While having a residency at Windgrove, what does an artist do the majority of their time ?
Good question. But the most obvious answer — make art —is not the correct one.
On the Windgrove letterhead is the strap line: “Refuge for learning”.
It does not say: “Refuge for doing.”
Or, more specifically, a requirement to continuously make art while tucked away in a studio with or without other like minded artists busily being artists.
Usually, when artists are given a residency, they’re required to exhibit a body of work at the end of their residency. In most cases, this works well for both the artist and the facility that offers the residency, because it’s a given understood by all and easily followed.
At Windgrove, however, other than helping to share in meal preparation and an hour or two in the garden, I like to push the notion of allowing the artist complete freedom from obligation.
If one is to be in a residency and come away with new ideas and a renewed passion for life and one’s life work, a nurturing gestation period of contemplative walks and observation is, in my view, not only a better way to stimulate the muse, but a necessity.
A necessity few artists, let alone the general population, are able to access.
Windgrove is no Club Med. More like a Zen retreat for the creative spirit.
For that reason, I have no photos to show “the art work” that American furniture designer/sculptor Miriam Carpenter did while staying here for five weeks; just photos of her more meandering times.
If interested, Google Miriam for a look at her professional capabilities.
What I can offer, though, is one section of an email she wrote from New Zealand after leaving Windgrove. The poem Atavism she refers to is printed below.
It will take me a while to process everything I have gathered from Windgrove and my time with you, but for now I can offer up the initial bits and pieces. As I read Atavism to myself time and time again, and to others (as I did throughout CollaboratioNZ), I feel an ever increasing resonance. I have done my best to see, and am aware that the world has and is happening a third time in all I suspect I will never be able to see. Standing at the foot of Tane Mahuta, I felt my whiskers wider than my mind, away out over everything… and the strength and vibration of the forest stroking my fur. My perception and seeing has shifted as anthropocentric thoughts dissolve into viewing life as an integral part of Pachamama.
Windgrove is alive and thinking. Consciousness is the land, not from it. Your vision is sharp and I have deep respect and gratitude for your ever increasing tenacity in cultivating a rich opportunity for emotional, physical, mental and spiritual enlightenment. I am honored to be the Maiden – for I have three more phases on this journey, and I am rich, content and inspired beyond my wildest dreams.
Sometimes in the open you look up
where birds go by, or just nothing,
and wait. A dim feeling comes
you were like this once, there was air,
and quiet; it was by a lake, or
maybe a river you were alert
as an otter and were suddenly born
like the evening star into wide
still worlds like this one you have found
again, for a moment, in the open.
Something is being told in the woods: aisles of
shadow lead away; a branch waves;
a pencil of sunlight slowly travels its
path. A withheld presence almost
speaks, but then retreats, rustles
a patch of brush. You can feel
the centuries ripple generations
of wandering, discovering, being lost
and found, eating, dying, being born.
A walk through the forest strokes your fur,
the fur you no longer have. And your gaze
down a forest aisle is a strange, long
plunge, dark eyes looking for home.
For delicious minutes you can feel your whiskers
wider than your mind, away out over everything.