Elsewhere Episode IV: A New Home

With this residency, I sought out to explore through video and mixed media what it meant to find home home. Having never left home before in 24 years, I wanted to explore new context and investigate the character and heart of this home of others.

Paonia has answered my questions in a remarkable, unexpected way. There is so much diversity in such few residents and blocks of streets. From miners to old-schoolers; farmers, artists, musicians, story-tellers, “hippies”, solar engineers, doctors, scientists, families. It is a community in every sense of the word. There’s an awareness and concern for one-another’s well-being and there is a humble intelligence to the simplicity here. The pace is slow, but there is always work being done and creativity flowing free. They are open, warm, and everyone is celebrated for their individuality. At the same time, there is a real seriousness about preserving the landscape and sustaining this way of life.

It was quite apparent early on that this is how people should be living.

I intend to further develop my video series upon returning to Sault Ste. Marie, ON. In revisiting these captured moments carefully and deliberately I’ll assemble the videos experimentally through self-derived processes. The videos will be the first installment of my current research project “A Progressive Understanding of Home and The Journey”

Find the first finished videos here:


Where in the world is Paonia? Or who is a Paonian?

Friends who had been to Paonia told me, “You’ll like it.”  I wasn’t convinced.  I am now.

The city, really a town, is only 1500 people with one main streets and no stop lights. The drivers are courteous. Surrounded by mountains there are streams that run through this piece of paradise. There is a great irrigation canal about 22 steps from the back door, covered by trees and shaded.  It was my office to write at. Paonia is very friendly and diverse—from hippies (old and young) to coal miners who still think Obama is a Kenyon, socialist and the anti Christ. However,  to be honest there is not a lot of brown and black faces. There are also, count’em 17 churches. Finally there is….OMG….marijuana abound. Presently the city is voting on to have the sale of pot in the city legal, like a retail store. Not that I used any….

Paonia and Elsewhere are a special place and I guarantee you will be captivated.  Paonia is what a small town should be—friendly, welcoming, neighbor knowing neighbor, a smile at every corner.  I might add this is where they grow fruits and vegetables and do come there in late summer and fall. The best peaches in the world.

Elsewhere is a fine older remodel abode. They have a sauna in the basement. The interior is unique but functional and Karen is Johnny on the spot—or is that Joanny on the spot. The back door is left open and in days your creativity will burst forth. Freedom does that to artists.

Come, stay and enjoy.

Michael McLaughlin


a month in paradise by anita & michael

A beautiful valley surrounded by lovely mountains, orchards, wonderful fruits and vegetables, quaint homes and a surprisingly vibrant communities is what I found in Paonia. My month spent at Elsewhere afforded me the time to work on my art, but also opened me to a truly unique American community. My time flew by, days painting and evenings listening to music and dancing. It was never boring with too many opportunities to do more than my time allowed. I would recommend Elsewhere as a delightful place to spend a month and be creative.

One Week In

One week in.  One week of new sights and the big mountains and a new place with new birds and new bugs and all new people, and I'm already well settled enough to think about "getting out of town".  I came from California up over the Sierras and across empty dry Nevada and Utah that wasn't much different until you reach the Eastern edge and huge red rocks come bursting up and like a fool I listened to the end of a podcast and didn't get the full feel of the rocks, thinking like I was the whole trip that I'll be back some day with time to stop and sit and feel, but for now I've got to get through and get there so just keep on driving. Then Colorado and suddenly there was green and rolling hills that looked like you could walk through barefoot and water running through in great roiling brown rivers and real live streams that probably had fish and then I saw horses brown and shining with green all around them and the big mountains booming behind them.  I cheered and called to the horses and felt the excitement of seeing them and imagining them running and how beautiful they were—more beautiful and elegant than they need to be—extra beauty and elegance and their flowing hair just to remind you of higher things. Reds and blues popping out from the green making me think of pictures and all around the big open air and clear light and a clean feeling.

I found Elsewhere just as easily as I thought I might, green house standing like a picture on the side of the main road I drove up slowly and parked right in front and got out and took my time moving in to the quiet open and cool house and finding my little Gingerbread House behind, just as big as it needed to be with windows in all the right spots and my stuff fit in just fine.

I walked in search of a spot to swim carrying a little towel and following the ditch thinking it was a creek, and finally realizing it wouldn't turn into a swimming hole I decided dipping my toes and getting the silty mud on my feet was enough and I walked out of town barefoot a ways looking at the houses and the orchards and listening to the quiet and feeling my whole body relax and already checking my thoughts and trying to let things come as they would and when I got a tour of the town I had to reel them in a dozen times as I fluttered along the various threads that stretched out from each business and event and spun together with my ego to create important successful endeavors and how much could I create in a month?

