October is a busy month

I’m missing the brilliant New England fall foliage, but there has been plenty to keep my mind occupied. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Friday we saw a triple bill at Tipperary Dance Platform. It is a great little festival full of international talent, live performance, dance films, and classes. Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.08.15 AMThe choreographers we saw were from Mexico, Spain, France and the Netherlands. Traveling to see performance is likely to become our new norm – but Ireland is small enough that we can be most anywhere within a few hours.

Hughie started a job at Apple this month. He’s delighted to be using his French skills, and it is a great company to work for. Two words: Health Insurance!!! For both of us.

12138602_10153777364584416_7773405146163650687_oGareth has been cutting away at the dead trees and low hanging branches, diligently building up a store of firewood. We borrowed a chainsaw from my in-laws, and they gifted us an axe. The best thing since hammer drills… Our main conclusion is, we need a goat to eat away all the underbrush.

We’ve also made a start on the future library/music room. Wallpaper is coming down, and this weekend will be a bit of a plaster demolition party when friends come down from Wicklow. Any volunteers along the way will be well fed!

Hopefully we will be able to take on more work exchange residents in a few months, so if you’re traveling this spring or summer and want to volunteer a couple of weeks in exchange for living & art-making space, get in touch. We’ve added some new tabs to the website for programs (like the work exchange), events, and photos. It’s still in development, but let us know what you think!

image1(4)Tomorrow the surveyor comes to take measurements of the house. Soon, we will have drawings we can work from in planning the renovation. I have so many ideas!!!

I picked up some colored pens and a binder to store all of the brochures and magazine clippings I’m gathering. In the coming weeks we will cost out the electric, plumbing/heating, kitchen cabinetry, floor coverings and paint/wallpaper. This will help us determine what is left for the builder. The house has become my full-time job, and I love it.

Meet Fred, Olive, Luther, and Feta. We cat-napped them from Uncle Ollie’s farm, where there is a bit of an overpopulation problem (14 cats!!!).

Fred with Uncle Ollie                      Olive
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Fred, Luther & Feta                           Feta
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Fred showed up on the farm, out of the blue, about a year and a half ago. He is incredibly friendly and loves to jump into your arms to be held. He’s also a ferocious hunter. Fred does everything intensely, and I immediately fell in love with him last year.

Our two lovey American cats, Cashel & Spy, don’t go outside. They are finally figuring out the existence of the new cat-pack outside, and aren’t sure what to think.
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Feta is easiest to photograph since she’ll actually stay still! 12168042_10153777812224416_2127619357_n

Olive was a bit shy for the first two days, but now everyone seems to be adjusting to their new home. Which really is a pretty perfect paradise for a cat.

xo,
Jess

Announcing our first work exchange Artist-in-Residence

We are delighted to welcome playwright and author Gareth Fox to Greywood Arts!

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Gareth will be helping us prep the house for renovations while working on new short stories.

Here’s a little about him, in his own words:

I was born in Craigavon, County Armagh, on a very harsh, cold November evening, or maybe it was a morning or afternoon – I have no idea. I’ve never asked. Anyway, yes, I am from Northern Ireland. I studied English at Manchester Metropolitan University and after I graduated I fled to Montpellier in the South of France. What an absolutely horrible place to seek intellectual refuge, yeah? And, oddly enough, that is where I had the ill fortune of running into Hughie and Jess.

I spent four and a half years there, struggling to acquire the language and also struggling to find my feet as a writer. After a few years I finally made a small impression with my first stage play, For Use Of The Laity, which ran in Montpellier and Avignon. I have recently turned to fiction writing with publications in Liberties Flash Fiction – Ireland and The Incubator.

For me, the opportunity to join the Greywood Arts team has come at a very significant time. 12091165_10153749534259416_6992948010823086342_o
It i
s no secret that the biggest struggle for young writers is finding the time to write/rewrite/edit/redraft around work commitments – those work commitments which pay rent and put food on the table. There will always be those who state that if you want to be an artist you will always find time to create your art – I think we all know what that is.

I was asked recently, after venting spleen to a friend for a few minutes about these very struggles, what would be my ideal job? I answered, “I would like to spend my days power-hosing things. Anything. Barns, houses, walls of things which have walls.” When asked why I explained two reasons. One is that my mind would be free to amble and exploit the difficulties I was having with my fiction in order to be able to attack it that evening (I would not be mentally fatigued). The second reason; I could see, physically, what my exertions have created; when power-hosing there is a clear vision of what is dirty and what has been cleaned/improved. Here, at Greywood Arts, I have that opportunity in abundance – the exertion of physical energy (like a “dauntless chieftain from days of yore”), seeing the rewards of this labour and also the time to focus on my own art) and in such a beautiful location.

And dauntless Gareth has been in attacking the dining room with a hammer drill. He’s removed about 4 inches of plaster all around in preparation for dry lining! 2015-09-25 13.46.19    2015-09-25 13.46.37

In the coming months you will hear more from Gareth on this blog, on facebook, and on our soon-to-be twitter account that he has offered to set up for us. Yipeee!