We constantly hear “eat fruits and vegetables” everyday! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! How many times do I have to tell you? Or… how many times will I hear this in a day? Eat at least 5 servings of each – everyday! Well, when I started this campaign in 2010, my dilemma was: “what do I do with all those fruit stickers?
Fruit Sticker Video
In the summer of 2010, I started an art project collecting all the stickers from fruits and vegetables. Sorry this was not one of my original ideas. I collected as many as I could and added them to a sheet of watercolor paper. At first the page seemed big compared to those small stickers. Then it became an obsession – where I had co-workers at lunchtime offer me their stickers. I found plastic surfaces worked best to hold the sticker flat until I got home and could add it to my sticker collection.
More than a year passed, but I never forgot my art project. I continued to save the stickers and applied them to multiple surfaces. With the original Sticker Art shown above, there are several layers of stickers and multiple layers of acrylic gel to hold it all in place. I often frame my pieces of art work from the stickers and give as gifts. They make a great hanging of art for any kitchen collection of art displayed above the countertops. Here’s what you can do to have the same thing in your kitchen….
Use a 9”x12” canvas sheet or a sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper. You can use other surfaces like art board, foam board, construction paper, canvas board, glass bottles or coffee/tea tins, etc. Remember the bigger the surface the longer it takes to fill it up.
If using Paper or Canvas:
Add stickers randomly – and be sure to add going in different directions including upside down, etc. If you have a lot of one sticker, create a pattern. Notice my kiwi sticker pattern. Use larger vegetable stickers to anchor a pattern or anchor a corner of the page. Use glue stick if sticker curling occurs. Mod Podge (or my favorite – Liquitex brand Matte Medium) works the same as a wetglue stick and is great for larger surfaces and/or sealing to preserve with a coat of matte medium. When you’ve had enough, add a final coat of acrylic gloss medium and let it dry at least 48 hours. Now it’s ready to frame (glass is optional) although it would protect your finished work in a sometimes steamy kitchen. This piece is fun when framed with a floating picture frame (where the paper is sandwiched between two pieces of glass). This project can also be on note card stock. See the video for other ideas and suggestions.
Glass – jars/canisters/etc. are great surfaces for the stickers since those tacky little stickers adhere very well to glass. Follow the above recommendations for patterns and make sure you put a final coat of matte medium to preserve it. This project looks great on odd shaped glass bottles / containers.
Tins – I have tea tins that I used to collect the stickers at work and liked it so much I kept the stickers on the tin. Always finish off with a coat or two of matte medium.
Note, this is an ongoing project and may take a year or more to complete. Although a family of four may have enough stickers to complete this in a matter of months. Don’t get discouraged. Since this is an ongoing project, you get to see the project unfold the more stickers you add. I keep a 5” x 7” canvas board in my kitchen to add stickers every time I peel them off of fruit or veggies. Now it’s become a fun and ongoing project – a great gift for your favorite cook.
A little background history on the stickers:
7 out of 10 items in grocery store shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. Fruit and vegetables do not come with nutrition labels but they do have stickers (PLU – Price Look Up Code) which contain pertinent information.
Next time you decide to purchase that apple or cut a slice out of that melon, consider the PLU sticker. This sticker will tell you whether the fruit was organically grown, genetically modified, or produced with chemical fertilizers, herbicides or fungicides.
PLU stickers that have 4 digits and begin with a “3″ or “4″: produce is conventionally grown. This means that this produce was sprayed with weed killers and chemical pesticides.
PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “8″: produce was genetically engineered (man intervened by manipulating the genes to produce a larger or brighter colored food). This produce may have been chemically treated.
PLU stickers that have 5-digits and start with “9″: produce was raised organically. You can be sure that this produce was not treated with any chemicals.
Remember, 8s not Great and 9 is Fine!
Note: the adhesive used to stick the PLU onto the fruit is edible but the sticker itself is not. The codes have been in use since 1990. Currently, there are over 1300 universal PLU codes assigned.
4139: Conventional Granny Smith apple
94139: Organic Granny Smith
84139: Genetically Modified Granny Smith
Information in italics was supplied byhttp:/rawearthliving.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/what-does-the-number-on-a-fruit-sticker-mean/
In my video I mention the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15… The Dirty Dozen are foods you should only buy organic since they have been identified as containing the highest levels of chemicals and pesticides when grown using conventional farming methods. They include: apples; strawberries; spinach; celery; grapes; sweet bell peppers; nectarines; peaches; blueberries; kale/collard greens; lettuce; potatoes.
The Clean 15 are foods that contain the lowest levels of pesticides and you don’t have to buy organic. They are: onions; sweet potatoes; sweet corn; asparagus; mangoes; pineapples; sweet peas; kiwi; cabbage; eggplant; cantaloupe; avocado; watermelon; grapefruit; mushrooms.
Hope this was both informative and creative for you… Enjoy! And Happy Summer!
Rosemary Augustine – Artist and Author