Monday, April 12, 2010

More and more surprises

Last night, I found out that an artist will be coming on Tuesday to stay at the house until Friday. I was taken by surprise, but went about my day today as I had planned: a big, fat lazy Sunday. Got up around 7:30am, did laundry (which took about 2.5 hours in the machine--clearly, I have not figured out this new contraption) and hung it to dry, cleaned a little in anticipation of this man's stay, and even found grease to oil my very squeaky bedroom door. I waited until 1pm for the supermarket to open so I could stock up on groceries, and got some junk food to gorge on, which I did, while surfing the web aimlessly. I was upstairs in the bathroom when I heard a noise that sounded like knocking.

And what do you know! Eleanor, the artist who used to be the studio manager at Flax, and now rents a room in the house, was at the door. I had no idea she was coming today. Apparently she was supposed to come on Friday but came a little later. Thank goodness I was somewhat decent and had done most of my dishes. But it's weird going from having a space alone to sharing space (esp when I only found out about this part of the deal when I arrived). I have a feeling this will not be the kind of residency where I make a whole lot of work. Eleanor said that most of the int'l artists make their most interesting work afterwards. I doubt I will be an exception.

But she invited me along to see a friend, whose friend was playing today in a band. I don't remember the name of the venue, or the band, but it was a 6-woman Irish band. The venue was freezing, and afterwards Eleanor and I went to a pub to get some dinner. Then to another one to get a beer. We sat outside so she could smoke, so we were cold when we got home. She's turned in for the night but I am still processing--she knows SO MUCH. I love her view of Belfast, as she is also an outsider, from Ireland (the Republic). She does community art and is working with the Travellers, a nomadic minority on the island. She knows tons about all sorts of things, and while we swapped respective weirdness about our home countries, she asked why Americans were so against the health care bill. I had no good answers for her. I also talked about how everything these days makes me so sad: Poland's loss, uproar in Kyrgyzstan, being here and feeling the tension. But also about how to work through that. She said she still remembers my brick wall images and I was like, that's the problem! It's been four years since I made that piece, and it's all people want from me. If I just kept making paper brick walls, maybe I would be "successful" but I know there's more. But it's taking forever to push through. I read this today and it kind of made me feel like, okay, it's not just me (though obviously I am NOT trying to compare myself with Josh Ritter but I really admire how he worked super hard to do what he was passionate about doing, and is making a living doing exactly that).

And speaking of Oberlin (he and I were in the same graduating class), this very lovely exhibit is now open there, with one of my favorite books. And I have a lead on some papermaking that will be going down this coming weekend in Bangor at a printshop (whose residency looks nice! Printmakers, take note!) that has had some exposure to basic papermaking, through Pyramid Atlantic and Gretchen Schermerhorn.

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