…but someone’s gotta do it.

View from the roof deck.

Ah, you know, ‘tis a rough life.  Here I am in the Tower, eating cold jumbo shrimp (on sale at Price Chopper, the local grocery), watching the light of the setting sun change the colors on the opposite bank of the Hudson river, and writing to you.

This residency came about through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; applications are only open to SAIC faculty, and just recently to alumni (I’m an alumna and ex-faculty). I don’t know who selected us nor how, but I’m happy to be here. The place is the home of a married couple; they live in the gorgeous main house.  They decided that since they had extra living spaces, they’d like to share this beautiful place and its serenity with artists.  Bless them.  It is just utterly great here, and it’s generous and large-spirited of these folks to conceive of doing this.

Since it’s not like the other residencies I’ve been on, which are run by foundations, I’m not going to name these lovely people (at least not without asking, and I’ve yet to meet one of my two hosts) nor show you pictures of their house.  But, besides the Tower, there is also the Caretaker’s Cottage; right now there are two women working in there on a collaborative project.  I’ve only met them briefly. And that’s it, just the two living spaces, two to three residents at a time.

There are numerous sheds and outbuildings to use.  There are two big carpeted rooms over the garage, with media stuff (a big TV, dvd, PC, printer and stereo equipment) that we can use at any time.  The collaborators are using the old harness room in a fair sized building where the carriages used to be stored. The old stable is only a foundation now. I’ve got the gardener’s shed (which has water) and the bit of the shop, and, because I have the Tower, today Chuck (the caretaker) told me that I can use the attic of the main house, a big, open, skylighted place.  I’m working on small experimental things here, not finished work, so I doubt that I’ll need it – but it also leads to a big rooftop deck with a fabulous view of the Hudson.  This is bliss.

There are 59 acres, some of it beautifully landscaped and some wild, running down a steep wooded hill to the Hudson.  There are lots of paths through the woods, and there are benches or chairs and little tables everywhere, not just in the landscaped areas.  There are two ponds and a rowboat; there are a couple of fountains…aaaand, a whole lot of black walnut trees.  Chuck showed me where he piles the mountain of hulls he rakes up every year, and so, I’ll be making some dye, too!

My paper studio.

Just places on the grounds.

Pond with fountain (and boat).

The Hudson from the Tower…ahhhh.