Open House This Sunday: Meet Our Artists
Join us at the colony this Sunday, June 10 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm for our first Open House and open studio of the 2018 residency season.
Readings start at 2:30 pm; studios will open at approximately 3:15 pm. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Saltonstall is located at 435 Ellis Hollow Creek Road, just 8 miles east of downtown Ithaca.
Read the snapshots below to learn more about what the artists and writers in this current session have been working on. Hope you’ll join us!
Poet Rennie Ament came to Saltonstall planning to put the finishing touches on a collection of poems she hopes will be her first book. But creating new work was more appealing. Books around the house served as inspiration. “On arrival at Saltonstall, I wandered the house grabbing books off shelves at random, things like Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners and The Practical Book of American Furniture — I like to write poems that take up or spring from language initially unfamiliar to me,” she says.
“In the past few weeks, I’ve written fourteen new poems, all currently numbered and titled “Home Poem” — I think they’ll be their own section in my first collection, which is what I’ve been working on. Otherwise, I’ve been pacing my plushly carpeted studio, identifying birds with the Merlin Bird app, and reading a lot of Jung. I’d like for this to be my regularly scheduled life.”
(Photo of poems on the carpet courtesy of Rennie Ament)
Saltonstall is artist Hannah Berger‘s first residency. The long hours of uninterrupted time in the studio suit her practice. “A good chunk of my time here has been dedicated to very repetitive, tedious, and time consuming processes,” she says. “I have an ongoing accumulation of handmade tiles, various objects either made of Elmer’s glue or embedded within layers of Elmer’s glue, and a never-ending weaving, all or some of which may never be shown or included in a larger sculpture.”
Another work based on repetition is tacked to a bulletin board in a steady pattern. The raw material was found along the side of the road. “I’ve harvested the heads of dandelions at the end of their lives and am threading them into a ‘blanket,'” says Hannah. “Much of my work grapples with impermanence — an attempt to, if not find comfort in the certainty of death, come to terms with my and everything else’s transience.”
Photographer Julia Forrest works strictly with film. “Everything I shoot is created in front of the lens,” she says. “In this digital world, we often forget that we don’t need Photoshop manipulation to create something surreal.” Saltonsall’s darkroom was a huge draw for her. “Because darkrooms are becoming more difficult to find, I’ve been using most of my time here to print a backlog of photographs that I never had the opportunity to print before.”
Time outside of the darkroom has been spent making new work using models (like fellow artist Hannah Berger above!) with live animals, taxidermy, and other props. “I’m interested in pushing the connection between human and nature,” says Julia. “A faceless, mythological being interacts with wild animals in a unnatural way, possessing the power to control and blend into the natural environment. She has full power over the landscape around her,” she says, describing this body of work.
Julia’s been partnering with the Cayuga Nature Center and a friend of Saltonstall who lent her certain specimens. “They have given me endless possibilities for my work in allowing me to not only borrow furs, bones, and beehives, but to photograph live birds of prey,” she says.
(Images above: Hannah Berger, with taxidermy bird; Julia Forrest photographs Cayuga Nature Center’s live bird handler with a red-tailed hawk; photo by Rennie Ament)
With a PhD in English from Columbia University, Hiram Perez is an accomplished academic writer. He hasn’t written creatively since he was in college, but reaching a milestone at Vassar College (where he’s taught for 10 years) is changing that. “After being granted tenure, I set myself the goal of rediscovering pleasure in writing,” he says. “Years of producing academic prose for a small, specialized audience left me feeling alienated from my own writing. I decided instead to write a memoir.”
Hiram will be attending two prestigous writing workshops this summer — as a participant, not as an instructor — and he’ll be using some of what he’s been writing at Saltonstall as workshop material. Even a writing residency is a new experience. Saltonstall is Hiram’s first residency. “Saltonstall has provided the perfect setting for me to explore my craft. The uninterrupted time and the peace and quiet have felt luxurious and freeing,” he says. “Finally, I feel that I am inhabiting my new skin as a memoirist. I am also able to use this time to discover new memoirs and learn as much as I can about the form. In the evenings, I research and read small literary magazines, as I begin to think about publishing stand-alone pieces from the memoir. This residency has been critical for me as an opportunity to rediscover myself as a writer.”
Artist Taro Takizawa has been relishing the long hours of uninterrupted time in his studio at Saltonstall. Since graduating from Syracuse University’s MFA program last year, he’s been busy teaching and applying for jobs and has had little time to devote to his own art practice.
“I guess I didn’t really recognize the importance of quality time in the studio,” he says. “When you are so busy, when your mind isn’t fully present, and without realizing it, I was losing the studio time that I needed in my life.”
Without the pressure of a deadline, Taro has spent his residency experimenting and taking some risks in his practice. “The undisturbed time has allowed me to stay in the studio, day and night without any other distractions,” he says. “I thought this might be my chance to take some leaps in my work, or perhaps cultivate some ideas that I can use in the near future. The generous space has allowed me to work larger, and work on multiple different things at the same time. I’ve been doing large 3′ x 5′ graphite drawings, large ink drawings, medium ink drawings, small ink drawings and sketches, paper cut stencils and plexiglass engraving. It’s an amazing place to be productive and be influenced by the surrounding nature.”
Sunday, July 15: 2-4pm
Sunday, August 19: 2-4pm
Sunday, Sept. 9: 2-4pm
Tuesday, Sept. 25: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Mark them on your calendar and we’ll soon see you there!