Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Vermont Studio Center

So what was the Vermont Studio Center like? 
 Yes, it was cold. One night, the temperature reached -20 degrees Farenheight. It was hard to breath deeply because of the cold. Thankfully my Arctic gear came in handy! The average temperature, though,  was about 20 degrees above zero. The buildings were very warm - they were heated with pellet burning stoves. I have no idea what a  pellet burning stove is - but it was warm. 

This was the view from my studio in the Schultz building. At 3:00, I heard the school children dismissing from the school a block away on the hill. That was my cue for a coffee break. 

This was my room. All rooms are singles, but there is a shared bathroom. In the house where I was, there were about 6 women sharing 2 bathrooms. The accommodations are simple, clean and quiet. 

This was my walk from my studio to the Red Mill where all the meals were served and where the community activities (artist's talks, writer's readings)  took place. In the warmer months, the talks take place in the church auditorium. 

One of the Sundays, I went for a long walk- about 5 miles. 

I just love seeing shapes in the world.

One of the best features of this residency are the professional artist visits. There were painters, printmaker and sculptors - as well as writers- that attend VSC. They give a presentation of their work and provide studio visits if you wanted. I got some great feedback from these people and was so appreciative of their time.
The visiting artists were:

My schedule was pretty simple. I was up at 6 am; grabbed coffee and went to the studio by 7:00.  I set my daily goals and then headed to breakfast by 7:30. By 8 am, I was at the studio again and ready to work. Lunch was at noon until 1:00. I took a break at 3:00 for fruit and tea/coffee. Dinner was 6. Some nights there were artist's talks by the residents or by the visiting artists, as well as the writer's readings. These events took place at 8 until 9. On the nights that there were not activities, I prepared my cutting for the next day. Most nights I was in bed by 10:00- except for two karaoke nights on Saturday. Yes, I sang. I was even a back up singer - it was so rockin' that the locals video taped it. No, I didn't have a lot to drink either. Somehow, I can get silly without alcohol. For two of the evenings, there were open studios. 

This is Aida. She is Harlan Mack's dog. Often she would sit in my studio with me while I worked. Of course, her snacks were plentiful. Harlan Mack is the sculpture advisor at VSC. 

I met some really amazing people while I was there. It is wonderful to think about the kind of community we built in such a short time.   Feel free to check out their websites:
Gila Berryman (writer)
Wesley Rothman (writer)
Jess Silfa (writer)
Renne Simms (writer)
Philip Palmedo (writer)
Melissa Jenks (writer)
Ginger Irish
Stephen Narain (writer)
Carolyn Whelan (writer)

And of course, my Schultz studio mates or as we referred to ourselves, "the Schultz Family."

If you are wondering, how is it possible that I could get to know this many people in such a short time? VSC was such a welcoming place that encouraged a sense of community, collaboration and openness. Our ages and experience level varied and made for lively conversations and connections. We lived, ate and worked together in close and cozy quarters. 

I worked on two major pieces for my solo show in Lock Haven, PA. I wanted to explore a new body of work - but alas, my schedule didn't permit it. I really needed to make some large work for this major exhibit. But, I sketched a lot of new work. Thoughts of combining found wood (painted) and natural wood (tree branches) are bouncing in my head and sketch book. 

My residency ended with a trip to meet Duncan Johnson at his studio - a well renowned Vermont artist and sculptor. I totally have studio envy when I saw his amazing place. From his studio, I headed home. 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it was an awesome experience. There's definitely more than a little residency jealousy going on at this end of the computer. I'm excited to see some of the large scale work you've been busily making.