Pack for an Artist Residency- Montana Residency – Part 1
During the month of October I was an artist-in-residence at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana. How do I pack for an artist residency?
It is always a daunting task figuring out what art supplies to bring with me. Working with fabrics makes it a little bit harder than just bringing a box of paints and some canvases. I have to bring a sewing machine, ironing board & iron, cutting mat and cutting tools, rulers, threads, etc. The hardest part is narrowing down which fabrics to bring. It’s not like I can just mix a new color if I don’t have one. Since I like to be inspired by the location, I don’t always have an exact plan of what I’ll be doing and know what colors I want/need.
This is the third artist residency I have attended and they have all been in remote locations. The advantage of that is that I am in a beautiful natural location. The disadvantage of that is that the nearest small town is usually 15-20 minutes away and a larger town even further. Therefore, I need to bring everything I think I will need because I can’t just run to the store to get it (or I can but it would be a long drive). That is where the packing comes in.
I have a packing list of items. The list gets saved and that’s what I start from for the next residency. Adjustments have to be made each time because of the situation/location. For example, for this Open AIR residency I did all my own cooking. However, at the last residency I was at, Brush Creek Foundation, the meals were provided. So, I didn’t have to worry about bringing much food, other than snacks, or cooking supplies.
Starting with a previous list, I added special items that were needed for the Montana residency. I was warned that there might be bears in the area. Therefore, I added a bear bell and bear spray to my list. Also, since there was no water source in my cabin, I added a water jug to the list. Weather is always a consideration for each residency. Adjustments to the list are made for the seasonal changes.
As for supplies, I try to bring something as a backup to the fabric work, just in case I don’t have the fabrics that I need. I always have a sketchbook and pencils. Because I knew a bedroom would be my working space, I brought a folding table with me (along with table risers) to be sure I had a space for cutting fabric. For my previous residencies, I included a large piece of felt that I could tack to the wall to use as a design board. This time I had a portable design wall made from insulation foam that I was able to fit (barely) in my car.
Some of the other art supplies I brought with me:
- acrylic paint and brushes
- large drawing paper pad
- marker paper for paint
- pre-fused fabric scraps
- fusible webbing
- solar fast paint
- plain white fabric
- cradled boards for mounting fused pieces
- embroidery thread for hand stitching
- and much, much more!
In addition, I brought an extra desk light (OttLite) which ended up being extremely helpful as the lighting in the cabin was low.
Since packing the car was like playing a Tetris game, I took pictures during the packing process with my phone. After five weeks at the residency, I was able to look at my pictures and figure out how I had gotten everything into the car. That saved me time and frustration.
Below is my temporary studio setup in the cabin.
And that’s how I pack for an artist residency, at least this one.