"I feel privileged to be able to shape what I see into works of art and share them with other people. Whatever the medium of artistic expression, I hope that some of what I produce is soulful and helps others reflect on life beneath the surface of things"
— Helen D. Gunderson
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Helen D. Gunderson dba

Gunderfriend

"I feel privileged to be able to shape what I see into works of art and share them with other people. Whatever the medium of artistic expression, I hope that some of what I produce is soulful and helps others reflect on life beneath the surface of things."

— Helen D. Gunderson

Helen Gunderson - Self Portrait
Helen D. Gunderson 2020
About

Helen D. Gunderson

Helen Gunderson - Self Portrait
Helen D. Gunderson 2020

Introduction

Helen is an urban farmer; an advocate for the use of locally grown food; a bread baker with a passion to share baked goods, other homemade food such as bread and butter pickles, and garden produce; friend to four cats and nine laying hens; steward of farmland in northwest Iowa; photographer; videographer; and author of a 2020 book that had been 30 years in the making. She lives in Ames, Iowa, and uses the business name of Gunderfriend Productions, which she first adopted in the late 1980s while continuing to live in northern California after graduating from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Helen Baking Cooking
1952
Helen bakes bread
2016

Her book, The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era, to be released in November 2020, is a two-volume anthology written from a liberal perspective and consists of regional and neighborhood history, personal memoir, spiritual insights, other opinions, and photographs.

Car on road in the 1940s
circa 1949

Helen edited another book, Rolfe Alumni Perspectives. The spiral-bound print version, published in 2000, is a collection of essays by students, alumni, friends, and faculty of her home town high school and includes many photos. The essays are available on the Rolfe alumni website Helen created in 1999.

She also produced several video programs. Many are posted on YouTube, where Helen has three channels: DCG1918Gunderfriend, and RReveille.

Helen’s most popular post (over 123,000 hits), 1970s Farming,  consists of home movies, filmed in the 1970s, of her father and neighborhood men farming. Her most significant video productions in recent years include two programs created from 1990 footage of Rolfe High School’s last graduating class (Class ActivitiesClass Interview) and an essay about women in agriculture that uses voices and images from Helen’s archives along with images of modern day women involved in agriculture.

Coming November 2020

The Road I Grew Up On:

Requiem for a Vanishing Era

Helen’s book, The Road I Grew Up On: Requiem for a Vanishing Era, is a two-volume anthology written from a liberal perspective and consists of regional and neighborhood history, personal memoir, spiritual insights, other opinions, and both grayscale and color photographs. The seeds for the project were sown in fall 1989 followed by years of Helen’s taking photographs, shooting video footage, recording interviews, conducting other research, and writing about the neighborhood and culture where she grew up. The first volume (344 pages) consists of material completed in 2004, while the second volume (196 pages) consists of chapters written in 2019 and one completed on July 31, 2020, about living in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book will initially be released in digital format for free public viewing on the Iowa State University library’s digital press, beginning around the end of November, 2020. The book will also be available in paperback version in November. The price for the two-volume set of 11×8.5 inch paperback books is $80.

Helen is considering donating copies to the public libraries in Ames and her home county. If interested in obtaining more information about the book, including ordering information, please contact Helen.

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