Because She Said So - Big Announcement!

We've been living in the Passive House since January of 2015. As our move out date for this fall approaches, I have been reflecting on our time spent here at the #cityfsjpassivehouse over the last 18 months...

I thought to myself, this is such a beautiful space and I’m really going to miss it when we are gone – have I taken it for granted?

Have I done everything I could to enjoy this space to the fullest?

Have I done everything I could to show the world how great living in a passive house in the north can be?

If I could do ONE big thing before I leave this house – what would it be?

Answer: I want to make art. And I live in a Passive House.

So to really illustrate what "Creatively Sustained" means to ME, this summer I am preparing to be an:

Artist in Residence in a Passive House

I know what you might be thinking… it CAN’T be that easy to just create yourself an “artist residency.”

Cue the inner critic dialogue of an artist:

Wait… shouldn’t there be a process – an application, a review of work, someone official who is in charge, someone who makes the decisions, who deems you “appropriate” or “worthy” of such an experience. That is usually how it works right… well the Google told me so!

Or - you can simply ignore that ^ wacky thought process, write some words and pictures on a page, and it’s just as real:

Catherine Ruddell channels Emily McDowell's Certificate Cards

Looks very official, doesn’t it!

Steps required:

-       Decide it’s a great idea.

-       Negotiate time away from work.

-       Map out your path and goals.

-       Share the process and experience with others.

Calling it an “artist residency” makes it official.

It gives me the distance I need from my current job to commit and focus on my creative work. Calling it an artist residency also sounds like a fun thing to say.

But what I really want to do is take some time to evaluate the experience of living in a demonstration home, from a personal and creative perspective, as it comes to a close.

That’s in part what art is for right? To communicate the experience of real life by looking at things more closely?

I want this residency to reflect what I’ve learned in the last few years about myself.

I want it to reflect what’s going on in my region – the culture that currently exists here. 

And I want this residency to reflect the context that led to the creation of this particular home – a passive house – and what I’ve learned from my role in its story.

How will this influence my values, and my decisions, as I move out of this experience in my life, and forward into another?

Yeah it sounds BIG. It sounds complicated. Even daunting. But actually - one of the best things living in a passive house has taught me – is to keep is simple, and not over complicate all the things – in a house – and in a life.

So that's exactly how I will approach this summer and this residency project: Keep it simple. Here’s what you can expect to see AND hear from me in the coming weeks on the blog, and also on instagram and twitter. I’ll be diving into the following topics:

  • Creativity - the ideal creative lifestyle
  • Daily Practice – making creative work happen
  • Thrive vs. Survive – re-connecting with nature
  • Energy Efficiency– focusing on what matters most
  • Sustainable Living – doing good vs. doing less harm

The month of July I’ve loosely designated as my exploratory phase – I will commit to daily practice, getting outside in nature, and doing some “field work” in our region. It is officially summer after all, and us northerners need to take full advantage of the warm days and long nights.

I will be sketching, writing in my journal and taking lots of notes, while being mindful of the themes I’ve set out above. I’ll examine how these ideas have developed and why I want to explore each one a little further. I will continue to work at my job during this time.

The actual art residency will start in August. I will review my “field work” from July, and establish a direction for my body of work. I am grateful to not have to work during this month, with exception for emergencies, lol!

I have plenty of creative skills and mediums that I could choose to work in – from drawing, painting, stamp carving, printmaking, to sewing… but I may have to narrow my focus and try NOT to do it ALL (overwhelm and overwork is my nature.)

But really, I’ll just have to get to work, and DO THE WORK. I’ll share lots of photos and thoughts during the whole process so I would love it if you follow along with me.

After that… Well I haven’t really thought about what happens in September! But I plan on having lots to show for my efforts. We will see where the story goes from there!

If you haven't already, please sign up for my email list where you'll be the first to hear about all the new work as it develops.

Also, find me on instagram and twitter! Oh yeah - and a happy summer to you!!!