I began Monday morning on the ditch road walking East towards Jumbo and crossing the ditch and walking up towards the big mountain and checking the light and worrying at how much time I was taking to find a spot, knowing any spot was better than anything I'd had in years and trying to relax and accept the walking as part of the art and trust that the painting would eventually begin and then I'd be painting but right now I was walking and could I enjoy this slice of the trail and all the bees and grasshoppers and little white butterflies and the yellow flowers that built up into great big curving soft pillows beside the brown fast-moving water in the ditch.  I went back to the car with some idea of a spot to start and sat down inside the car to eat the rest of my toasted PB&J and thought self-consciously about my parking spot and me sitting in there eating and drinking tea and after getting out once I got back in and moved the car back closer to the entrance and then carefully packed my napsack standing outside the passenger door and then took out the art cart for its maiden voyage.  I leaned it up against the rear bumper and began bungeeing the painting board with the pink gessoed papers to the top of the cart and standing the cart up all the way I awkwardly mounted the old cardboard box of paints and wrapped the big bungee around it and then started down the gravel to cross the road, fretting over how the bungee rubbed noisily between the box and the tires, thinking what a big flustered bumbling mess I was and who did I think I was building this contraption and trying to make paintings right away here not knowing anybody and not knowing the country at all, but I paused and switched the orientation of the bungee so it didn't rub and made my way across the road and down the track and stopped at the strange spot I'd chosen for the way a road started up and across the valley from behind a light-blue roof, and doubting my spot the whole time and fussing and struggling to get the cart situated and steadied in its open position I sat down to mix colors and painted.

Six days in a row I've done the same thing every morning, doubting completely the spot and what I am doing each morning except for yesterday when I decided I'd put everything I could into the little painting and think of it as a real painting and not a study and I was so content up there without listening to the radio or a podcast, just looking out and laying down four big pink-orange shapes of the fields below the mountains and building the picture around them and finding four surprise blue shapes to fit into each corner that I couldn't have planned even if I'd tried.

A week now that includes some dips into deep despair and excitement and emptiness and all the things that make up real life as a human that feels things and has space to allow everything in and although sure it's been quick and how can there already be only 21 days left I feel full up on Paonia and CO and sure enough about what I'm doing to enjoy it and appreciating the point on which I'm perched where all around me are swirling possibilities and the real challenge and great opportunity is to sink down into this moment and not tumble off chasing something but stand here and trust the universe to do the organizing and figuring and be grateful for this life and truly believe in every bit of my being that this is my life and this is not some fantasy that must end but the true product of all the work I've done and the start of something new.

The Ferret

Last week as I was rafting in the river, I saw a little ferret standing on one of the cliffs next to the water. 'What a brave and curious little ferret', I thought. It isn’t easy for such a small animal to come out of the safety of its little underground nest, and then stand on his two feet to look at the rafters go by. But a ferret may not see rafters going by very often. It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the ferret.

And it made me think that the ferret and I were like-minded souls. As even though our fears were great, our curiosities were even greater.

I came to Elsewhere three weeks ago from a land far away. Leaving my wonderful husband, my cute little cat, and my warm cozy home for two months was not an easy thing to do. I felt like a small animal forced to come out of her little cave, crawl on top of the ground, and run in the darkness of the night– not really knowing where.

But now I’m here in Paonia and it is not dark here at all! The people are smiling, the sun is shining and the bagels are flying! There are no hawks waiting around the corner to eat me!

And the two months that I am here are not like the two months I’ve experienced before and will experience in the future. They are the sort of two months that don’t pass by very often.

After my stay here, I know I can crawl back into the safety of my nest, but I’m going back with a bag full of souvenirs: nuts, mushrooms and perhaps some berries as well. I will hide the nuts into the little crevices of my nest. I will dry the mushrooms in the sun and the berries I will make into jam. And so I know I will be able to cherish and share all the treasures collected from this journey for a long time to come!

Winter in Paonia - Henrik Haaland

Elsewhere House web log:  well I have been putting off/avoiding - writing something under the blog title for some time-well-since last January and it's not that I don't have a slew of examples as to what an Elsewhere "blog" may appear like - in effect an anything goes paragraph or two or three well composed paragraphs and accompanying photos of storied green house and local scenic setting Paonia-would do justice. As divergent in styles and mirroring personalities I recognize each author of the last three or is it four months. -As the current reigning veteran I am in the sans Frau position of remembering the dynamics of the winter session residents and with the force of personalities that each possessed  I feel compelled -despite president -to recall the first month evolving scene-- on people and not so much work.
 I was slow in joining the upstairs tribe of raucous laughter that would drift down into the Hobbit arched basement apartment with accompanying new installed Shauna -okay ..laughter -..raucous laughter indeed -I would be reading the pre sleep hours away and then from above a chorus of howls would gain momentum-a pause - a slur of vowels in lower case and then decidedly  uppercase - a howl. There was a rhythm to the sound box ceiling muffled instrument that I don't have the talent to translate phonically- but regardless I would catch the rhythm--and then wait for the beat -still waiting -finger touching last read book line -in pause position - waiting for the kick back exclamation-!!!----waiting--- " don't stop now" l-wait -wait -(them)-"HAaaAHAhhhee-ahh!!!--"-(me) "ah there it is"  -I could then resume reading some serious biography of Woodrow Wilson or Nine men in a Boat until another bolt of laughter and me -pausing - straining unattainable powers to reconstruct the filtered voices  for a translation clue - but for naught - giving up I would answer -" American Youth" but then realize - Roya -  a painter and late night or is it early morning owl / and In her downstairs social hours on a quest for the perfect cocktail -which she came to perfect was from - Iran. -The rest -American and youthful - but in their thirties -Carrie-a writer- was the -in the moment social director guide -a wit -inclusively disarmingly critical yet full of fun - a western slope nomad roaming the Tuscan -Jackson hole corridor territory -Macon- music man and man about town- looking for a break from years of band touring from Denver -Natalie disciplined studio painter extraordinaire Ct. by way of Oakland -
-well this form(blogging)is a learning curve enterprise and I'm splintering away for now- need to get back to work - fortunately the blog allows for this come and go allowance-love the form.
 -My next attempt at blogging  I will address my foray to the upstairs world re-con cause for merriment -and a traceable cause-  1and2)-Bloody Mary-ville 3)-what artistic aims -I thought the residency would serve and 4) true or falsehoods of- as master of the Elsewhere House domain -the siesta king -Tomato. -signing off -HH

My first week at Elsewhere.

