Clearly I’ve fallen off the blog post wagon; rather than the long recap, I’ll just talk about a few recent events and try to do a better job in the future.
It was a summer of a lot of work, good work, but towards the end it felt a bit like all work and no play. Luckily, a few great fall trips helped even the score.
Brandon and I finished the fall chores, got snowed on a bit, and took a much needed vacation. We swung through Iowa briefly to surprise his grandma on her 90th birthday, then continued on to Pittsburgh, picked up some bikes, and rode the combination of the Great Allegheny Passage and the C and O towpath to Washington DC. With short time to complete the ride, we were lucky to find a bike company that would let us rent on one end and drop off at the other.
There has been plenty of bike travel in my life but this trip was ALL roadless – we were on trails for the entire 335 miles – and wow, it will be hard to go back to fighting traffic on future cycling adventures. Pittsburgh definitely deserves more exploration, and I took an extra two days in DC to gorge on art museums. I feel well fed and ready for a winter at my usual distance from Big Culture.
I’m in a break between two teaching sessions at the wonderful Anne Wien Elementary school here in Fairbanks. I’ll be back next week, ready to wrangle mosaics out of more young artists. It has been a great project. This residency as well as mosaic projects going forward are going to benefit from a $1,000 grant I received from the “Awesome Foundation – Alaska Chapter.” I’m using the money to augment the school supply budget when we need to purchase more of the more expensive colors of glass tiles. Yep, red, yellow, and orange cost 3-4 times as much as the other colors, and now I won’t have to ration them. I love the idea of a no-strings-attached, trust-the-recipient, community based grant program. More information on them here: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/alaska
Work in progress by Anne Wien Elementary students
The really big news in my world is that in 2016 I will be heading to Cleveland to work for two months at Zygote Press. The Rasmuson Foundation, a family foundation with the overall mission “to promote a better life for Alaskans” has made a huge difference in the lives of artists in the state over the last ten years in a number of different ways. This is the third year of their artist residency program. Through a pairing of Alaskan and Lower 48 arts organizations, four Alaskans are selected to go out and four artists and writers come up from Outside. I was unbelievable lucky to be selected this round AND I am very fortunate to have a partner organization in the program that is so perfect for a printmaker. In addition, this residency is fully financially supported. To have that much time to work and not worry about how to pay the bills is wonderful. I don’t yet know when I’ll be going, but I suspect it will be in the summer/fall of next year. You can read more about the extensive good work throughout Alaska made possible by the Rasmuson Foundation, in the arts and elsewhere, at their website http://www.rasmuson.org and about Zygote Press here: http://zygotepress.com
This comes at a great time; I’ve fallen away from printmaking over the last few years. I’ve felt a bit trapped by the medium and didn’t really know what I want to do or say with my prints. It’s been easier just to do other things than fight with it. Finally, this spring, some new ideas showed up in my studio. Now I’m ready.
Record of Days, 7
I’ll be spending most of the winter working towards a show at the Alaska Humanities Forum in March, as well as on a 1% project for Kenai Peninsula College that I would like to have finished by early summer. I’ll also be doing some more teaching in April and May, in Fairbanks, Tanacross, and if all goes our way in the funding department, Port Heiden.
It’s been a great six months. I’ve felt focused, productive, and supported, and now I’m ready for the dark season. On the home front I’m happy to say that all five members of Team Couch are still going strong. Brothers Pablo and Rothko turned twelve and Pete and Irene turned eleven this summer. (Four year old Dora is still a force of nature.) To still have everybody healthy at this age is more than I could have hoped for. I don’t know how much running the old guys will want to do, but we’ll go as far as they can. Here’s to art, snow, and adventures in the studio and on the trails, and to doing a better job keeping up with this!