The Royal Breadshow
at Axle Contemporary and SITE Santa Fe
Our installation at SITE Santa Fe, The Royal Breadshow, honors bread, bakers, ceramic artists and writers. For over two millennia, in many parts of the world, special breads have been used as an important part of celebration. In many traditions, hidden inside these special loaves, sometimes called king’s cakes, is a small object of symbolic value. The bread is sliced and one lucky person gains certain rights and responsibilities associated with the hidden object. Ceramics, like bread, utilizes heat to transform it into a new and remarkable state of being. Ceramics range from simple utilitarian objects to artistic exaltations of the human creative spirit. Both bread and ceramics rely heavily on the hands of the maker. As we work with our hands we also work with our minds. We find meaning in work, celebration, ritual, and the joy of making. Our great gift, the ability to communicate and share with each other both simple information and our most profound thoughts allows and supports our ever greater exchanges and possibilities. Like bread and ceramics, our roots are humble and our potentials are endless.
In May, 2014, Axle Contemporary presented an exhibition of miniature porcelain sculptures by members of our community. The sculptures were then be distributed to local bakeries who baked them into special loaves. Each loaf was accompanied by a crown with a special laudatory word and writings about bread. Proceeds from the sales of loaves will be donated to local organizations that feed the hungry. A book, The Royal Breadshow, documenting and celebrating the project, has been published by Axle Contemporary Press. Visit our Royal Breadshow page to learn more.
Our 5 bakeries each made loaves for this project. Each loaf has one of the miniature porcelain sculptures baked inside, made by one of our 269 participating artists. Accompanying each loaf is a special paper crown with a laudatory word (just for you!) and writings on bread selected from our 57 participating writers. A portion of the proceeds from sales has been donated to the Food Depot to help feed hungry people in Santa Fe.
For over two millennia, in many parts of the world, special breads have been used as a vehicle for a call to celebration. Hidden inside these loaves is a small object of symbolic value. When the loaf is portioned, the one who receives the object gains “royalty” and special privileges.
We invite artists to make small porcelain sculptures. The sculptures will be fired, exhibited in our mobile gallery, then placed in the celebration loaves, baked by participating local bakeries. Loaves will be sold at bakeries, The Farmer’s Market, and in the Axle Contemporary gallery. Proceeds from sales will be split between the bakeries, the gallery, and organizations that feed the hungry.
All breads sold will be accompanied by a small pamphlet. In this, there will be information about these world traditions, as well as poetry, essays, and aphorisms about bread, and a list of the participating artists and bakeries. Each parchment will feature a different celebratory word that represents a blessing, and an outline for cutting out a crown to be worn by whomever receives the slice with the sculpture inside.
Bread symbolically represents life itself and the many forms of nourishment needed to enhance and sustain it. The hidden gifts suggest reason to celebrate, be generous, and enhance our interconnectivity. Artists, professional and novice, are given an opportunity to exhibit and share their sculptures in an unusual act of art distribution, engaging both reverence and playfulness. This show is in keeping with our commitment to present art in unexpected ways to a broad audience. Portions of this project at displayed in SITE Santa Fe’s Feast: Radical Hospitality exhibition, through May 18th..
Thanks to Santa Fe Clay for donating porcelain clay for this project.
The Royal Breadshow has won SITE Santa Fe’s SPREAD microfunding initiative.
The Royal Breadshow
200 Miniature Sculptures
Festive Loaves of Bread
Friday, May 2 - 11
Royal Breadshow specially baked bread will be available May 16-May 25
Opening on May 2nd, Axle Contemporary will exhibit over 200 miniature porcelain sculptures created for the Royal Breadshow by dozens of artists, old and young, novice and professional, local and from afar. Clay sculpture making workshops were held at Warehouse 21, Rainbow Vision, The Center for Contemporary Arts, El Castillo, Zona Del Sol, Santa Fe Prep, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Fayette Street Academy, and The Santa Fe Youth Development Program. The ceramic figures vary from animals to fruit to abstractions. Visit for daily gallery locations.
Beginning on May 17, local bakeries will bake the miniature sculptures into special festive loaves. The breads will be available for purchase at the Farmers Market, the bakeries and at Axle Contemporary. Each loaf will be accompanied by a paper crown with a special laudatory word and writings about bread. Proceeds from the sales of loaves will be donated to local organizations that feed the hungry.
Participating Bakeries are: Cloud Cliff, Panaderia Sani, Intergalactic Baking Company, and Chocolate Maven.
Axle Contemporary Press is publishing a book documenting and celebrating the project with photos of all of the sculptures and a collection of writings submitted by the community for this project.
The Royal Breadshow project was first unveiled at SITE Santa Fe's Spread event in October 2013. Through the generous support of the Spread attendees, The Royal Breadshow began as a room-sized installation in January at SITE Santa Fe's exhibition Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art. The room at SITE includes writings about bread, a writing table, a loaf on a pedestal, live sourdough, golden wall stencils, a clay studio, baker's implements, an antique scythe,a typewriter, a Persian carpet and more. This exhibition continues through May 18th.
The Royal Breadshow Book
Purchase online here or at Axle Contemporary or at SITE Santa Fe
This book documents Axle Contemporary's 2013-2014 project where community-sourced miniature porcelain sculptures were baked into loaves of specialty breads by local bakers in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Breads sold were accompanied by individualized crowns with community-sourced writings about bread: Poems, essays, and aphorisms. Portions of the project, inspired by the tradition of Kings Cake, were exhibited at Axle Contemporary's mobile gallery and at SITE Santa Fe. The book includes photographs of 269 sculptures and 57 pieces of writing about bread.
ISBN/EAN13: 0985811668 / 9780985811662
Page Count: 180
US Trade Paper
6" x 9"
Black and White with Bleed