I'm all set here in Paonia CO… got my typewriter… got my tea kettle… good to go! I arrived to Elsewhere Studios after a whirlwind of activity, starting with a Shamanic Journeying retreat in Sedona Arizona for the Spring Equinox, and then a flight home, three days of packing and preparing, and then four days driving to Colorado, (two nights in Moab, of course!) Even with the stop over in Moab and deep connections with all the rock people inhabitants at Arches National Park, arriving to Paonia was not without what I think was altitude acclimation issues. Dizzy, exhausted, not grounded.

It took me a few days to ground myself to my new community. Luckily my vision started to clarify and I could see the community physically. Streets. Buildings. Doors. Windows. Signs. I started to see each of the individual businesses and restaurants, I started to see the beautiful people with their souls shining as they smiled and greeted me on the street, and I started to see the fruitful landscape around me.

Paonia is beautifully a small town. I was immediately taken back to my days as a child, growing up in a town with a population of 2,500, attending school with only 170 other kids and graduating high school with a class of 23. Everyone knew each other and we used to joke that “whether you like it or not, people know the color of your shit.” At the time it was probably somewhat facetious... I mean really, how could anyone/everyone possibly be able to know about the status of my bowel movements. But now I see it from a different perspective. Living in a small town enables you to make connections, even if you don’t think you want them. People SEE you. They CARE about you. And even if you don’t know yourself, they KNOW YOU.

Experiences I’ve had in Paonia have already brought beautiful gifts. One of the first nights we went to eat at Louie’s Pizza and got to know Louie, a bicyclist and an avid road bicycle race enthusiast. Pictures on the wall, jerseys, medals, and a Belgium race on the television. Of course the pizza and beer more than hit the spot. (I highly recommend the eggplant appetizer by the way.) Hanging out, sitting at the bar, we met Rex, a beautiful soul with a seriously impressive rendition of Christopher Walken. Turns out Rex was in the movie business in his former life, that special effects guy making monsters and blowing stuff up. These days, Rex works at the Lands End Sculpture Center here in Paonia and he invited us up for a tour.

The very next day, all of the Elsewhere residents jumped into my car and we drove up to the center. Ok ok... it was like three minutes away. This is something you should absolutely do if you are interested in art, sculpture, bronze and metallurgy, the process of positive and negative forms to make a final result, foundry operations in general or if you are just curious and want to meet some awesome people. I had been to other foundries before, but not a custom shop casting art. All their work is one time only, meaning no patterns for manufacturing multiple parts month after month. Each job is unique and a work of art. I saw everything from small four-inch bronze bolo medallions to a jaw dropping 10+ foot wildcat. And that isn’t even the biggest they’ve done. It was so interesting to see and learn, meet the people who make it all happen and watch them in action. You can count on Paonia oozing with creativity, art and friendliness pretty much everywhere.

A late breakfast at Nell’s turned out to be another unforgettable experience. Nell’s is a small little spot with a walk up counter and Mark cooking up your order. It actually felt like I walked right into his kitchen, and he asks what I would like to eat and he makes it for me right there in his own kitchen. Less of a restaurant-feel, more of an everyone-hanging-out-in-the-kitchen-at-home-feel. To be honest, it was around lunch time (slept in a bit), so it didn’t seem out of the ordinary that the UPS man stops in for lunch. But Bill is not an ‘ordinary’ UPS man, (who is really ordinary anyway?) Bill pulls out his guitar and proceeds to play and sing for us three of the most beautiful original songs. A loving voice that is a blend of folk, country and pure love. Fingers strumming and flowing with energy. Songs about love, lost love, and then the song he is most proud (for good reason), a song for his daughters. Well, I know he is proud of the song, but that energy also comes from how proud he is of his daughters. Beautiful. I am SO in the right place.

Only one trip to the Trading Post on Old River Road and I was hooked. Ok, I want to live here. Fresh and local everything! Fresh raw almond milk. Homemade peach butter. Local happy eggs. Bulk foods galore. Produce grown from right around the corner. Organic everything. A bring-your-own-bags and return-the-jars kind of place. All the prices are wholesale because of the type of foods they offer, so you need to pay a membership for a week, month, year, or get free membership if you... “volunteer your time by making value added products, cleaning, restocking, weeding, harvesting or processing farm food.  Suggested time 2-3 hours a week.  Bring your homegrown products to sell, or accept "PostNotes" at your local business.” I love Paonia.

