a studio of one's own

A while back I received a letter in the mail notifying me that I had been nominated to an artist residency at Jentel by an art curator in Seattle whom I respect and admire.  The letter alone had me floating on air.  The residency had me hopping out of my skin.  (It still does.)  

At Jentel, I wandered around working in my head.

I wrote every day. I studied wind causes and patterns.  I watched a stack of avant-garde movies by  surrealists and early film experimentalists until I had a headache.  I read myself to sleep with novels at all hours of the night and short stories at breakfast. I listened to books on CD while making drawings.  I took leisurely walks, even if just to the mailbox.  I took many notes. I cut circles out of paper.  I made storyboards with ink, watercolor or graphite.  I sewed strips of black cloth into circles. 

I snapped  hundreds of photos.  

I just did stuff.   

I hiked with my video camera a couple times each week.  

I recorded the texture and movement of dry rattling grass and brittle sage shrubs.  

I edited video until I was dizzy. 

I followed the clouds and tried grabbing the sun.

While crawling around trying to get the better shot, I dragged my leg across a prickly pear cactus. (I don't recommend this.  I pulled at least 50 needles out of my calf and it's STILL bruised.)  Prickly Pears are low-growing and sometimes hidden in the grass, especially hard to see in late winter and early spring.  It's much easier to see in this picture, plus the cool crusty rock next to it.

I pondered the conical lava mound mountains. 

I revisited certain rocks.

I considered how each bit of scoria (lava rock) looks like a red, black or dark brown miniature mountain.  

Miniature scoria mountain.

And how it is sooo light.

I bound the scoria with string.

And hung them on the wall in the profile of the mountains outside on the other side of my studio wall.

T. Matlock, Lighten Up, Jentel scoria, nails and string.

T. Matlock, Lighten Up, angle view.

T. Matlock, Lighten Up, detail.

Finally, I cut them all down, cut away the threads and mixed them back into  the rest of the scoria gravel in the driveway.

Stay tuned for more about movies.  I'll be editing the video I collected for awhile.  


Emily said...

Hey T, this looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing your experience! I love the hanging rocks in the shape of a mountain silhouette. Can't wait to hear your adventure tales. Em-

Dyna Kuehnle said...

You rock, literally. I love you. Dyna

Tonette said...

Thanks! I hope to see both of you very soon.

Laurie said...

Your hanging rock mountain silhouette is too cool. Oh the patience you have. Like a Tibetan Buddist monk, I'd say. Reminds me of the sand mandalas they create and then sweep away. Rock on.
Do you have an audio book recommendation? I listen to one a week while I needle felt.

trena said...

What Dyna said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Toni, for sending me your residency link. I'm not very good about this sort of thing (posting, collapsing, htmling, etc.); however, seeing your photos makes me want to see the works in person. A show of this Jentel rock art is in the works? So glad you got AWAY.
Valerie H.

Liz D. said...

Love ALL of it...journey,rocks,prickly pear,wind,books on tape, Toni, blue string....right on!!

angie said...

you are simply amazing. i'm completely enthralled. i love how your mind works... i love what you see and how you look at it... i love what you create. this makes me want to walk around with you... anywhere and everywhere... just to share in these moments. well done my friend. thank you so much for sharing.

Keila Szpaller said...

This post is so inspiring, Toni. Sometimes, I find myself trying to delete old emails and clean out my desk and talk on the phone at the same time. I'm grateful people like you are having some contemplative moments, even experiences, and sharing the richness this way.

Tonette said...

Thank you all so much. I'm lucky to have such great friends.

Laurie, are you on Goodreads? I am, and so are half the people posting comments here, and they are trusty book peeps. It's an excellent way to share book recs. I call it a virtual book club.

k.murphy said...

Inspiring to say the least! Thanks for sharing your very talented work and aristic mind with us. It provides great perspective and an awakening of the mind. I look forward to more!

Anonymous said...

I love this vision of the hanging rocks. The turquoise thread makes the installation. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Betsy said...

I agree. What Dyna said an more. I am captivated by what you're doing. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

OH OH OH I love this!!! You sound so free and inspired. Your installation made me quiet and excited in the same breath. Your installations have that effect on me....Can't wait to see the video.

lawrence said...

That is just AWESOME to be recognized like that! Cheers! I will toast to you tonight with my special libation of choice (on the rocks, of course)!

Marianne Zugel said...

Thanks so much for putting this up for us all to see. I especially love the scoria rock profile of the mountains - so cool! I always love your work. And, by the way, this website of yours is awesome. I just spent about 45 minutes checking things out and it was totally fun! Nice job all around. You are amazing!

Lynne (Shaara) DuVon said...

Very nice...what a great opportunity to explore your creativity and connect with nature. Thanks for sharing.
I love the flow of the rock mountain!

Pamela Caughey said...

Thanks so much for sending me the link, Toni! Please keep me posted on future shows--loved your hanging rock installation! Pam

(I'm a little blog challenged--can you tell me how to rig blogspot so anyone can make a comment, like you have here?)

Tonette said...

Hey thanks everyone! @Marcy, I can't wait to see the video either - finished that is, haha - it'll get there! @Marianne, thanks for spending some time on the site. I'm glad you found things of interest. I might be getting the hang of this. @Pam, Rigging Blogger is right! From your dashboard, click settings, then the comments tab along the top. Second thing down is "Who can comment?" Top choice is Anyone. Good luck!

Chris said...

Of all the stuff on here, I think I love that last photograph the most. Yeah, the rock silhouette is beautiful, but Toni, you probably know me well enough by now to not be surprised that my preference is for the image of you packed up for adventure, moving across a rugged landscape. That's the stuff that speaks most to me. Good for you.