Monday, February 25, 2013

It was big.

Big piles of huge tiny thoughts..
I've been home from my month-long residency at Jentel for just over a week, and in that time I've just let it sink in. It has simmered. But now that I've started back to work at Penland, I feel the need to start concluding my least on my blog. I have Kickstarter rewards to finish and ship (books, y'all!) and of course I will be thinking about my month in Wyoming for a long, long time.

Friends and acquaintances have all asked me, "how was your residency?" and it is impossible to sum-up. I've listened to what I say in reply, all the while still processing, still really putting names to things.

It was big, you know?

My responses always sound diluted in my own ears: "It was amazing...we all got along so well...I worked a was cold, but not too cold...There were a couple of perfect snow-storms, I love Wyoming....." et cetera.

But the 'thicker' story of my time in Wyoming is very personal: "I feel like a different person now, I thought very clearly in Wyoming, the experience was good for my self-esteem, I need to get better at self-promotion, I need to set more tangible goals, I want to change so many things when I go home, I need to work toward having a studio separate from my home," and so forth.

There's no way to quickly relate how or why I listened to a handful of albums (and even specific songs) a million times in my studio. (I guess I'm still working out the 'why' on that one!)

I wish I could share the way my elbow hurt from working so much...just to prove this was not a vacation.
I hope I always talk with my hands like this.
So yes, lots of big, personal soul-searching stuff. That's mine. But the richest part of the experience, and the most difficult to tie words to, is the shared part: that five other beautiful people were concurrently having their own experiences...epiphanies, break-throughs, meltdowns, rough-days, great-days, deja-vus, weird dreams, pheasant-encounters, naps, walks, cups of tea, cups of coffee, glasses of wine, apples, clementines, cookies, and and and.)

Resident tracks. We left our mark.
None of us had a car, and most of the time we were the only six people in the universe. (there were many cows and birds and an invisible porcupine in our universe, however...) Sometimes the six of us were in a snowglobe. This was not my first experience where I felt quickly and strongly bonded with others. (Gosh...adventures range from a 12-year old Michelle having a transformative weekend at CA Job's Daughters Leadership Camp, to countless adventures as a workshop participant at Penland, Haystack, and Frogmans.) But what was different about this residency experience is that the six of us spent most of our time (I think? maybe?) alone in our studios. But there was something significant in knowing that we were all in it together, even doing very different things.

 I can't express how strange and troubling it was when suddenly I was boarding a plane in Denver, and none of my fellow residents were there. still feels weird.

Concluding where I left off in my last post: My suitcase containing my sewing machine did indeed arrive the next morning, and AAA cheerfully restarted my battery, (fortunately it didn't need to be replaced...) and I made it home to this guy, who was very glad to see me. 

oh, stop.
The night I returned to little ol' Spruce Pine was trivia night at the Pizza Shop, so I got to see some friends and eat a good amount of pizza. After a couple of days with no appetite, the pizza was very satisfying. (Sidenote: We came in second at trivia that night, but we are currently in first place in a four-week tournament. This winter our team name is "Nancy Drew in the Tomb of the Cybermen.")

Since returning home, I've had a few very down days, and have fallen into an unfortunate sleeping pattern. (Although never the earliest, I did get up early-ish almost every morning at Jentel. And I only took ONE nap while I was there, and it was the best nap ever...even in a papasan chair!) And I'm ready for spring. Winter is less charming now that I'm home in my generally chilly house, with no Blaze King wood stove.
I have added "wood stove" to my completely reasonable
list of things I want in Michelle's House of Dreams.
 There are all these things I need to do, and want to change. But I have kept up my good habit of writing everyday, and I appreciate that I can't change everything all at once. Right?

Big rearrangement of my little dining-room studio. Ongoing "getting rid of stuff." I only moved into this house in October, so I'm barely unpacked. Future-adventure/opportunity hunting. Looking ahead to planting my garden. Maybe re-opening my long silent Etsy store. Hopefully putting together a post-Jentel Show-and-Tell.

I guess that's all for tonight...thanks for reading! I have a few more things to say about Wyoming, but I'll save it for another post. 

I'd love to have a show further exploring this sort of scale. But where?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Almost Home.

I love you, Sheridan, Wyoming.
I'm in my good friend Heather's guest room in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was delighted to feel moisture in the air when I got outside the airport. There wasn't a lot of that in Wyoming. My hands may never be the same!

One of my suitcases, the one with the sewing machine, has not made it to Charlotte yet. I feel too tired to be worried or upset or anything. It's just stuff. Hopefully it will be on the doorstep in the morning. I have a feeling they may have had to open it up to inspect in the little Sheridan airport, and they might STILL be trying to put it all back together. I had to pack really tight....

And then there's my dead car-battery outside....

OH............gosh. What a day. What a month.

Last night after we had our final dinner at the house, I spent a few hours addressing kickstarter reward prints and valentines in the library. (I do have a hand-full of prints left to mail...I apologize for not being on schedule! More are on their way!) I stayed up too late, and considering I also went on a hike in the thousand acres yesterday...staying up to write 'til my elbow hurt and I couldn't think straight maybe wasn't the best idea...

View from a hilltop in "the thousands."
To the right you can see Jentel, and the driveway to the mailbox,
which I wallked to at least once a day...
Yesterday I also found MOUSE TRACKS in the snow on my hike.
Very glad.
I got up at 7am today, and worked on packing, which was awful. On future adventures I'll keep working in a miniature scale, and will plan on bringing even fewer clothes.