With the opening of Spring and the excitement of the approaching Summer, the town is starting to buzz and everything seems ready to pop. Business hours seem to be shifting to more-open-than-not, organic farms and wineries are soon opening for tours and tastings. Festivals, music, gallery openings and theatre productions. And speaking of theatre, we took the time to go to Marty Durlin’s “Back In the Dreamtime” production at the local Paradise Theatre. I went to the production with an open mind... albeit realizing I am a 40-something going to a musical production about 60-somethings attending their 47-year high school reunion. I was really excited when one of the reunioners (yeah I know it isn’t a word) passed out pot-laced brownies... I thought to myself... oh yeah baby, this is gonna get GOOD! And yes, the next scene fulfilled my desires with strobe lights, secret sex and live groovin’ guitar. But it quickly shifted to discussions of Alzheimer's, lost love, the fate of the world and death. These are all issues I invite discussions, but I felt myself fighting back concern with lines like, “We’re screwed,” and “Hope is a whore, we’ve been here before, she shows you the door, you come back for more.” Art is art, and this production was definitely worth seeing. Connection with the characters is inevitable as they warm your heart, stir up memories and encourage contemplation. The live music accompaniment was VERY impressive, it seemed all the seats in the house were awesome (we sat up in the balcony) and last but not least... you have to try the organic popcorn cooked in coconut oil served with real butter and my favorite, brewer’s yeast. Oh yeah baby... Paonia rocks.

With my cell phone service not working here (Verizon), I am gratefully forced to unplug more and more and engage and ground into my new home for the next months. I am nesting, settling, enjoying and inviting the flow, the inspirations and the writing. I am so happy and grateful to be here. Thank you Elsewhere. Thank you Paonia.

P.S. The locals aren’t kidding about the Flying Fork Cafe & Bakery and their awesome bagels only offered on Sundays. Seriously amazing, tasty, soft, warm... makes every corner of your mouth (and stomach) happy. And they’re also not kidding about getting there early. A line forms right before 9am and if you get there too late... you may miss out on bagel-day entirely.

With Gratitude, Dana Fuhrman

Desperately Seeking Jude!

As a visual artist who has fashioned a home studio in my dining room in New Jersey for the past five years, stealing hours between full time teaching , kids and life to paint, I dreamed of going "elsewhere." I envisioned a quiet spacious studio where I could create uninterrupted in a community of like minded individuals that fully support art making and dreaming. So here I am, nearly 1800 miles away from the east coast in the "land of abundance," at an artist's residency called Elsewhere located in Paonia, CO. The town itself, small and charming, offers big time culture and convenience all located just steps away from the Elsewhere residency. The Blue Sage, a cultural hub for art, dancing, music, Tai Chi and more, the Paradise Theatre, a state of the art library, top notch eateries and Revolution brewery are just a few of the establishments that attract locals and visitors alike. Sunday lunches at the Trading Post ,treks along the River Park and daily walks throughout this picturesque valley, hugged by breathtaking mountain ranges have made my stay especially memorable.

So getting back to the reason I ventured "elsewhere" in the first place, to ponder and paint in peace...and so I have. For the past five weeks, (with only 3 more to go... please say it ain't so), I have lived in the Gingerbread House, a cozy living space located behind the main residence. My studio space is in the "big house" complete with ample room, wall space and natural light. Art visionaries Willow, Karen and Maya have created this whimsical wonderland for artists that offers all the comforts of home and more. An excellent reference library of books was an added surprise.

There is much to write about as every nook and cranny of this residency and the people associated with it offer inspiration and each deserve recognition but I am not a writer . It seemed more apt that I share some images with accompanying captions to better illustrate my experience.

Daily walks offer endless glimpses of the beauty in and around the Paonia landscape! I wonder if one ceases to see and appreciate this beauty. I doubt it!

I paint children, primarily strong , passionate , empowered girls! We paint what we know! I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to capture the essence of these two beautiful young women, Ceylon and Riven!

An evolving outdoor space a Elsewhere offers a whimsical place to think, breathe and be.

The entry to my private space, the Gingerbread House! Warm and welcoming!

While walking with fellow resident Nathalie, passing a nearby farm, a flock of sheep seriously galloped to greet us from a few hundred yards away with a chorus of "baaahs."

Resident cat, Tomato is perhaps the most docile, loving feline I have ever encountered. Lover of all and loved by all...(and I am a dog lover), Tomato was a constant presence and companion .

Walks along the river amid beds of rocks were simply beautiful!

In celebration of St. Patrick's  Day, friends, abundance and fun, we were generously invited to plant peas and enjoy a pot luck supper , hosted by Adam and Sara. Kite flying, eating, playing and conversation ensued! I attended with fellow residents and friends, Nathalie Collins, Roya Amigh and Carrie Naughton!

Every Sunday, the Trading Post, a local organic farm, store and eatery generously offers a "by donation" Sunday lunch for the community. It is a spectacular  hot and cold freshly prepared buffet. The music adds to the warmth and richness of the experience.

Works in progress!

Me, Ceylon and Riven...in progress

And finally, here is a link that includes some images from our Artist's Open Studio at Elsewhere. It  allowed us  share our work and experiences with the community and was well attended! I am looking forward to what will transpire during my final few weeks. For anyone considering the worth of a creative residency....it is nothing more than an invaluable gift to yourself and your work. Elsewhere enables the muses and the magic unfold. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203410596213958.1073741836.1483745280&type=1&l=24464e35d9 Elsewhere Open Studio To view more of my work or to contact me visit http://www.judeharzer.com 

My take on Elsewhere

I was pursuing three aims in my application to the Elsewhere Studios Residency: completing three new projects, interacting with other artists and getting involved with the art community, and immersing myself in unspoiled nature. My expectations were met in all three aspects. I lived and worked in the suite for three months, which was an exceptionally well-lit space, beautifully furnished with a lot of hand-made objects. Since light and space are very important in my work, this living space had an exceedingly positive influence on my work. In addition, the objects in my surroundings inspired me to add new elements to my work.

