I had forgotten what it feels like to float down a river of melted snow Staring at a blue sky through tall trees
Hearing the sound of the water and nothing else, It’s magic
I travelled to the small town of Johnson, Vermont without a specific project in mind, just some film, feathers, black & white darkroom paper, cinnamon and a Fuji Instax camera. On the first day I walked into a bare white studio and realized my one goal for my time there — to fill the room like a canvas. I walked along the river collecting rocks and pieces of broken dishes, smoothed by the water. I went to flea markets and thrift stores looking for treasures. I found bones and rusty nails in the ground while gardening — I found shiny things to put in my crow’s nest of cinnamon bark.
This was a month of remembering -- remembering what it feels like to float down a river, remembering the feeling of the Milky Way blanketing you every night, remembering what it feels like to be part of a community, sharing insight and inspiration. In this remembering I realized the possibility of creating art without pretense, obligation or necessity and the great value in following your heart.
This all happened during a month at the Vermont Studio Center residency made possible for me by a grant from the Harpo Foundations. It provided a studio, lodging, three meals a day and infinite space to contemplate and create. Having the time to think about my work and having the space to make it was an incredibly free feeling and one that made me very grateful. The experience was not relegated to the studio -- the conversations over dinner, the long walks to swimming holes, the nights spent stargazing, these all were part of the value of the experience, infusing my work and energizing my soul. It was a transformative experience.
The Harpo Foundation seeks representatives of the native community, not to act as specimens but instead to be participants in the artist community. They encouraged me to share my experiences and I connected with a group of talented, intelligent, inspiring artists who were on the same quest. Standing out looking at the Milky Way I think we all put a tack on the map in our collective coordinate log. And in the end, I believe I brought a little star dust back with me in my pockets to keep me going.