It’s been five years, almost to the day since I last posted here. How is that possible? My last post was this one – a well-intentioned, new start to something that didn’t manifest…until now. All in good time, I tell myself. To everything, even and perhaps especially, blog posts, there is a season. Five years later, (another daughter, a few chickens and five thick, full years of living) I’m doing today’s version of what I set out to do then.
The dust has settled, rather is settling, into gentle patterns of motherhood and I am turning to tasks that lie beyond the ever-present hamper of dirty diapers begging to be laundered and the seemingly endless dishes by the sink. This winter has been beautifully hermitic for me and our daughter, Amber Jean, but now I feel the push to reach out into the world a bit more, even if only from my desk chair….so I’m turning over a new leaf and reviving and revamping this blog to catch these thoughts and experiments.
I feel that “The Good Life” must include time for fun, community and getting out into Nature. Creativity is spurred by rich experiences in the natural world and time out in the world with people you enjoy, participating in stimulating cultural events. Two recent experiences stand out in my mind….
I am home. And finally after several days, I feel like I have my feet back on the ground here. It has taken me a bit of time to really return on all levels and reintegrate.
But it feels wonderful to be back in the vastness of my New Mexico homeland! While experiencing a renewed appreciation for this vastness of place, I am trying to remember to also bring this vastness into my daily life. The recent time away from my day-to-day routine here at home has allowed me to reflect on the importance of slowing down. I am acting carefully now as I return to my life here in NM, so that I can maintain the focus, the ability to slowdown and spaciousness that developed during our DREAMING PLACE project fieldwork in Ireland.
The Neighborhood Art Project (NAP) is created and implemented by artist/instructor Siena Sanderson and is an outreach program of the Harwood Museum of Art. NAP brings art activities directly into the neighborhoods of Taos with a focus on low-income communities. It is a summer program and is run by golden volunteers, who commit to showing up at a particular site one day a week through out the summer. And then there are people like me, who show up and volunteer when we can.
The goals of this program are to encourage fun, creativity, friendship and to bring the art-making directly to the kids of Taos in their backyards. I love seeing kids’ creativity blossom as the supplies and instructions are delivered. They interact with each other and adults in positive ways and are allowed to “get lost” in their creative process. Snacks, lemonade and even lunch is often served during the two hours that NAP is set up at a site.
I’ve just returned from 40 days and 40 nights of “action research” and experiment above and below ground in a traveling residency at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Eire/Northern Ireland. (To locate the geopark on google maps click here.) Supported by Marble Arch Caves Geopark and funded by Arts Council England, DREAMING PLACE asks the question, “Does the land dream through us?”
During our “traveling residency” we camped at various sites throughout the Geopark and encountered an array of people, places and things which helped us to explore our three main focuses of the project: dúlra – ecosystem; dúchas– heritage; aisling – dream. We captured our experiences, ideas and insights both in sound with our trusty digital audio recorders and pen and ink through an evolving collaborative drawing. We also created a “DREAMING PLACE toolkit”, which we plan to share in the form of a book – more details forthcoming.
Our field work at Marble Arch Caves Geopark is now complete, but there is still so much we want to share so Anna and I are still blogging! Visit our blog at www.dreamingplace.eu for daily audio, image and stories.
To give you a little background on the collaborative project: Anna Keleher and I met at Dartington College of Art in 2007 during our studies on the M.A. Arts and Ecology course, at which time we began our collaborative practice. When we finished our studies we vowed we would meet up again in Ireland one day to continue our collaboration and further research prehistoric ecologies. During our recent 40-day residency, we “made good” on our promise to each other.
Many thanks to all those who helped make DREAMING PLACE a success. We miss the people, places and things of MAC Geopark. We´ll be back! Our special thanks to Fermanagh Council officers Diane Henshaw and Rose Cremin, Geopark Manager Richard Watson and Education Director, Martina McGee of MAC Geopark, David Scott of Gortatole Activity Centre, Outland Arts and all the other wonderful people who gave us tea, lent us boats and shared their good craic with us.