I made several new friends in various fields of art during my stay at Elsewhere, and something tells me these friendships are going to last for a very long time. Seeing them grow in different stages of their work was illuminating and a delight. Specifically, I was able to closely observe the progress of a writer's work for the first time, which I found to be a wonderful experience. I was also pleasantly surprised by the vibrant art community of Paonia which seemed to outgrow the size of the town.

The structure and the palette of natural colors in Paonia was no less astonishing. Presence in that environment and seeing it every day was a major source of consolation for me as a person who is strongly attached to her family and lives far away from them. All in all, the experience was a blessing. Cheers to Karen and Willow for their exceptional support, and to Tomato, the sweetest cat ever!


Come in, Elsewhere. Over.

My residency at Elsewhere Studios is almost over, and I’ll have been here five months.  That’s a long time, apparently, judging by the reactions I get when I tell people.  But since I’m writing several novels at once, the time has gone by too fast.  I did manage to finish my femme noir mystery, as well as the first draft of novel that is becoming much more than I ever thought it would be, and which I intend to nurse along instead of rush to completion.

But I wanna talk about communication.  It’s been a real honor to have lived and worked in this house for so many days, with many wonderful individuals who have shared with me their art, their humor, and their optimism.  I lived alone for the past seven years, so coming here to a communal space was slightly daunting, to say the least.  I needn’t have worried.  Elsewhere residents are open, honest, fun and responsible.  I am inspired to make changes in my own behavior.
But I wanted to mention that if I could change anything about the way we all communicate around here, I would insist on….a housewide intercom system!!  Or perhaps walkie talkies.  Yes!
The upstairs suite possesses a treehouse-like sense of privacy, the gingerbread house lives in its own outside realm, the basement apartment has a separate entrance, and the Loft Room allows its occupant to choose invisibility via a closed a door.  All residents can move freely between their own sealed-off bubbles of me-time and the group atmosphere of the studio, kitchen and living area.  But sometimes when we want to get together on purpose, it’s hard to discuss plans or gather everyone without sending emails out into the ether and waiting, or hoping that someone’s cell service receives a text.  Walk down to the basement or walk upstairs?  What??!!!
Solution:  INTERCOM!!  Now, I know this will never happen, but wouldn’t it be so fun and so 1983?
Crackle crackle buzz static.
Kitchen comm:  Hey, man, we’re havin' Bloody Mary’s tonight, you comin’ up?
Basement comm:  Eh...I don’t know….I’m working on a woodcut the size of my truck.
Kitchen comm:  Bloody Mary night!!  You in?
Gingerbread comm:  ……..
Kitchen comm:  Helloooo?
Kitchen comm:  Bloody Mary night!  You in?
Studio comm:  Dude, I’m right in the next room.  Why’re you intercomming me?
Kitchen comm:  Well you weren’t in the Gingerbread house so…  Hey, Bloody Mary’s?
Loft comm:  Are you coming down tonight?
Upstairs Suite comm:  Oh yes.  I just bought a growler from Revolution Brewing and a bottle of vodka.  And we have goat cheese...
Paging All House comms:   Woooooooo   wooooooooooooo   (ghostly moaning)
Kitchen comm:  What the heck are you doing?
Loft comm:  What do you mean?  I think there’s a ghost.  This place is haunted.
Paging All House comms:   ooooooooo woooooooooooooooo
Kitchen comm:  If you got time to pretend you’re a ghost, maybe you could come out here and wash your breakfast dishes?
Loft comm:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Those aren’t my dishes.
Studio comm:  Have you seen Tomato?  I miss that cat.  Haven’t seen him for hours.
Upstairs Suite comm:  He’s up here sleeping on my lap.
Studio comm:  Stop hogging him!
Paging All House comms:  Elsewhere?  Come in, Elsewhere, over.  Please report to the kitchen when you hear the ghost.
Paging All House comms:  Wooooooooo oooooooo aaaawwwwwwwooooooooooo


Fact: February really is the shortest month.

As I write this blog entry I am taken back to a conversation I had with a dear friend while I was living here at Elsewhere: 'who really has time to blog?'  As life is going on around you, when is it the right time to take a step out and reflect?  I suppose the first of March will have to do. This was my first experience of an artist-in-residency program.  I came across Paonia with a friend on our way to Telluride.  We were meeting up with another friend for lunch at the Back Country Bistro(which is quite the local staple for lattes and conversation), and afterwards she walked us to Elsewhere.  I knew then that if & when I could find the time and space in my life to have a month dedicated to creativity that I would want Elsewhere Studios to be my place of refuge.

Naturally I am a very social person, as is the town of Paonia.  At first I kept myself from my urges to communicate and socialize with people in town so as to get the ball rolling and to be as productive as possible.  In retrospect, I think that this process did me a disservice.  I think I would have gotten in touch with my creative sensibilities much faster and more naturally if I had just gone with the flow.

