Span­ish Salt Project

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Megan Wall­gren for Serve Daily

Good men and women who work the land and pass it down for gen­er­a­tions are com­monly called, "the salt of the earth." Span­ish Fork artist Sean Diediker aims to pre­serve their sto­ries and cel­e­brate their way of life with his new project, "Span­ish Salt."

Diediker de­scribed the project say­ing, "I want to doc­u­ment those that were here long be­fore the Wal­mart’s and fast food chains. Those who can’t re­call the orig­i­nal color of their boots. Those who take pride in grow­ing on their own land and suc­cess­fully pass that man­tle on to their chil­dren. Those that sim­ply won’t sell.

"It was dis­heart­en­ing to see the “fu­ture sub­di­vi­sion” signs re­cently go up in our beloved river bot­toms, and I fear it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til we be­come just like ev­ery other strip mall sub­urb. My hat is off to those farm­ers who stand bold, and guard us from that seem­ing in­evitable fate. You are the Salt."

Span­ish Salt will con­sist of a se­ries of artis­tic pho­tographs by Diediker of multi­gen­er­a­tional farm­ing and ranch­ing fam­i­lies and a write-up of their sto­ries by his part­ner Jes­sica Cran­dall. The cou­ple is look­ing for fam­i­lies to fea­ture in the col­lec­tion.

When Diediker pre­sented his idea, Cran­dall says she loved it and wanted to get on­board right away. Cran­dall grew up in Span­ish Fork and her fam­ily goes back gen­er­a­tions in the area on both sides. "I've al­ways loved it," she said. "I lived away for 12 years and it's been nice to come back."  While Diediker will take the por­traits, Cran­dall will in­ter­view the fam­i­lies to tell their story.

Diediker is an artist who uses travel as his in­spi­ra­tion, cre­at­ing paint­ings based on his ex­pe­ri­ences in the places he vis­its. "But I've never done any­thing to cel­e­brate this re­gion," he said. Diediker goes walk­ing in the river bot­toms daily. "It's my med­i­ta­tion," he said. Over time he's no­ticed the bluffs around Span­ish Fork and now the river bot­toms grow­ing smaller and smaller. He wants to cel­e­brate the peo­ple who work the land be­fore it's gone.

"This is their her­itage. They've worked this land since they got here and passed this on to their kids," he said. Diediker called the project "a time cap­sule for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions." When the col­lec­tion is fin­ished, the Diediker and Cran­dall will put on a lo­cal ex­hibit. The fam­i­lies, though, will al­ways have the story and photo to share with their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Grow­ing up in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Diediker watched the farm­land in that area dis­ap­pear and knows it will some­day be gone in Span­ish Fork as well. He wants to doc­u­ment the peo­ple who work the land while they're still there. "Once it's gone, it never gets back to that vir­ginal land," he said. "Cel­e­brate it while it's here be­cause once it's gone, you can't get it back."

If you, or some­one you know are multi-gen­er­a­tional farm­ers or ranch­ers who would be in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in "Span­ish Salt", please con­tact se­andiediker@gmail.com.

Cover Photo: Sean Diediker

Photo: Sean Diediker

The Chris­tensen Farm. Ken and his son Lyle are 5th gen­er­a­tion Span­ish Fork farm­ers whose an­ces­tors came from Ice­land. From the Span­ish Salt col­lec­tion.

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