On view: November 26, 2021 – Spring 2022
Hurlbut Concourse adjacent to the Watkins Grand Foyer
Maddie Sinnott, originally from Muscatine, currently resides in La Porte City and works as
a science teacher at Hudson High School. During the pandemic her expertise in chemistry and education led her to begin experimenting with filming educational cooking videos with the hope that they would provide an engaging opportunity for her students who were learning from home.
As an avid outdoorsman, Maddie has always found nature beautiful and fascinating. The beauty of nature provided her with the inspiration for a series of unique culinary creations making baked goods that looked like the natural world. Her fascination with nature on a deeper level inspired her to investigate foraging locally to find ingredients to include in the baked goods. Finally, her newer interest in photography allowed for a method of recording her experimentations.
Having spent a summer as an intern at Hartman Reserve in 2015, Maddie was familiar with the numerous opportunities Hartman Reserve provides for the community. Upon moving back to the Cedar Valley in 2018, she discovered the Hartman Reserve Visiting Artist program, which supports one artist each summer to further understanding of the environment and grow in their personal art practice. She applied for HVRA in 2019, but wasn’t selected. When she saw that applications were being accepted again in 2021, she debated if she should apply or not. Upon contemplation of what she could provide as a project for the HVRA program, she had the idea to photograph nature and create baked goods based off of those photographs. Maddie was thrilled and surprised when she was selected to implement her project!
As a visiting artist, Maddie started by going to Hartman Reserve over several days, taking photos where she found things that were particularly striking or beautiful. She later went through the photos and looked for inspiration, journeying again to Hartman Reserve to forage for native Iowa ingredients. From there, Maddie made her baked creations, taking photographs as she baked, some of which are seen here. These show her journey from nature to the kitchen. Maddie also planned programs at Hartman Reserve where participants made their own nature-inspired treats and learned about making sourdough bread. She also worked with the Hearst Center for the Arts, taking over their Facebook page for a few days to share her journey. Throughout the summer, Maddie learned a lot, not only about the unique ingredients that nature has to offer, but improved her skills in baking and creating beautiful food. The photos displayed document her work and illustrate a unique way to understand the environment of
the Cedar Valley.