Fellow: Libby Falk Jones
Residency Dates: 2/14/12 - 3/4/12
Discipline: Poet and Photographer
My Hambidge residency was an immensely fruitful experience. I’ve identified several important components of this richly-creative time:
The welcoming, nurturing environment. This was expressed through language – “honored guest” appeared in several documents – and through the friendly smiles and greetings from staff members, the delicious food, the thoughtful supplying of equipment and living needs in the studio. Even Mr. Big and the dogs always seemed happy to see me! I felt treasured, not peripheral or an imposition. What a difference that makes to the flowering of creativity! Creativity grows from abundance, not scarcity; Hambidge is a place of abundance and appreciation.
Solitude. I used my time alone to read, write, and do art (photography and brush painting), and to look out my window, think, and dream. Not only did I accomplish a great deal of work on a variety of writing projects, I got new ideas that will fuel my work for the next several months. My residency was a period of incubation: a time when my mind was both focused and relaxed, where I could be receptive to odd ideas coming at unexpected times. A line for a new poem, for instance, or an image for a piece I’d begun previously, might come to me when I was taking notes on an essay on two women artists. Being at Hambidge freed me up from the chaos and noise of organized life – not only was I not interrupted, I knew I wouldn’t be interrupted – so that I could listen to new voices within and without.
Immersion in nature. For artists generally, and for me in particular, nature is an important wellspring of creativity. I loved living with only a thin skin between me and the natural world. The huge windows and skylight in Cove Studio made me feel always within nature. I walked every day, often several different times (and even in the rain!), sometimes with camera but many times not, and I always discovered natural elements new to me. I loved my increasing familiarity with my immediate environment – I was able to notice tiny changes as the weather shifted and spring began to emerge. Being able to be immediately in nature – tossing on a jacket and just walking out my door, without encountering a primarily-human landscape – was a great joy. What I saw and heard, the language that developed in my body and mind as I walked, found its way into my writing and art.
Community. The community provided in the evenings was diverse and lively. Our discussions of our particular projects and of art and creativity in general gave me many ideas and opened me to some new approaches, such as researching through art (a/r/tography), investigating subjects through visuals and language (art mapping), and combining music with poetry (collaborating with Martha Bishop, composer, on a song cycle of three of my poems). The studio tours were stimulating through helping me understand particular projects and also the tools and workspaces of various artists. I also appreciated learning about Hambidge’s history and current initiatives through conversations with the director and a board member. Their great interest in residents’ work and residency experiences was evident!
Time span. I’m very happy I was awarded a three-week residency. Each week was valuable, and each brought about a steady deepening within myself and in my work. On the one hand, the time passed quickly – too quickly! – but on the other, the three weeks seemed like three months. In the few days since I’ve returned home, I’ve seen a continuation of the rich inner life and the attentiveness to the natural world that I developed during the residency.
Thank you very much for making this important creative experience possible for me.
Fellow: Gary Eldon Peter
Residency Dates: 7/5/11 - 7/19/11
The natural environment of Hambidge was very inspiring to me. To be able to get up each morning, to look out at the woods near the Mellinger Studio, and to begin my work in quiet, was exactly what I needed to push my project further to completion. As someone who takes a very slow and deliberative approach to writing (sometimes to a fault!), I was surprised at how much I was able to accomplish each day, and to be able to see the pages “pile up” was very rewarding for me.
I found the time spent with other residents on the Rock House porch for dinner and conversation to be equally inspiring. We were all curious about each other’s work, and when it came time to share our progress through open studios and readings, supportive of one another’s goals and visions. In that way, I found my residency at Hambidge to be an almost ideal mix of solitude for serious work along with an opportunity to engage with a community of artists eager to discuss their own journeys in creating.