One last walk to the mailbox....
Many more photos of my rug....
Waiting to leave the house was agonizing. Anyone who knows me well won't be surprised to hear that I did a healthy amount of crying today. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Got a text message from Mollye when I landed in Charlotte...burst into tears.

The best news ever was that all six of us flew to Denver on the same flight. For the past month the six of us have been, well, often the only six people in our little wintery it was a comfort to have one more hour as we transitioned back, or the real world, or whatever.

As we arrived in Denver we scattered very quickly. I felt terrible today for many reasons, and here they are: lack of sleep, fatigue from yesterday's hike, general travel anxiety & loss of appetite, loss of appetite leading to nausea, over-layering of winter clothes to lighten suitcases + heavy lifting = worse nausea, and most of all, a SERIES of emotional goodbyes and deeply felt, uh, emotions.

But here I am...almost home to my kitty and kettle and cuckoo clock, three of the things I have really been ready to see again. And there's Trivia tomorrow at the Pizza Shoppe in ol' Spruce Pine.

Happy trails to my fellow wanderers. Hope you have all made it safely home.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Big Horn Mountains at Sunset.

I'm rubbing it in, aren't I?
It's eleven pm, and I am settling down for the evening after a pretty good, pretty long day in the studio. There is tiny, swirling snow outside, and I think it's safe to say that we're all hoping for a heap of snow to greet us in the morning. The forecast doesn't say "heaps," but a girl can hope, right?

I feel like tomorrow is my last real work day. I have a teeny bit more printing to do, (a secret project) and I am going to try to at least glue some more covers on boards tomorrow. I have a list of things I might get to, but I'm slowing down a bit. Because it's time, and because my elbow has been hurting from all this binding, printing, and writing.

So tomorrow in the evening my fellow residents and I will sort of have a studio "tour," or show-and-tell, before we all pack up. Monday we are having our Sunday Brunch, (Because we all decided we wanted tomorrow to work...) and then we're going to work on our contributions to the "memory book" ...although those plans are already in the works. Monday afternoon I hope to do some serious walking, and lots more picture-taking. I may do a little bit of studio work, but mostly packing.

Oh, the packing. I can't think about that just yet.

Tuesday there will be more packing, walking, picture-taking, and library book enjoyment. Have I mentioned the library here at Jentel? No? Well, another post, perhaps....

Tuesday evening we are treated to a dinner, and then we all leave on Wednesday. I think four or five of us are on the same flight to Denver, and that's a comfort. Then we will scatter again from coast to coast.

But in our hearts we shall remain like the women in the below image, courtesy Mollye Miller, (I don't know where she found it.) If you look carefully, there is a sixth person up on the hill with the cows. We think she's trying to use her cell phone.

An evening at the hut of the cow-herdesses. Jentel, February 2013.

Okay, wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I love sending mail.

Heaps and heaps of mail.
Postage confusion sorted, and kickstarter rewards are really going out into the world now. This has been a huge undertaking, and I'll be sending out more prints every day I'm here!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In the studio.

Just more everything again.
Tonight is our presentation in Sheridan... "Jentel Presents." So I was just reviewing my ten little images and thinking about what might come out of my mouth in ten little minutes.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some snapshots of what has been happening in my studio the past three weeks.....
My favorite bone folder, acquired
 at the Pasadena City College flea market.
Many pattern-y drawings from when I first arrived.
I'll talk about this in another post, after I touch up the
floor boards and take some better photos!
Maybe not the best drawings ever, but I can say without hesitation
that I had never made these drawings before.
And that's worth something, right?
Pronto plate. Using both sides.
And then quite possibly making something out of the plates.
We'll see. 
Another plate.
I have worked out a love/hate relationship with pronto plates,
but when it comes down to it, I wish these were all etchings. 
Taking note.
And more books.
And a library book about Navajo blankets.  
Some little light-switch diversion.
Why, Michelle?
Inexplicable structures in the windowsill.
Little huge thing.
It opens into all these 4" x 1" panoramas. At least that's the plan!
A tiny book that fits in a tiny box.

Okay, next...

Just more everything.

Have I mentioned my deep affection for this rug?
Argh...time is running out! I'll be heading home to North Carolina a week from Wednesday, and days seem to be going faster and faster. We are passed the blissfully timeless days, and now I have this itching dread of packing everything up. I have even caught myself thinking along the lines of.."If I use up the rest of this can of ink, then I won't have to bring it home!" Maybe not the best way of making decisions in the studio. 

While I've been here I have been writing a lot in my journal, but have not posted on my blog nearly as much as I had hoped. I'm learning a lot about my many expectations of myself. Many.

This is terrible grammar. 

Anyway, I can tell you all about what I've learned after I go home, after it all really sinks in on my flights. I do some of my best thinking in airports and planes. Don't you?

 Tonight, a few pictures in the house. 

Jentel memory books.
Our horse and cookies. We've eaten a lot of sugar.
Residents residing. 
Puffy jacket rainbow, and flame orange accessories. 
And then this happened. Fluffy new snow with maple syrup
It was my best idea ever. 

Then we put fresh oj on fresh snow, and that wasn't bad either.
Lastly, here are a couple of group photos. One week left, and we all still get along: eating snow, looking for pheasants, watching Downton Abbey, making a spectacular lot of food for Sunday Brunches... I really think we lucked out.

Squinting in the Wyoming sun, our first morning here. 
In the Suburban on one of our weekly outings to Sheridan.
Grocery shopping has never been so exciting or exhausting.
Next: more studio happenings, more snow, more pictures of food, more everything.
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