We Come in Peas.


In another lifetime I used to work on the Kidz Field at Glastonbury festival. One of the many joys of the job was the magnificent quality and variety of the ambient performance artists.

I particularly remember a pair of extremely attractive young men whose act was called “We Come in Peas”. Unsurprisingly, they wore pea pod costumes and, I think, did a little light juggling with green balls. Unfortunately, I never took a photo of them and despite rigorous Googling I have failed to come up with any images.

But the memory lingers on. I do love a good pea pod.


I have already written about my fondness for vintage seed packets and I’m still meaning to make a post featuring some of my favourites, but back to the peas. It’s the actual pods that I favour, I actually can’t stomach the horrid little green cannonballs at all.

When I was an art student, I worked for Union Cold Storage in the summer holidays when the peas were being harvested. In case, you don’t know, peas must be processed very quickly after picking or they will start to ferment. A blanching process is used to stop this process and the smell is beyond anything I could have imagined. I liked the money I earned at the factory but have never willingly eaten a pea since.


But I do like the pods – the tendrils, the bulges, the splitting open, the dear little stems inside – what’s not to like? I’ve used the images more than once.

These rather vulval pea pods belong to my sculpture “Green Fuse” which is featured in an earlier post: Green fuse.

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I hadn’t finished with the peas or should I say, they hadn’t finished with me. When I was at EKWC in the Netherlands I returned to the theme.


This is “The Price of Peas in Persepolis” in progress. I was playing with alliteration at the time and looking for vegetable themed quotes as titles for my Vegetable Tortures series. Apparently “what’s that got to do with the price of?”  is an expression denoting an irrelevance or non sequitur in the current discussion. I borrowed it from Tamora Pierce’s novel The Realms of the Gods*, which I freely admit to having never read because it is the sort of dragon riding, elf surfing YA fantasy fiction that is not my cup of thick pea and ham soup.


The Price of Peas in Persepolis though – what a wonderful rollicking phrase – it fairly bubbles off the tongue.

Unfortunately these rather limited images are all I seem to have of this piece because I sold it in very short order.

But then I went on to make a whole series of pea related pieces.







See what I did there? You can knock up hundreds if you have a few slip moulds and a supply of nicely rolled out clay to hand.



Penelope Matheson




*   The Realms of the Gods. Tamora Pierce, 1996. Simon and Schuster

About pennimania

Artist, entomologist, grumbler.
This entry was posted in Caterpillar Chronicles, ceramics, EKWC, Pleionexia, The Vegetable Tortures, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We Come in Peas.

  1. Sonny Hayes says:

    So feminine and a little scary for chaps. Fecundity of ladies, mysterious and magical. Very, very interesting stuff. I directed a show years ago, where two very talented women did a trapeze number, they started out as a hanging chrysalis and slowly emerged to do their number. Puts me in mind somehow.

  2. pennimania says:

    Thank you Sonny. Interestingly, I remember seeing a trapeze artist at Glastonbury performing and act where she slowly emerged from a swathed fabric not unlike a cocoon. It was terrifyingly high in the air. Ah, the Circus Field days! Xxx

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