Part 1: Artist's Residency Experience at Holly House

   This residency program was created by Dr. Elspeth Pope, the founder and director of Hypatia in the Woods, a non-profit resource center and residency program located near Shelton, WA. It is a solitary retreat for women in the arts, business, and academia run by a board of directors and local volunteers.

   The well appointed house, Holly House, is located in the southern part of the Olympic Peninsula on the Puget Sound deep in a beautiful forest of enormous bigleaf maples, Western redcedar, alders, western hemlock, and many more species. Women from all over the world have participated in this program, and I was honored to be selected for a three week residency there  last summer.

   I  gave a lot of thought to the purpose and intent of my stay there. In my proposal I stated that I wanted to explore the Olympic Peninsula, learn more about the history and current state of the indigenous people, and create a mixed media textile art piece based on my experience there. 

   My interest in the Olympic Peninsula was piqued by excerpts I'd read about the Makah Tribe whose tribal lands are bordered by the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. I stayed at Neah Bay and visited Cape Flattery, the northernmost point of the contiguous United States. I also spent lots of time at the Makah Research and Cultural Center where I learned so much about these amazing people who've inhabited this area for over 10,000 years.

Cape Flattery 01

    There are lots of sea stacks along the coast in this area. Sea stacks are geological formations with steep and often vertical columns of rock in the sea near a coast, formed by wave erosion. It was early morning when I was finally able to get there, and the cliffs and rock formations were shrouded in fog reminding me of the mystical forces of nature.

   From a lookout point I was able to see the pigeon guillemots, a member of the Auk family of seabirds, who were nesting in the caves here.

Cape Flattery 02

   In Part 2 of this series, I will share examples of my mixed media textile project that is a work in progress. I'm sharing my experiences here to encourage others to explore the many amazing opportunities available to artists.