Patti Grabel is a New York City-based artist, who began publicly exhibiting her work later in life. She works with a range of mediums including painting, drawing, photography, assemblage, and found-object sculpture. Grabel has made spoons her muse. Grabel generously gives a significant share of the proceeds of the sale of her art, which has appeared at Artiz Gallery and at Bloomingdale’s, to City Harvest.
Play Time, from the Spiritual Spoon series, 2022
Photographed acrylic painted wooden spoon sculpture. Archival pigment print mounted to acrylic.
Size: 288″ x 72″
Part of the City Harvest Art Initiative
My grandmother taught me that a spoon extends your hand, your heart and your soul.
My father would drop me and my brother off at my Nanna’s in Brooklyn. After we had shabbat dinner, we would take the elevator to visit the neighbors who would give us their leftover challah bread and talk about their lives.
My grandmother would soak the challah with cream and other ingredients and she’d take a spoon to mix the bread and the stories. And after it marinated overnight in the refrigerator, she would bake it. And then her neighbors would come for their piece of challah cake. She took waste and made it into something beautiful.
So, yes, City Harvest’s mission is baked into who I am.
I take wooden spoons—these symbols of sustenance and love—and I sand them and paint them white so that they become blank canvasses. I then take acrylic paint and swirl the spoons in the cans. I arrange the painted spoons in my studio in a way that looks vibrant and the story that I want to tell. Then, I photograph them. I have the photograph printed on archival paper and mounted on plexiglass.
For City Harvest, I wanted to create a celebratory combination of joy. The spoons look like popsicles and lollipops and I hope they create a sensory memory of childhood and the happiness of lovely, sweet things.
My grandmother told me that, with a spoon, we can give and receive in one humble motion.