I feel that my time here was very helpful for me in my development as an artist.  I found the walls within me that I had to question, inspect, calculate, deconstruct, and re-evaluate.  There were days on end where I couldn't create anything that felt worth a damn, and these periods of stagnation were enough to kill a man.  Fortunately, I did not die and I did not quite.  I really had to do some internal work and process my feelings and experiences in order to get to a comfortable and creative place.

I did my best to stay busy every day.  The main studio space here at Elsewhere is bright and open, with tall ceilings and natural light.  It is a very encouraging place to work.  The first two weeks I was here were cold and grey outside which made it easier for me to stay in and and create.  When the weather turned around and the snow started to melt I was able to go out and walk by the river which was very helpful in my process of creation, though a double edged sword.  Now that I was feeling truly inspired to stay in and create, all I wanted was to be outside and experience Paonia and the wonderful people spilling from the woodwork.  I suppose one month just isn't long enough for a guy like me in a place like this.

I would recommend a stint at Elsewhere for anyone looking to experience themselves in the heart of a vibrant and supportive community.  Willow and Karen were very pleasant and helpful as the facilitators of the studio.  My fellow residents were very nice to have around for the sake of their support and conversation and shared meals.  The people I have met who live here in Paonia have given me the desire to return and create something more.  I am happy to know that I have a place here in this community.  It is a gem and I am grateful to have been able to call this town my home.  Thanks Paonia.  See you next time.



Aside from getting plenty of work done, whatever your medium may be, here are some things that you should know about this town.  Get some strudel down at Hightower Cafe, go see a show or a movie at the Paradise Theater, get to Chris' tango class(I regret that I didn't go once! Chris is a great guy and I imagine a fantastic teacher), listen to KVNF while you are here, take many a walk down at the Paonia River Park, get involved with some sort of Yoga credit(month long unlimited yoga is what I wish I had gotten for myself), order fresh potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions from Scott Horner from Small Potatoes Farm, and Emily's goat cheese is worth every penny so get some for yourself.  And last but certainly not least... Tomato, the house cat, is a great friend to anyone.  Bye for now.IMG_6788

Ray Wilson - Elsewhere Resident September 2013

Elsewhere Studios is a magical hub for people in almost any stage of development. I’m 28, have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, 7 years of work experience (corporate), and am an energy intuitive. I quit my job in April 2013 unsure of what to do with my life. I was certain that the corporate world wasn’t for me, and that my life purpose wasn’t working for someone else. However, I didn’t know what that looked like or how I was going to go there.

 Elsewhere gave me an opportunity to find my path and expand it. I’ve always been interested in film and recently found a passion for rock-hunting to make macramé pendants with. Moreover, I was also giving Reiki sessions and readings to people and was unsure how all of this would combine into me. Being a public psychic was not something I was ready to do, and Elsewhere helped me step into my power comfortably.

 Not claiming that it was easy to find myself, but that the space and support at Elsewhere Studios enhanced my ability to find myself. I inevitably would have stepped into my power, but most likely would have taken longer. At Elsewhere the director Willow and manager Karen go out of their ways to ensure that you have everything you need during your stay. Furthermore, the community enhanced my stay at Elsewhere because there are scheduled events to share your art (in whatever form your art takes), and people are open to experience your art without judgments.

 While I was at Elsewhere, I was able to put my hands in art and become familiar with multiple art mediums. Discovering how I want to express myself, which is invaluable. Elsewhere’s space provided a beautiful place to teach Reiki; I attuned 8 individuals to Reiki Master during my stay.

 With all this said, Elsewhere Studios provides a safe fun environment to express you. In any form you choose appropriate, and enables you to change directions if so you choose. The town of Paonia is rich with experiences that will help define you forever.

 Staying at Elsewhere was monumental for my transition. Yes, my transformation would have happened regardless of being at Elsewhere. However, we get to steer our 3D experience and by attending Elsewhere’s residency program it will launch YOU to another level; that level is up to you.

 I choose to step into myself and confidently share with the world who I am without fear of what others think. Elsewhere helped me find that confidence.

 Welcome 2014! May 2014 be full of #awesomeness for you.

Mat Dubé - Residency August 2013

By Mat Dubé · FacebookTwitterGoogle+

This was my first time participating in an artist-in-residence program and it definitely won't be the last.  It was a full month of maximum creativity in a super inspiring environment!  Worked on a new technique I've been wanting to try for several years...mixing watercolour, sculpture and drawing.  I'm really happy with the end result!

Also got to live and create with some amazing artists: Diana Naccarato from New York, Megan Yankee and John Osburn from Columbus, Ohio and Mark Winston from Chicago.

Check out the video below to see my live/work space and the rest of the studio.

A big thank you to Karen and Willow at Elsewhere!

Place Specific Timestamps

Every place has its own rhythms, its particular headliners. Time slows or speeds up depending on routine. Arriving from the city where my own personal signatures of time are bulleted by public transportation alerts, crowds or lack thereof in patterns like flocks of birds, the last rays of light escaping as I cross the bridge home after a day of work. The feeling to rush while on the clock makes large parts of day the dissolve into thin air. Of course there is beauty to be found in the city, but the breaks that Paonia offers are welcome especially the isolation and stillness to drink it all in.

Not a day has gone by in Paonia wherein I haven't exclaimed to anyone in my company to- Look!

