Last summer I had the chance to participate in something truly special. For ten days I lived, cooked, made art, and ATE with 13 amazing artists in the heart of Prince Edward County as part of Alchemy 2017.
Alchemy artist residency was founded in 2014 to explore the intersections of art and food. Fearless leaders Claire M. Tallarico and Tonia Di Risio invite participants to share their practices with each other, explore the unique residency location, and enjoy communal food preparation and feasting.
I went into Alchemy with a very solid idea of what I was going to do: make a series of prints about food in Prince Edward County. And while I did make prints of chickens, ducks, mutant heirloom tomatoes, and edible flowers, the real magic of Alchemy is what you don’t plan on making. We all visited each other’s studios during the open times, of which there are many by design. Piera had the wonderful idea of trying a little of what everyone else was doing. Ilze taught traditional Latvian bread making to a small dedicated group. Tonia continued her work leading pasta making workshops ending in the most delicious dinner you can imagine. Every day a little of every person’s spark was shared.
I invited the other artists into my studio to work on plexi etchings and linocuts. Ilze and Holly both made beautiful pieces. But I wanted something more immediate and accessible to share with my studio guests. One by one I facilitated making monoprints by drawing on the back of paper placed over a smooth inked plate. I then ran the plates through my baby press to make an inverse print. We hung these prints in the lovely old barn I was given as my work space (with great studiomates Sydney and Deborah!).
It was so inspiring to see what was created during our time together, from fascinating installations to the lasting kinship we feel for each other. For me it was the injection of life my practice needed, and confirmation that devoting more time to my work was the correct choice. Also probably the most fun a gal can have in the middle of picturesque farmland!
Applications for Alchemy 2018 are due February 15th, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Claire M. Tallarico
Tonia Di Risio
Peggy Taylor Reid
Madelaine Lyons Cooper