Steve’s off to Ireland

Steve’s off to Ireland

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View of Ballycastle, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland

Today, I leave for Dublin, then onto County Mayo for a two month residency at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation.  The Ballinglen center is located in a small village of 350 on the rugged coast.

I’ll be given a cottage and a studio to make work–whatever that turns out to be.  I’m so used to switching between jewelry and print/collages that I think I’ll bring materials for both, and see what develops.  In my daily life in Philadelphia, I’m lucky that I already have a great studio, a flexible “job”, no real family obligations.  So I ask myself, “why do I need to go to Ireland to make work”?

Print studio at Ballinglen

The print studio

An example of the individual studios for artists

The point of a residency, as I understand it, is to promote change and transitions by giving artists a concentrated, uninterrupted period of time to make work.  I’ve asked other people who have done residencies for advice.  One friend says to “definitely bring your own coffee”, which I packed a month ago.  Another says to just drink in the landscape, and stay open to changes that come naturally; don’t try to force the experience.  Another recommends bringing whatever I’m currently working on in Philadelphia, and putting up a few things on the walls of the studio, just to break the ice.  I might abandon these after a couple of days, but it helps to move into the studio and get settled.  had previously thought that I should take a stack of paper and just draw for two months; that it would be the most fundamental, sustaining thing that I could do. Now, I’m not sure.  There will be two other artists there at the same time; one from Dublin and one from Washington. My partner, Ron, also an artist, is joining me in mid-December for the second month.  Ron is a printmaker and wants to use the print studio during his stay.  So I may print the first month of my stay, and work with that “Irish” material during the second four weeks–or at least that’s my current thinking. I’ll write another post in January to explain what actually happened.

In the meantime, I wish everyone an early Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, and Happy New Year.

The Ballinglen Arts Foundation Center



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