You don't have to go far, the two minute errand into town from the studio nearly does you in. The mountains sit in full view and the sky stays always a breathtaking blue. At night the stars are dizzyingly clear, the moon hangs large. There is usually something unique to see in the mix. You can count that the days and nights will be just as beautiful as before. At 5 I make a point to look out at the sunset-it is always a radiant blaze. It is comforting to see, the continuity within nature here especially as our world seems like it will go out like a matchstick at anytime. These points in the day where time slows into a further quiet.

If I had another month here I think I would spend more time just watching..





A Toast to 2014!!

Oh, you thought I meant a glass of champagne and some pithy remarks about resolutions?
No, no no.  Talkin’ ‘bout toast.  As in Bread and Buttah.  A toast post, if you will.
I mean, Elsewhere Studios is right next to a bakery, The Flying Fork, so I daresay this is appropriate.
So far I have taste-tasted (toast-tested?) several of the Flying Fork’s bready delights.  Whole wheat, rosemary foccaccia, cranberry walnut…I’m thinking about firing up the toaster oven right now.
Wikipedia defines toast as bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat.  I don’t know about you, but that is dang sexy.  Red hot coils!  Tongs and open fires!  Maillard reaction turning that bread to a perfect golden brown.
From what I’ve read of toast history, it sounds like toast arrived on the scene as the best way to make stale bread palatable.  So toast is like, recycling!  Sweet. But of course I think it’s better with fresh bread, and not grocery spongey wonder-white.  I’m just gonna put that out there.
Toast can be really personal, though.
I’m not here to tell you that your bread needs to have gluten in it.  I’m not here to debate the knee-knocking deliciousness of melting salted butter versus cholesterol-free Smart Balance, or mock your vegan coconut oil-white miso whip (cuz that stuff be good).  Do you like honey on ya toast?  Get it.  Is jam your thing?  Avocado and sea salt?  Maybe a full-on lumberjack shit-on-a-shingle manly meal?  Dry toast and tea for a sick tummy.  Massive mayonnaisey BLT for some big yummy.  Toast is versatile.  Toast is the most.
Plus, making toast is a no brainer.  Drop bread slice in slot.  Depress button.
Perfect for those hungover mornings when you need that extra two minutes to stare off into space and groan and think about all the embarrassing things you did or said mere hours earlier in the midnight hour.
Toast is ready to comfort and soothe you, belly and psyche both.
Why not have another slice?  Maybe with some peanut butter slathered on it this time.  Oooohhh.  Perhaps a little midmorning (or afternoon?) pot of coffee alongside?
However you love your toast, here’s hoping you enjoy it this new year.  But should misfortune befall you, and you accidentally drop that delicately browned slice of awesome onto the floor, may your toast always land butter-side up.


Lace, Rhinos, and Sea Anemones


(this is the first piece I made at Elsewhere.)


lace_inflatable_ detail


(These are the rhinos from the Houston zoo.  They are the inspiration for my second piece at Elsewhere)

Houston _rhinos

Sea Anemones

(This is a glass scientific model by Blaschka , titled Sea Anemones Fighting.  This is the other inspiration for my second piece at Elsewhere )

sea anemones fighting

Rhinos and Sea anemones fighting (a work in progress)


sea anemone top


Nicole Banowetz (me) with the rhinos fighting among velvet.

(photograph by fellow Elsewhere resident Landon Newton)


If interested you can see more of my work on my website or my blog.



Study Break!

Elsewhereain Carrie and I went on a skiing adventure a few days ago to Grand Mesa. After bickering over whether or not we would run out of gas climbing the some 4,000 feet on the snowy roads, we made it to the top. up, up, up

We only lasted about and hour but with the sun setting and below zero temps we were still happy we made the trip. That is not to say we were very happy to climb back into the car… Our trip ended (after refilling the tank) at Zach’s Bar and Barbecue, which we can recommend to future residents. If you like ribs, homemade sugary pies, and dead animals on the wall, this place is for you my friends!

cold but worth it

The In-Between Place

Sand Flats I came to Paonia from Moab. Or, I came to Paonia and I brought Moab with me. I've been writing about Moab, letting Moab dominate my mental landscape, for much of the last two years. And there's something about Paonia--where the desert meets the mountains, where canyon country is reachable but not too close--that settles me and helps me bring Moab into focus.

I've done this before. My first residency at Elsewhere was during the summer of 2012, and I was immediately smitten. When it comes to places, I'm easily smitten: I go to Moab and fall in love. I come to Paonia and fall in love here, too. I go home to Brooklyn and remember that I've loved it there all along. When so many places seek to claim you for their own, how do you choose where to be?


Long-term decisions aside, I choose to be in Paonia, to work in Paonia, because I like knowing that Moab is close, that I could go there if I really wanted to or needed to. And I like knowing that Moab is also far: far enough that I can begin to process the experiences I had there. The plane flight over Canyonlands. The 100-foot rappel from Morning Glory Arch. The afternoon with a 94-year-old woman who at first couldn't place me, and whose whole face changed, twenty minutes into our conversation, when she looked at me and said, "I remember you now."

