I recently got back from the Ayatana Research Residency Program in Quebec Canada. It was a great experience but I wish it could have been a little longer. One week is just a tease.
I decided to go offline during the residency, no email, social media, internet, TV, etc. I really wanted to be present and emerge myself in the nature that surrounded me. This residency was focused on research and learning rather than art making. It was for artists who study, are inspired by and whose work is connected with the natural sciences. There were six artists all together from all over the world including Iceland and Australia. They were a great bunch of people and we all got along very well. We stayed in a strange octagonal home on a river in the Chelsea area.
These posts would be way to long if I shared the whole trip in detail so I thought I would share some of my favorite parts.
Time to reflect
Early mornings by the river was one of my favorite times. Although it was a nocturnal residency and we often stayed up pretty late I was always the first one awake. It doesn’t seem to matter if I go to be at 10pm or 4am I will always be up by 8am. I took this opportunity for some quiet alone time. I would make coffee and take it along with my sketch/note book and sit by the river almost every morning. It was peaceful, quiet and a really enjoyable experience. It was nice being able to just sit and reflect. My daily life can be so hectic, filled and busy; I often feel like I can’t catch a moment to think or contemplate anything. These mornings alone were really special to me.
Making bat detectors was so cool. I don’t really shy away from technical projects but I don’t seek them out either. It was terrific to do something totally different. Working with capacitors, resistors, soldering irons and circuit boards was pretty fun. Our teacher Michael Grant of Krazatchu Design Systems was great and very patient. It was satisfying to make something (that actually worked) and be able to use it in the field.
I had never heard of sound healing before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I found out that we were going to have a sound healing session. I was a bit skeptical but open minded. It was a really incredible experience though. It’s hard to describe but it was very relaxing and meditative. The sound healer used crystal bowls along with chanting to create different tones and vibrations. The session lasted about 30-45 min and I felt very refreshed and open after, everyone had a different and intense experience with the session.
Ok, that’s it’s for this post. Next week I will share more including impromptu cyanotype making in the rain and visiting an artist who makes all of his own paints and dyes out of materials like soot and crushed bone.
One last shot of me, in addition to enjoying the river each morning I also swam in it. It was fun but freezing.