Recipe-Memories: History and Future

The collaboration that sparked the Recipe-Memories project

It is impossible to say/remember how Jeanne Criscola and Joan Fitzsimmons first met. Joan Fitzsimmons accidentally made her way to Connecticut, via St. Louis, then Chicago, over 30 years ago. Jeanne is a New Haven native. Both have been active in the New Haven arts community and somehow, somewhere, they met through that informal network.

Within their individual practices, Fitzsimmons and Criscola have each explored the role of food and culture. Fitzsimmons in her photographic images of cakes, yogurt, and basil has examined the complexities of the quotidian—the nature of home and her relationship to nature. Criscola is an interdisciplinary artist and designer. Her work reveals the content and context of information in graphical form with devices of human culture, technology, language, and other symbols. Projects that focus on history and culture making history and culture are embedded in her art and design practice.

Oral History: A Recipe for Memory began with shared thoughts on their original experience of the cookbook and collections of family recipes. In Fitzsimmons’ case it was a cardboard box salvaged from some gift, that her mother filled with a random selection of clipped recipes. For Criscola, the facial expressions of women winning bake-off prize money in her mother’s 1950’s cookbooks has been the impetus for a few projects where family secrets and financial gain are traded.

Jeanne Criscola

Jeanne Criscola is the principal of an international award-winning design studio, and a sought-after consultant and advisor to clients, colleagues, and artists alike on a wide variety of projects. Criscola received her MFA in New Media from Transart Institute, Donau-Universität Krems, Austria, and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. As an exhibiting artist, Criscola pursues creative projects, research, and scholarship. She exhibits both nationally and internationally and in the past few years has been in exhibitions in Barcelona, Milan, Berlin, Austria, New York, and had a solo show in Connecticut. In 2008 and 2013, she was invited to the Generative Art Conference in Milan, Italy. In 2013, she exhibited new work in the Netherlands and Germany. In addition to her professional practice, she teaches at Southern and Eastern Universities, and Norwalk College. Her websites are and

Joan Fitzsimmons

Joan Fitzsimmons has exhibited nationally, internationally and online. This summer, 2015, she will have a solo exhibition of her Plant Life series at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. Her work is in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum of American Art; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, CT; The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT as well as, various other private and public collections. She received her BFA from Washington University School of Art, St. Louis, MO; MFA The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently a Professor of Art at Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT. Her website is