Close: I still feel freshly infused with energy, with the rush of two perfect weeks savoring the red rock and yellow leaves of desert autumn. Far: I can begin to detach, to read my own notes and memories critically. I can reflect. I can pat myself on the back for making it through that pack raft trip without getting tossed into the rapids. I can blush with shame about the moment when a former county commissioner wanted to know my environmental politics ("Are you more wilderness-prone and Sierra Club and SUWA [Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance]? Are you... one of them?”) and I hedged and told him I'm kind of in the middle instead of telling him the truth: that I'm practically-minded with an environmentalist heart.

working in the sweet

Paonia is my in-between place, where I'm closer to Moab than to home, and far enough from everything to clear my head. I like knowing that the North Fork Gunnison River is flowing by on its journey to join the Colorado, which slices through Moab. With the last of fall's yellow fading to brown, leaves crunching underfoot, and the days growing shorter, Paonia is gently reminding me that it's nearly time to go home. Home being Brooklyn, for now, while I wait to see which spot on the map will steal my heart next.


Rebecca Worby


On Fruit, Paonia, and Home

“The West for desire, the East for home.” – Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

I read that last spring in North Carolina.  A succinct anomaly in Wolfe’s typically florid prose, the prose of a young person.  He seemed to be reminding himself of that equation: West = Desire, East = Home.  I appropriated the phrase and taped it to my wall in Paonia; it was my own reminder.

Driving, I have passed towns in Colorado with names like Bountiful, Fruita, Orchard City. The names mean fertility.  They mean fruit.  I ate a hundred apples in Paonia, each one bright, succulent.  I drank juice of local grapes impossibly sweet.  Paonia’s flavor was on my tongue. Even Paonia Realty’s sign portrays the valley as green farmland framed beneath by a laurel-like arc of grapes, peaches, apples and pears.  As my friend put it, Colorado is a cornucopia.

Wolfe’s phrase, then, seems apt.  His great West is like an offered peach which, when bitten into, will overflow, irresistible.  We bite, we taste, we devour.  Then we chuck the pit.

One warm Saturday afternoon, I awoke from a nap, my head thick with words I had been reading, and walked out into the town's yellow light as if bewitched.  Here was the extended fruit: Paonia golden, Paonia dreamy, its orchards dripping with gifts of apple, its trees alight with gentle October sun.  I walked and walked as if hypnotized.  Here I was, biting into the fruit.

It follows, from the equation, that the West ≠ Home.  My walk seemed to affirm this.  How could one make a home of a place so enchanting?  Enchanting places belong in dreams and vacations, not homes.

I ended my walk, returned to Elsewhere Studios.  I made a cup of tea, talked to my housemates, sat by the woodstove now useful for the autumn evening, and did a little writing.  All the rituals of home.  How quickly I learned which mug was my favorite; how quickly I grew fond of people near me!  Fantasies and desires blooming in the fabled West had not kept me, it seemed, from carving myself a little notch of home.

I left Paonia eastbound with a heavy heart and a sack of local apples.  My brief place there was possible only with the warmth that greeted me.  I reevaluate the equation, its permutations: the West for home, home for desire, desire for home.  And now: the East.


I like it here...

“I like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it.” - Celia, As You Like It I was taking some time out from working on my novel, willingly wasting time reading Shakespeare when I came across this line. Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone the clown have escaped the vanity and pomp of the court and are have arrived in the magical forest of Arden. I'll be leaving Elsewhere and Paonia in a few days and reading these lines almost brought a tear to my cynical, English, crime-writer eyes.

It's not that people come to Elsewhere to waste time at all – my time at Elsewhere has been very productive, but Elsewhere – and Paonia – are places you come to escape the pomp and vanity of the modern day court and return to nature, good food and community.

I didn't know what to expect at all... I arrived in Paonia after travelling the world for nine months, and although I've been to a lot of places, there is nowhere quite like Paonia.  I was installed in the Gingerbread House, a cute, lopsided little cottage at the back of the main Elsewhere building and, once I'd mastered the art of chopping wood and lighting the stove, I found that it was the perfect working environment. I soon settled into a routine and, sitting at my desk, with the occasional company of Tomato the cat, I rattled through a redraft of a comedy screenplay and the first draft of my new novel, a crime caper provisionally titled 'The Head of Charity Lane'.

Whilst it was great to get so much work done, for me the best part of the stay was the fun I had with my fellow residents, Rose, Molly and Melanie. Whether going out for pizza, dancing like lunatics in the studio to Bohemian Rhapsody, or getting to know the locals, I feel like I've made three new friends and will leave with many happy, funny, unforgettable memories.

Rose Molly and I, all being writers, were honoured to read our work on Tara Miller's KVNF radio show, One Woman's Perspective, and we were all touched by the number of people who attended our final presentation.

Some less enlightened people would think spending a month and a half in Colorado writing was a waste of time, and they might say some people who live in Paonia are wasting their time pursuing lifestyles which don't involve an office job and a mortgage because time is money in the West, but, I willingly could waste my time a little longer in this modern day Arden. I am sad to leave but, alas, I must go to the court of vanity, otherwise known as LA, and then return to the court of pomp, otherwise known as London.

I'd just like to say thank you to Karen and Willow for the hard work they've put in to make Elsewhere such a great place, thanks to my fellow residents for being such great company, and thanks to all the Paonians who have made us feel so welcome in their community. Oh, and thanks to Tomato for being the friendliest cat ever.

HJ Hampson


Twitter: heatherjhampson

Melanie, Rose, me an Molly

Me and Tomato hanging out in the Gingerbread House.