I spent a week as an Artist In Residence at the Herdsman House in Neubergthal, Manitoba in July 2022. The Herdsman House is part of the Neubergthal Mennonite Street Village National Historic Site, situated an hour south of Winnipeg near Altona, MB. Margruite Krahn, owner of the property the Herdsman House sits on, has created a residency program for visual artists, musicians, and writers in a peaceful Prairie oasis that takes participants back in time to the late 1870s (video, 2:05). It’s the perfect setting for reflecting, researching, reading, writing, and sketching. Immersed in the rich historic setting, surrounded by the many examples of Mennonite folk art traditions (bibliography), I absorbed the sights, sounds, and smells of the unique environment and made notes and created drawings for a new series of ceramic works. The interiors, furniture, patterns, and textures I documented during my residency are of particular interest and inspiration. In my new ceramic forms I will be incorporating traditional methods of printmaking used to “paint” the floors, such as stencilling, sponging, and stamping, and experimenting with crackle slips, crawl glazes, and lichen glazes to reimagine the century-old textures. The sourdough bread and farm fresh eggs provided at the residency, along with the private backyard sauna for resident artists, were also a bonus.

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