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!

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 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 is nothing more than an invaluable gift to yourself and your work. Elsewhere enables the muses and the magic unfold. Elsewhere Open Studio To view more of my work or to contact me visit 

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.

Elsewhere Feeds Your Creativity

It is my last week at Elsewhere and I cannot believe it is already coming to an end. It feels like it was just last week I first stepped foot in Elsewhere Studios, exhausted from a long days trip and trying to pull myself together long enough to be somewhat presentable when meeting my fellow residents. From that very first day, I have felt completely at home here at Elsewhere and the town of Paonia, completely taken by the beauty of such an amazing place. 

My first few days were spent getting settled, unpacking, and organizing all my supplies. (As an oil painter, I have many supplies I had to ship in.) I also spent a lot of time in those first couple of days exploring the town and realizing Paonia's breathtaking beauty. October, like most months I am sure, is an ideal month to spend here at Elsewhere. The beauty that surrounds you automatically influenced and seeps into every work of art you make.

Having never created art outside of an academic setting or at an artist residency before, I was at first very anxious about my production process while at Elsewhere - I wasn't quite sure what to expect from myself. I set a goal to always be working on at lease 2 pieces at a time and come away from Elsewhere having created 5 paintings - a reasonable goal. I left that goal in the dust. Elsewhere, within Paonia, is an artistic haven, an ideal environment that feeds creativity. Within the past three weeks alone I have produced 9 paintings and still have 2 more in progress.

I have enjoyed every minute spent at Elsewhere. The other residents are amazingly talented writers and I am so glad I got to share this experience with them. Not only did we have fun whenever and wherever possible, but we got to share with and influence and critique one another, making our time spent at Elsewhere that much more productive and beneficial.

Thank you Elsewhere for this amazing opportunity. You have helped me realize my dreams are feasible and that I can enjoy every minute of my artistic journey.

- Melanie Reese, painter, Oct. 2013 artist in residence




August at Elsewhere - Diana Naccarato

My stay at Elsewhere was invigorating and informative. The welcoming atmosphere and enthusiasm of Paonia's artistic community allowed for a prolific month of concentration and contemplation. Days were spent writing, painting, and reflecting on my work, and there was plenty of time to share ideas and form relationships with fellow residents. Paonia in August was lively and energetic, with beautiful weather and plenty of community activities to partake in, such as the Pickin' in the Park Summer Concert Series. I spent the month of August living in the Loft Room and working in the main studio, both of which were spacious and flooded with light. Living and working on the Main Floor enabled me to interact with, and get feedback from, the many visitors that passed through Elsewhere throughout the day.

Elsewhere is a haven for artists seeking time, space, and resources to create in a supportive environment. The local artistic community is open to a wide range of perspectives and many locals are eager to participate in Elsewhere events, thus promoting a fruitful stay in Paonia. My stay invigorated my practice as a painter and allowed me to produce seventeen drawings and paintings in four weeks (I also filled a sketchbook and a half during my residency-----the ideas just kept coming)!

My paintings and drawings deal with notions of emergence, growth and becoming. I have used inks, pens, oils, printmaking, and sculpture to understand these concepts through ambiguous forms and spaces reminiscent of natural forms and forces. I am interested in allowing individual marks to accumulate and form something larger. During my stay at Elsewhere, I focused solely on drawings and paintings made from Sumi Ink and some oil pastel.

At the end of the month, the Blue Sage Center for the Arts graciously hosted an exhibition and performance for the August Elsewhere residents, which was a great experience. I also spent lots of time at Studio Bija throughout the month, where I was able to practice yoga with a caring community.

I would recommend a residency at Elsewhere to any artist eager to devote an extended period of time to developing concepts in a relaxed, supportive environment. It was not easy to say goodbye to Elsewhere, but for now, it's back to New York. I hope to visit again someday! :)

I'll be updating my website soon with images from Elsewhere, so feel free to visit !

July 2013 at Elsewhere - Miles Lewis

I spent the month of July in the Gingerbread House, working in the large, shared studio. I focused on my sketchwork, within a limited range of media: graphite, digital blogging, and crayon. I completed one painting in egg tempera and updated consistently on my Metaphorical Association collaborative blog. . All of the images are collected on my Sketchblog.

Soft, quiet mornings and nights were the tails of concentrated work days. A rotation of supporters, neighbors, and associates made up an exciting prism of human interaction - shining on the left. 

Great thanks for all of the warm reception and to Karen, Willow, and Riven for their continuous care. 



Two months at Elsewhere Studios---

I arrived at Elsewhere at the beginning of May after living in San Francisco since Janurary, my first night consisted of a BBQ including an array of meats I've never tried befpre, new people and a tour of the space I would call home for two months. I knew it would be a magical time from that first night.  I came to Elsewhere prepared to spend all my time on new work. I graduated last year from University of Florida with a Drawing degree and wanted to elaborate on a series I had started my last semester. My work deals with theories of the infinite, proposed structures of the universe and the utter isolation these postulates create. I created 7 new paintings which involved new mediums such as hologram paper collage, did some collaborative collaging with Taylor Boylston, an artist I met at Paonia, and some experimental drawings. Me and Taylor had a collaborative final show my last weekend at the Blue Sage called Everything that Is. Not only did I have time to focus on my work and do readings/research but also had time to do a variety of activities around Paonia! I met so many great people who allowed me to participate in new experiences such as paragliding, water rafting, shooting, camping in Telluride! It was truly an enchanting life those two months. I already miss the fairy tale like house that is Elsewhere, the infectious energy around Paonia, and of course Rev beers! I made some great friends and I will be back next year with fellow Resident Alicia Toldi ready to make more art and have new experiences, cant wait! See ya later Paonia!

the artwork i made at Elsewhere & also previous work can be viewed @ 

IMG_2395Fellow June Residents: Sarah Coates, Alicia Toldi, And me!

June at Elsewhere

Today's the last day of a great June residency at Elsewhere. Carolyn Porras continued her residency from May, and Sarah Coates and I (Alicia Toldi) arrived at the beginning of the month, while Felipe Campuzano arrived halfway through to begin his stay in the new basement living space/studio. It's been a busy month, with a lot of art-making in our shared studio space as well as endless irresistible warm-weather activities (rafting, learning to paraglide, sleeping under the stars...) Paonia is absolutely beautiful, and its people are among the most wonderful, welcoming individuals I've ever met. Right now, the community is coming together to rebuild the wall around Elsewhere as part of the Village Building Convergence, creating structure with a variety of techniques, including straw bales, cob, and wooden pallets. The walls will have 3-d designs, and will be outfitted with little windows and cubbies, a bench, and the strings of a piano. It's been great to spend my last days here creatively working with my hands, even when my work in the studio is mostly done. I can't wait to see it done when I return.

Studio-wise, though: I came here thinking I would focus on detailed drawings of grand, infinite nature. Instead, surrounded by this nature, I decided to focus more on the things we use and see every day that aren't infinite or really noticed, things that are temporary and perhaps already past their prime. My series of drawings is called "Everything Must Go," and consists of drawings of things I have come across such as an old Victorian house, a stack of empty plates, and a symmetrical motel room, all drawn meticulously on yellowing paper from an old photo album. I was also given a huge bag of expired film by some photographers who came through for a bit, and have been taking photos of many of my experiences, not really knowing how the age of the film will affect the picture but hoping for something strange and beautiful.

It's been a wonderful month! Colorado has the best clouds, and the brightest stars. Thanks, Paonia!

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