The Spud Nr.3


Together with @ellenmandemaker we made Nr.3 of The Spud!

The Spud is a magazine about and with the potato published by Ellen Mandemaker. It is based on the artist’s findings after years of in-depth research into this sandy brown tuber.

‘When working with potatoes you will inevitably come across them: Lightsprouts. The wonderful, irregularly shaped plants that grow out of the potato. And not the ghostly white sprouts that arise when you have left potatoes in the dark refrigerator for too long, but the little plants that sprout when you leave them in your studio or in another bright space. Soon the first lightsprouts happily emerge, which also immediately means the end of the sleek, smooth appearance of the potato. These plants, bubbling up full of joie de vivre, are feeling up to it and after a few months the potato is adorned with beautiful plants and tubers sprouting on all sides. Meanwhile, the potato itself has shrunk further and further and is now wrinkled all over its body.
The potato’s energy supply in the form of starch, is a powerful breeding ground for the lightsprouts with which they can continue for a while. But without water and nutrients, they will get a hard time and at a certain point the plants dry up, a small tuber produces one last small plant, but eventually this little one also dies.

Their vitality has amazed me: sometimes I discovered on a totally dried-up tuber, a tiny plant that was still being squeezed out. There’s something touching about that, and I’ve often had to restrain myself from planting it as a reward for its persistence.

Lightsprouts can be long-shaped or bulbous, their color is mostly purple or green. They are thin- or thick-haired, have many or few lateral shoots and these in turn can be short or long. The special thing is that each variety has its own specific lightsprout with its unique morphological characteristics. The lightsprout is therefore also used by growers as an instrument to distinguish potato varieties and is one of the most important criteria for the protection
of a new potato variety.

In front of my camera, they turned out to be the most funny and quirky little creatures with a presence that surprised me. Get to know the fabulous lightsprouts of potato varieties such as Picasso, Spunta, Lady Rosetta and the old Frisian variety Berlikumer Geeltje.’