My artist residency at the Virginia Cultural Center for the Arts came to an end last Sunday morning. I packed up my studio. I filled all the little holes in the walls from my nails, push pins, and staples then I painted those walls and the table tops flat white. After breakfast I packed my car and drove off with my phone GPS pointing the way to New York City.
Now that the residency is over and I'm looking back, I realize that my experience was as much about the people I met as it was the art I created. I find that when I meet other artists there is a kind of instant camaraderie and this made the time spent at the VCCA feel almost like a family reunion. So now it's over and it leaves me looking for ways to continues these kind of interactions in my life. I also come away with a whole cluster of new friends all over the world that I can remain in contact with and perhaps even visit.
The word that came to me often during my month long residency was liminal.
What is a liminal space? In anthropology, Liminality (from the Latin word limen, meaning "a threshold") is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a rite's liminal stage participants "stand at the threshold between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the rite establishes"
I love this definition from Wikipedia for the way I feel like it describes so beautifully the state I find myself in right now. Before beginning my residency, I moved everything out of my carriage house studio where I had been living for the past year since My separation began from my 30 year marriage (I had been using the space as my studio for 11 years). I moved all of my artwork, tools and other belongings to the basement of the apartment where I will eventually make my new home and studio. Of course it wasn't only about moving my stuff, it was in the act of moving where I began experience in a very concrete way that my marriage had come to an end. One way of life was ending in order to make way for a new way of life.
And now it's the gypsy life for me. Because of circumstances beyond my control my new work/live space in Grand Rapids Michigan will not be ready to move in May first as had been originally planned but now the landlord is saying June first. This has made me officially homeless. I have been stitching together a patchwork quilt of places to stay across the country. That quilt looks like going from Manhattan to Brooklyn, to Philadelphia, back to Grand Rapids for a night, then to Milwaukee for a couple days then to Grand Rapids, then up to Belair Michigan (Spitting distance from beautiful Travers City) for two weeks and then finally I can settle into my new home.