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The Warsaw Voice » Other » June 25, 2008
America in Poland
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Chatting With Martha
June 25, 2008   
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American homemaking icon Martha Stewart, whose photography exhibit opened in Warsaw June 20, speaks with Hilary Heuler.

Your photography is definitely not the most publicized thing about you, so could you tell us a little bit more about it?
I've been taking photographs for a very long time. Working with the greatest photographers in America, I started to get interested in photography myself. So I always carry a camera, or two, or three with me wherever I go, and we have been editing my library of photos. We are archivally printing them with Nielsen Bainbridge, and we are framing them and selling them as framed art as part of my living collection. This is the first time the photographs have been exhibited, so we're very excited.

What is the significance of the places you have been photographing?
They are places that are very familiar to me, or places that I am traveling to. Wherever I go, I take pictures. But many of the things, like a beautiful corn crib and apple tree, for example, are right on my own farm in Bedford, New York.

And why did you chose to exhibit your work here?
Well, Nielsen Bainbridge also has ties to Poland-they're the framers, and they frame much of the artwork here in the galleries and museums, as well as in the United States. As my partner, they asked me to come over here and attend this beautiful show. They're the ones who chose Warsaw as the place to exhibit.

Do you have plans to develop your photography further?
Well, I hope so. It's a hobby that's now emerging as a business, and I think that the pictures are very appealing to people. I have auctioned off a few pieces for charity, and they've done very, very well. I hope to continue to do that too.

About your personal ties to Poland, I understand you've got Polish roots yourself.
All four of my grandparents-two grandfathers and two grandmothers-were born here in Poland. My father's side comes from Warsaw, and my mother's side from Cracow. We still have relatives in both places. I came here about 12 years ago with my mother, and we traveled around visiting friends and relatives and sampling the real Polish cuisine. My mother was a very good Polish cook and I have all her recipes, thank heavens! She made the best babki, and the best pierogi, and the best goł±bki, and the best jellied pigs' feet, and the best barszcz. I think my mother's cooking was really superb. I grew up with all these dishes.

So would you say that Poland has figured strongly in your life?
Well, yes! I love Chopin, I love Madame Curie and I love Polish history. I love glass that's blown in Poland-at Martha Stewart Living we have been using and selling Polish-made glass for a very long time. I use that glass in my homes, and many of my friends also use it. I also love Polish linen, and I'm sure I drink Polish apple juice and black currant juice, and the recipes-especially the food-are very appealing to me.

Is this the first time you've been in Poland since your trip 12 years ago? How does it feel to be back in Warsaw?
This is the first time I've been back. Things have changed, it has become a much more cosmopolitan city, and there's a lot of activity going on that was not going on when I was here the last time. But I ate at the Belvedere Restaurant today in the Royal Łazienki Park, and that's pretty much the same. It's maybe a little bit more formal than it was 12 years ago, but still very good. I hope I have a little bit of time to sight-see, to see more of the historic sights and the parks, and to get a view of Warsaw today.
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