My experience as artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona has been exceptional. There have been moments where I wished I had requested a different month--one which did not include an election which seems to have shaken this country to the core. But perhaps being in this amazing place while dealing with my feelings about the direction of this country and the world is a good thing after all. The many hours a day to hike, sketch, and wander without a goal is healing. My challenge as this residency comes to an end is to carry the spirit of those practices into my daily work.
I have been doing some intentional wandering since I got to the park. A lot of it actually. Usually when I wander, it is with a PLAN. This park has few trails and only a handful of suggested routes they offer people who seem capable of handling them. This is fantastic for the wandering spirit. I am allowed to wander almost anywhere I want to and I am taking advantage of that.
I am a peripatetic soul. I find solace in walking. I have not been a good wanderer. I like to have a plan and a few safety backups in my pocket. This particular place has taught me a lot about letting that go. . . .
I am the current artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park. I earned this spot, but I can’t help but feel intensely grateful for the opportunity to be here. To be able to watch the sunset and the sunrise over the Painted Desert and bask in this quiet place is such a gift.
I have used my hiking superpowers to find places that are only vaguely noted on sketched maps and in printouts you might get a ranger to give you if he or she feels you are up to the challenge of cross-country, off-trail travel in rough terrain. I have sat on the top of remote mesas and watched the sun set while sketching hoodoos and mesas.
One of the things I wanted to do while here was a sort of tapestry diary. But instead of making one larger piece that I wove a little bit of every day, I wanted to make separate pieces. So I have woven a 2 x 2 inch mini-tapestry every day here so far. It has become something I look forward to… how will I translate something I saw into fiber?
This place is all about unimaginable spans of time.
I am spending the month of November at Petrified Forest National Park as their artist-in-residence.
From a distance, the huge trees look very much like they fell and were cut by a chainsaw quite recently. Up close, they are miracles of color and form in stone. Because, of course, these trees have not been trees for at least 216 million years. All of their tree-ness was replaced by minerals and became hard stone so long ago—just now eroded out of their hiding place in the Chinle formation.
Any time your packing list contains the words, Suitcase of Yarn, you know you're going somewhere fun. This is not a teaching trip though. I'm headed to Arizona to be the artist-in-residence at Petrified Forest National Park for the month of November. I'm going to the desert to do some tapestry designing. I am so excited about this, I gasp a little when I think about it.
How often do most of us get the opportunity to step away from the business of art and actually focus on making it? As a tapestry weaver, I can only bring small looms with me. Even so, my plans include at least three portable looms in addition to the bag full of Hokett looms I will undoubtedly have. I have a project in mind for those little looms.
This was one of the many little weaving experiments I did for the Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms class (now open for registration HERE!). I wove this for a section about weaving text and I intended it to say, Do it! (I was going to weave another one that said "Just" but ran out of time.)
But when finished, I realized that it sort of looks like it says "Doit!".
So I looked up the definition.