So my team and I just spent a week at Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA, where we took part in the inaugural artist residency for the 2014 Lo Fi Arts Festival. It was a productive and inspiring experience, filled with cross genre arts bonding, communing with nature, and workshopping our piece in it’s intended site. There were 5 curators who not only helped with our project needs, but cooked delicious, healthy meals for us 3 times/day, which was a complete luxury! It was great sharing communal meals, exchanging ideas, and washing dishes elbow to elbow with individuals so talented in their individual fields. When not working on our project, we roamed the 300 acres taking in other art pieces and exploring the property. We also got a few good sunny days jumping in the freezing Stillaguamish river! Below is a daily recap of our arty adventures:
Pre-residency. Tanya makes diagrams, pushes fundraiser, sets daily residency goals, sorts through possible act music, researches wind chime equations and musical theory, and picks up poles from Thomas York, aerial rigger and fabricator. Team meets at SANCA to learn pole moves.
Monday, June 23. Day one.
Adrienne and Oliver picked up poles, delivered to farm, and rigged with help of our delightful curator, Teggart. Team arrives at farm and sets up camp. First artist dinner of the residency.
Tuesday, June 24th. Day 2.
Tanya arrives to farm to find the team well acclimated and ready to work. After a communal lunch and cleanup, we head to the poles to workshop choreography. Our poles not only sway and spin, they pivot at about 3/4 of the way up, which enabled us to work on a whole other axis! I think we may have inadvertently created a new apparatus! Violet cheers us on from the sidelines. After choreography and getting sweaty and dirty, we head to the nearby Stillaguamish for a cool dip and some playtime in the river. Video here.
Wednesday, June 25. Day 3.
Tanya heads into town to promote the fundraiser in it’s last hours, since there is (refreshingly) no wi fi or cell reception on the farm. Team moves poles to barn and rigs them in tonal order so that we can work on tuning. Learns later in the day that fundraising goal has been met! So overjoyed when I heard this! Thanks to everyone who came through for us! Team shares meals and mingles with other artists. Decided it was prom dress night, so we all showed up in our country finest! Of course, Oliver was the first to lose his. 😉
Thursday, June 26. Day 4.
Team packs up and heads out to The Gorge to perform at Paradiso. Tanya finds herself alone in the shop confronted with power tools. After a few unsuccessful tries at hand drilling metal (and a sprained finger), the work ahead of creating luminaries out of .095 walled steel pipe seems daunting. With seemingly no where to turn and almost defeated, Joselynn comes trudging across the field to the rescue! Another team graciously lends us a drill press, making life so much easier. Cue 80’s hairbands on the stereo, and we have Girl Metalshop! Me and Jos drill about 500 holes before heeding the call of the dinner bell. Thanks Jos!
Friday, June 27th. Day 5.
Poles are hung in barn, but the tuning is off. Pre tuning video here. Curator Timmy steps up with the cutting and grinding. Using an electronic tuner, we find out the poles are actually tuned to a G scale and refine those notes. We find that hitting the chimes with wooden mallets, in the center of the pole, produces the best note. Shows Timmy how to do handstands and climb a rope. Barn workout. Eats 2 dinners.
Saturday, June 28th. Day 6.
Tanya is now confident in her drilling/drill press skills. Decides that the best metalwork can only be done in a leopard print bodysuit and flip flops. Drills about another few hundred holes at various sizes and sands pipes to remove burrs. Installs LED flashlights in ends of pipes to test luminosity. Eats 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 desserts. Tonight london broil is on the menu, and Sari makes strawberry shortcake with ice cream. We are very spoiled here!
Sunday, June 29. Day 7.
Pack up and load out. Make final meals for teams. Clean up site and kitchen. I don’t want to go home; this has been such a fantastic week with so many precious experiences and funny moments. Timmy and I take a trip to Oso to check out the mudslide. Very emotional and impactful.
It was bittersweet returning home. The uniqueness of the residency experience was not lost on us. We made unique connections, got exposed to other artistic genres, and had inspired conversations that in other settings and circumstances we could not have had. A giant thank you to Smoke Farm, the curators, and the 2014 team Lo Fi team of artists for being amazing. See you all back on the farm in September!