It was great getting to launch this residency as the first invited artist. Thank you for your generosity in sharing both your studio space and your guest house with me. I was able to really double-down on my project work and be refreshed by the environment. It was a busy season for me and your flexibility was very much helpful.
The residency was very communicative on logistics throughout my stay, so I never felt a lack of clarity in how to navigate the space. I was able to just come and work which would be the focus of what any visiting artist would want to do.
This residency offered ample space and materials to answer the questions I had for my personal work. I had full access to the studio and was able to personalize my firing time and project logistics to suit my needs. I also took the time to understand more about kilns. Limited access to this specific and necessary part of the ceramic process has inhibited me and countless other ceramicists from creating work and making a living.
Helen welcomed me into her home and encouraged me to connect with my highest self. Doing this allowed me to achieve a workflow that only happens when you get real. That happened here on the dramatically beautiful lakefront backdrop. I'm grateful for my time here and look forward to encouraging more artists to experience the moments of silence, positivity, breath, grit and honesty that I experienced here.
I was given the opportunity to teach a summer art camp at Alcona Elementary. Working with the kids at the school reminded me that there is still freedom and newness to soak up every day. To this day, I use projects I created for this camp with my adult classes. Through my time at Alcona Elementary I learned so much about the teacher-student relationship.
— Ricky Blanding
Residents have access to a private cottage and nearby is a separate studio consisting of three spaces. The front entrance room of the studio has been used since the early ‘80s as a large design space for painting and graphic design, textiles, design meetings, etc. There is a library, sitting area with a collection of vintage pottery, Chinese brushstroke scrolls, and automotive designs (some concept cars included).
The remainder of the studio is dedicated to the ceramics work areas consisting of a separate glazing room, and a workroom with a potters wheel, slab roller, extruder, and front-loading electric kiln. The studio is fully equipped with a large variety of ceramic carving and cutting tools, banding wheels, boards, glazes, hot gun, and other essentials. There are floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the studio, and a retractable door merging the space with the land. Upon request, artists may have access to the property workshop that is equipped with many woodworking tools.