Hello and welcome to my very first blog post as the 2023-2024 Resident Artist! This year has been full of surprises of all kinds, but in the quiet of the Sprouting Spaces studio things have now been picking up pace like a bull on a zip line.

Before the residency, I had been working out of a home studio that is absolutely dwarfed by this space. Since getting settled, I’ve spread out and set up different areas per each material I’m working with. I can’t express how much time and energy this saves while you’re in the middle of a very productive flow. These “stations” generally consist of an epoxy resin table, a ceramics table, a fabric embroidery wall, a painting wall, and a clean area for photographing work. This allows me to move from one project to another without skipping a beat. At any one time, an oil painting is drying, a silicone mold is setting, an epoxy cast is curing, and ceramics are hardening, while I’m sewing. This division also ensures all like-materials stay clean from one another. 

 One corner of the Sprouting Spaces studio.

Today, I’m sharing some photos of one mixed media piece that is about mid-way through the process of being completed. Recently, I’ve been steam-bending wood, and while bending a larger sheet, I took it out of its drying position and set it on the floor when—voila—I saw it was able to stand up on edge by itself, and realized I wanted to make other plans for it. On one side, I began a charcoal drawing and started prepping the bare wood for oil painting. On the other side I began a drawing using glued rope and wood staining, without much idea where that would end up. 

(Left) The bent wood sheet viewed from the side, standing independently, with a charcoal drawing and painting gesso applied.
(Right) The backside view, revealing the start of a “rope drawing”.

Then the charcoal drawing on the front side got covered completely with gesso (primer), and I began the oil painting. I should emphasize how exciting this was for me, since I haven’t done any oil painting in roughly a decade, mainly because of studio space limitations. Here are some detail shots of the current imagery in the painting which includes the ancient Hallucigenia worm and its fossil imprints. More details in upcoming posts on this concept’s role in my work. 

Details of an oil painting in-progress, featuring Hallucigenia worm and its fossils.

On the backside, I began some drawings in-between the registers created by the ropes, using wood burning tools. Imagery here includes twirling dogs, prowling chickens, eyeballs undergoing REM sleep, and a rolling slumberer. 

Details of a mixed media piece in-progress involving bent wood, rope, stain, and wood-burned drawings.

This year I’ve watched my work become knotted up with ideas about deep time, universal collapse theories as a way to diminish climate disaster panic, and things/people being salvageable or frozen in time. After some very intro-level astrophysics & time theory reading (mainly Carlo Rovelli + Katie Mack) I started thinking about how each of us have our own time zone and rate of time, which gets shared when we’re pulled into one another’s “orbit”, when our lives come in contact. Though there is always a distance between you and I no matter how close we are standing, our personal senses of time, or rates of time, meet directly. Sparks fly as friction ushers my gravitational force against yours while I enter your orbit. My time zone feels its own warping. 

Two books that have been particularly important to my work over the past year include Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time, and Katie Mack’s The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking).

It’s been quite the saving grace having such a large studio space and resources during the past few months through the residency, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here very, very much. Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share a bit about my experiences with the visitors at CT Post mall, who are often charmingly caught off-guard to find an active artist’s studio on their walk through the mall. 


‘Til then,
Jenn Cacciola