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  • Heather H.

Let's go to Nepal! ......wait......What?

In a little less than 2 months, I am heading to Marpha, Nepal for a 6-week residency at the Marpha Foundation and I am incredibly excited....and slightly terrified :)

What is the Marpha Foundation?

A wonderful NGO that has brought new education, resources and opportunities, through a kindergarten, library and other classes, to the rural village of Marpha. Please checkout their website to learn more about their efforts!

Why are you doing a residency there?

1) to explore a new process: creating and destroying ephemeral clay sculptures

2) to build artwork connecting climate change to the land and people

My goal during the 6 weeks is to explore a new body of work focusing on ephemeral sculptures confronting the effects of climate change on the local community and environment. I specifically hope to delve into the unexpected relationships between the people, the land and the flora and fauna. While I do this in my current work, I have always been concerned with the permanence of fired ceramics and the environmental cost. Thus, I have also always been interested in creating finished pieces in the greenware (raw clay) stage. As the final step, I would like to document the disintegration or death of the sculpture with time-lapse videography and photography. I have yet to try to make finished work in the greenware phase as, frankly, its not very practical or sell-able. However, having 6-weeks of dedicated time to explore a new process is incredibly thrilling and scary too!

What will you be doing?

That is a good question and I am so excited about this residency because I really don't know.....! Let me explain...the residency consists of a bare bones studios...I am talking a room with windows and a desk and chair. THAT'S IT FOLKS! NO CERAMIC EQUIPMENT!

This means, I will be going out with some of the women who work at the Marpha Foundation to dig my own clay. Now, I have never dug my own clay and I have no idea what this clay will be like, the consistency, the pliability or lack there of....it is a complete UNKNOWN! I also don't really know what other materials I will be able to easily access in the area. I plan on only using natural materials that can go back to the earth, however, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS! I will essentially be responding to the materials at hand and I will let them guide my creations.

Lastly, I will be filming and photographing the sculptures as they disintegrate out in nature. Some sculptures may be placed in a river, others will bake under the sun, some may be buried...etc. I really have no idea what the final product will look like from this residency, it could be a series of time-lapse videos, solo photos or just new knowledge and skills to bring to my next project.

So...bring on the adventure, the challenge of the unknown, the failures and successes and everything else that comes with exploring a new territory!

“I find the lure of the unknown irresistible.” Sylvia Earle (A personal hero and a very famous marine biologist)

I will be starting a fundraiser over the next couple weeks to help offset the costs of the residency and to act as a direct donation to the Marpha Foundation! If you want to learn more about the fundraiser and stay updated in general about this journey, please subscribe!

Thank you!