My First Artist Residency

This is my first residency at the Home for Waywards, an artist residency for the poor, the off-track and unnoticed here in Tennessee. Since I couldn’t find anyone to join me at the last minute, its a solo gig.

A little background: I agreed to share a table at a holiday craft fair with one of my students from last semester. I thought it would be a good motivation to do some clay work, since I have made working full time priority number one for a while. Not just working full-time, but actually Making a Living, including keeping the power on without interruption, and paying off debts I accrued while trying to make it as an artist. And soon, hopefully, having our own house and studio to live and work in. I knew that putting my art on the back burner might cause further existential angst, so, I agreed to the craft fair.Through an involved turn of events, I managed to have a few days off this week, which is my sign from heaven that its time to make hay while the sun shine so that I will have some things made (anything) to sell. At this point its not even about making any money, its about keeping my promise and not flaking out on Merita.

This week, our little rented house is taking on the name and function of my future artist retreat and residency, Home for Waywards.

I got up early, enjoyed coffee  and then had a productive morning pinching mugs and carving porcelain.  I made soup and toast for lunch, (it just seemed like the kind of food that a place called Home for Waywards would offer) and listened to NPR’s lineup.IMAG0351

I took a look at email and facebook (this place has wifi!  Score!) before I went back to work on handles for my mugs, and subsequently this afternoon have been ruminating over an article I happened to read.
It was by an art graduate student whose thesis contained the major pretentious phrases of the day, and his big idea was: Art – I Just Don’t Get It. I was interested until I saw the entire argument revolved around a Tracey Emin retrospective, and then I started searching for the irony..he’s making some kind of devil’s-advocate point, right? If so, I couldn’t find it, but I’m dense like that sometimes. I went back to making stuff.

And thinking snide comments, like: You might take a look at the cultural significance of a woman using her body as her medium. Can you not even get a teeny bit of the sexuality driving her wording, or the inherent irony? Do you understand what storytelling is? Or did you dismiss all that because she’s a chick, not a dude? Geez, if there’s an artist that is NOT mysterious or esoteric, its Tracey!!!

Modern Painter has an fantastic interview with her, did you think about finding out what SHE has to say? Because, and this is the most important point I have to make today: Tracey Emin says this is art. So, my advice to you is, do what we do when people call their stuff art: look at it as if it is art! That’s all you have to do!! You don’t have to like it or understand it or ‘get’ it! You don’t even have to look at it! Go find you a Thomas Kinkaid gallery, they are everywhere.
I think I will take a nice long walk, the fall leaves are beautiful here. Wish you were here.



About genieearle

I make things in my tiny studio called Claywise, as I try to understand the world I live in, and what it means to be human. I have 4 amazing offspring who are making their own paths, and I am currently an outpatient counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center, where we do expressive arts in group therapy. View all posts by genieearle

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