I find myself excited and challenged by where to begin when writing about my experiences at Elsewhere Studios in the summer of 2013. So much of my artmaking deals with what remains unsaid, what has no words and the inhalation before and exhalation after words wind their ways into coherent sentences.
Let me start by saying that Paonia is a place every artist should visit if the chance arises. The community is made up of easy-going, fun-loving, creative, resourceful people that value what each and every artist brings into their town. They are ready to engage in rigorous conversations about art and artmaking. Their food is also a big indicator of their culture. I didn’t know what fresh food really tasted like until my visit. My biggest regret is that I didn’t lead workshops while I was there so I could give more back to these thoughtful, wonderful people.
Elsewhere is the gem in Paonia’s crown. For the month of August, John and I lived, eat, collaborated, read, debated, worked and played in the basement apartment where the circular doorways contained us like bugs in a rug. The other inhabitants were equally as influential as the space itself. For that month, Elsewhere gave me a space in which to reconnect with artists of other mediums, share resources for grants and residencies, and not only be reminded that I’m not the only struggling artist out there, but that others are finding creative ways to struggle less.
So, it is in this environment that John and I worked. We had the luxury of improvising with our work schedule… allowing the desire to work be the sole drive for beginning a rehearsal. Our rule was that if one of us wanted to rehearse, we would, without question. These rehearsals were often sandwiched between hikes, runs, paragliding, or cooking and drinking wine with the other residents. This freedom reassured the part of me that needs to plan ahead and attain goals, that is laden with worry.