who are taking their first try at Crop Art competition.

And from there on out are the Amateurs in the seven categories (Natural Seeds No Paint, 30% Painted, Irregular Shapes, Dried Plant Matter, Tree or Shrub Matter including Seeds or Bark, Special Occasion, Plant Crafts).

What the Amateurs lack in painstaking crop art technique, they make up for in wacky subject matter.

Then there is the door. But just to the left of the door are samples of the seeds used in crop art. And above those samples are a few more of Lillian Colton's pieces.

That's it for the crop art exhibit for this year.

Also on display in the room with crop art are corn and some other seeds, and the scarecrow competition.

--David Steinlicht
August 27, 2002

[tiny seed]

Crop Art web site ©2004 copyright David Steinlicht. Images on this site ©2004 copyright by the individual artists. Use of these images without permission is prohibited. Questions or comments? Write to steinlicht@pobox.com.