On Tuesday, Heather was relieved to have finished her animated music video for Ghostkeeper, and freed from her laptop she instigated the first meeting of plein air drawing club. The whole gang donned their jean jackets and headed down to the Village Green to sketch and paint as Pickin' In Pentwater played in the gazebo. Our young artist mentee Hannah and her friend Della joined us as we took turns drawing each other on the grass. We crossed the street and made it to House of Flavors in time to each grab a cone and head to the beach for sunset. Heather started her series of drawings for her new zine Cone Lickers, a document of the ice cream culture of Pentwater.
After her slide talk on Sunday, Melissa was invited to visit the multi-faceted maker space in Pentwater, Patterson Marine. After Patterson passed away last year, his business was taken over by a group of local men interested in setting up a shop to do a wide variety of production techniques. Because they have a new 3-D printer, Melissa came to talk about her experience with 3-D printing and show her work to some of the guys. We had a great conversation about plastics and adhesives, and she even got some feedback on rope choices for the hammock she was planning. The very special thing about an artist residency in Pentwater is the connections that are made- retired doctors and engineers can talk shop with a young artist and they can each learn from the other's perspective.
We caught the high sun at the beach in the afternoon, trekking out to the magical Bass Lake Outlet, our favorite spot for a long beach day, and found that no one else was there. Although Lake Michigan is still only fifty-six degrees, everyone took a quick dip before heading to the warmer water of the outlet. Kenny built a series of impromptu sculptures, staking and balancing pieces of driftwood in the shallows. We made sure to stock up on snacks from the newly re-opened Wishing Well convenience store, and after hours in the sun, we all had dinner at the 117-year-old Bortell's Fisheries.
Joey had already had coffee of course, as she continued her new ritual of joining the silver-haired crowd of local men at Good Stuffs cafe each morning. She had the chance to meet a local artist who showed her his art collection and eclectic home, and a gentleman who makes pickles from his mother's recipe who brought pickles and fresh strawberries for the studio. As she listened to stories and shared her own, Joey realized exactly how to conclude her project with a gift- she made coffee mugs that will live at Good Stuffs and be used by the coffee crowd daily. After a week of working with clay again, she deftly added three mugs to her growing table full of clay vessels and dishes.
Cara continued her work in the ceramics studio as well, with a second clay cat, that she dropped from an eight-foot ladder this time. As these sculptures are a bit of an experiment in clay, the process was well documented:
Friends from Grand Rapids joined us in the evening, when Pat took eleven passengers on a sunset pontoon cruise. After our big boat ride, we roasted marshmallows over a fire in the meadow homestead and had a slumber party with screenings from our VHS library.
The afternoon was dedicated to the National Asparagus Festival, the pride of our neighbor town Hart, the Asparagus Capital of the World. We had been eating fresh asparagus all week, but now was the chance to try deep-fried stalks and asparagus tamales. The Royale Parade on main street included Asparagus Queens, trickster remote controlled cars, antique tractors, two marching bands, and even a visit from Officer Pizzarelli.
After watching live music at the festival and having a proper dinner, we ended the day for the third time at House of Flavors in Pentwater. By then the crew had befriended John, the owner, who told us about his favorite flavors (which Heather recorded for the zine) and about the legend of the Super Pig- the biggest banana split in town.
Heather was busy finishing her community project, her Cone Lickers zine, and we took a field trip to Ludington to print zines, buy hardware for Melissa's hammock, and see what we could find at the thrift stores.
Joey spent the day glazing her pots to fire that night, and we all prepared for the weekly slide talk. This week we had three artists sharing their work, and a record number of attendants that had us scrambling to find more chairs.
Cara told a story of her origins in the wild west of Mormon Utah, and her smart investigations into the history of that place. She talked about the collective American history of heading west, suburbs, manicured lawns, domesticated animals, and organized religions. Her work is often looking at larger tropes as well as looking at itself as an art object. Heather was up next, and explained her practice as three parts of a whole; drawing and animation, collaborative public projects, and multiples and illustration. She made us laugh with her collaborative invention of a contemporary art museum in her Calgary home, and subdued the crowd with A Woman Comes Into The Room- a softly articulated animation with rhythmic jumping edits. Fresh copies of Cone Lickers were on the shelf for the crowd to peruse. Our last speaker had drawn a few more locals out to the talk- Joey's new friend from coffee was in attendance, and was tickled to see a photograph of himself in her slideshow. Joey talked about her development away from the structure of her education in printmaking, towards the realm of social practice art where she makes her own structure for interactive projects. From quilting bees to tee shirts to pinch pots, Joey is always considering personal interaction as the primary medium for her work.
Kenny finished his Cornhole set and prepared a favorite appetizer, Melissa decorated the tables with interactive neon sculptures mirroring her installation overhead, and Joey set up a table of her ceramics and collected objects with instructions for a poem-writing game. The dinner was a great success with twenty guests in attendance, and enough baked potato bar to feed them all. We discovered that sloppy joe turkey is amazing on a potato, watched episodes of the BeachCam Variety Show, and bought tickets for the 50/50 raffle that Heather organized. The evening was packed with time-based art, from a screening of Cara's video, Kenny's short film and Heather's animations, to Joey reading the poems that the guests had collaborated on, to a somber visit to the mowed section of meadow where Cara read her romantic essay on lawns. We even had a Super Pig from House of Flavors to go with the rhubarb cake that Melissa baked, and the night ended with an indoor tournament of Cornhole.