Wild Blueberry and Troth Blossoms
installed at the
Fairbanks Experiment Farm and Georgeson Botanical Garden on
the University of Alaska's Troth Yeddha' campus
onAugust 27, 2022
photographs by Sarah Manriquez Photography
The Far North Quilt Trail and visual artist Somer Hahm are pleased to announce the most recent addition to Alaska's barn quilt trail - quilt number 37 the Wild Blueberry and Troth Blossoms. Many community hands came together to make this public artwork possible - THANK YOU to our generous sponsors - we appreciate you!
An original quilt block design by artist Somer Hahm, this barn quilt was selected by a committee of seasoned University of Alaska professionals that were appointed by the Interim Vice Chancellor.
The Wild Blueberry and Troth Blossoms design is intended to honor the spoken botanical knowledge of the original Indigenous stewards of this land - the Tanana Dene. What is Troth? Troth is a native species of plant that Indigenous peoples used and still use as a food source. The plants fleshy roots are said to taste similar to carrots. Also called Alpine Sweet Vetch, Troth was the most important food source for the Dena'ina people after wild fruit species like the blueberry.
The Athabsascan (or Dene) languages have ancient ties to the Tanana River valley. Dene place names are functional, rule driven and memorizable and are shared with neighboring languages. The ridge that is the site of the University of Alaska campus was called Troth Yeddha' by the Lower Tanana Dene. Troth referring to the plant and Yeddha' meaning "its ridge". Troth can still be found in the steam beds and flood plains between the University and the Tanana River.
This artwork was supported by the UAF Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension. Thank you!
Somer was the first artist to be hosted by the Fairbanks Experiment Farm as an Artist in Residence - painting the barn quilt in the grain elevator on the farm in five days before it was installed on the iconic red barn.
Special thanks to Katie DiChristina, Alan Tonne and Kieren Gleason of the Fairbanks Experiment Farm and Georgeson Botanical Garden for hosting the project in your space.
Thank you to the University of Alaska's College of Liberal Arts for their support and promotion of this public artwork.
All images by Sarah Manriquez.