Chelsea Rowe – A Stupid Floridian Learns What Snow Is

I flew into Denver just a few days after the New Year from my beach town of St. Petersburg in Florida, where a cold day is around sixty degrees. I got off the plane and was AMAZED at the tiny dirty piles of snow on the sidewalks, picking up handfuls and examining the snow as if it were some unknown specimen. So, as you can imagine, my train ride through the mountains and into Glenwood Springs was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever experienced – there’s probably a permanent Chelsea print on the window of my train seat. Sharon picked me up from the station and drove me the rest of the way to Paonia over McClure Pass – I was convinced I was about to die. 8,800 feet is pretty intense for someone used to zero feet above sea level….

As soon as we drove into Paonia I knew that this was a special place. There’s something so wonderfully relaxed about this town that makes it feel so welcoming and truly good at its core. My second night here we opened up to the town for an informal meet and greet to get to know each other and to be introduced into the community, one of some of the kindest and welcoming people you could meet.

Coming to Elsewhere I was a little trapped into a cycle of making that was incredibly process-oriented… One thing couldn’t happen until another thing happened and after a series of sculptural masks I could do photos and videos and then EVENTUALLY I would get to a painting or a drawing. After a bit of a Caesar-Milan-reaches-a-breaking-point-with-a-troubled-dog moment I realized that what I was making wasn’t necessarily about the entire process but about its underlying themes of family and the idea of family as something that you can create for yourself. So, after realizing this, I decided to move back toward more traditional two-dimensional figure pieces that documented a chapter in my life that was full of extreme memories, both hilarious and strange, that has now drawn to a close. I felt that documenting these figural pieces was much more organic and my feelings toward the people in the images were my strongest emotions at that time.

As my time here moved into February, I began to think back to the way that I worked before I came here. With this more organic feeling of family ties and family through friendship, I moved toward larger drawings and toward more dramatic and theatrical pieces. I made a faux fur coat and dyed it multiple times (and almost ruined the bathtub) … it’s end purpose will be revealed later…. hopefully. Here are some of my February productions:

One of the highlights of my time here was definitely the entire town packing into the tiny but wonderful Paradise Theater to watch the Superbowl– My southern roots really could get into the spirit of drinking lots of beer and yelling at sports (while never really knowing what was happening)!



Now I’ve reached the midpoint of my stay here at Elsewhere, and I’m writing this while sitting next to the wonderfully warm wood stove in the living room. Many times while writing this Kitty Tomatoes has jumped into my lap demanding hugs, something extremely hard to ignore. I’m so excited at how much my work has evolved in only two months here, and I can’t wait to see what happens in another two. Thanks to Elsewhere, and thanks to Paonia one million times over.



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Roots, Warmth, and Deer

With gratitude for all that’s led me here, I’m over a month in to this four month artist residency which began in early January. Once I entered into this valley, I felt quite a lyrical energy. Listening to ‘Dulcimer Moon’ by Heidi Muller may have enhanced this fairy tale-esque, mythical mood as I stopped for a moment by some big robust deer at the base of McClure pass. Some prayerful hours including much gear changing to get my tiny bar of gas over the mountain later, I arrived at the ‘gingerbread house’ casita, my new home for a while, where, again, I was greeted by a group of nice big running, playing deer. Here’s a picture of this little house from the art studio I am working in. studio house After a few days here, the four artists, along with a good turn out of maybe 20 folks from the community gathered for a ‘meet and greet’. We showed slides of past work and shared plans for what we’d be up to. It was a great event. I felt really understood and loved up by the crowd who asked great questions and seemed to truly care about arts.  It was beautiful. We hosted an end of month show in January where again, I appreciated the quality of attention of those who came; watching folks take the time to sit with the work, stemming conversations from what was present and alive. Super great. I presented a group of found natural material/crafted collages embedded with these ceramic characters I was making that were certainly inspired by Caroline Douglas’ awesome work I got to connect with several times in Boulder. prayerpocketclaysitflowerheadcraftcollage1 I also had up a series of 18 small paintings that I had begun to sketch out during my yoga training. They were all some variation of a Sanskrit symbol called the ‘muladhara yantra’ associated with the ‘root’ center. I liked having 18 as it’s a sacred number in both Hindi and Hebrew languages. Here are photos of some of those: unnamed-15 unnamed-14 unnamed-11  unnamed-6 unnamed-5unnamed-4  unnamed-10 unnamed-9unnamed-16   It has been largelynourishing to chop wood and sleep by wood heat in this little house. Chelsea has reminded me a few times that being warmed by the heat of a wood stove is like getting a hug. I do feel a giant embrace in my life right now in getting to live and work in this fertile creative place. I have also said several times that this experience has been a perfect way to get someone who thinks they don’t like winter to fall madly in love with it. housestovehousebookshelf Inside house. Gotta love crooked windows.. unnamed-20house found a phoenix in the fire.. firebird Right now I’m working on oil paintings and ceramics, gleaning content from Jewish teachings, a personal mythology, the feminine heart, and of course, the deer! Starting at the last new moon, about a week ago began the joyous month of Adar in the Jewish calendar, which this year lasts two months in this ‘pregnant’ or leap year in the cycle.  Looking forward to infusing joy into this work over the coming months. unnamed-1 With warmth, joy, and roots, Amy  

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Elsewhere on my mind – By Tara Gilchrist

The truth is, Elsewhere has been on my mind every day since our departure over a month ago.  I’ve told anyone who will listen about Elsewhere’s huge impact on the inspiring community of Paonia and, in turn, on both my life and art.

On September 13th, the morning after I married Caitlin, I received a message that there was a last minute opening at Elsewhere for October.  The timing of the invitation could not have been more perfect.  We had already decided to road trip to Colorado as part of our honeymoon and visit a close friend in Paonia. However, we hadn’t figured out where we would stay or for how long.  Having access to a kiln and wheel meant we could afford a longer stay as I could make pieces for upcoming shows back at home in Canada. Within our first week of arrival, it was an easy decision to stay not just for the month of October, but November as well!  Our upstairs room with a cosy bedroom nook, claw foot bathtub and beautiful open space was the perfect lovers/artist quarters. The people and shared kitchen were warm, inviting and eclectic. Here was a space to make pots, do yoga, eat local healthy foods, explore new landscapes and connect with open hearted people.  Here was a place rich in everything most important to both of us in our new life together.

The lines are blurred between my art practice and every day life as I’ve always felt like my life is an ever evolving art work in progress.   I have built a studio and gallery over the past 8 years that centres itself around my pottery, yet there always seems to be a million things pulling me away from creative experimentation. At home surrounded by lakes and trees in the hamlet of Dorset, Ontario it often feels like there’s little time to just play with clay.  My experience of being a working artist is that very little time is actually spent with my hands in the clay and much more time is spent running the business.  As life becomes richer and fuller…I must make a greater effort in finding the time for creative experimentation.  Clay is my primary medium of choice and I know to continue to work with it and feel satisfied…I must never settle.  My approach to clay, as in life, is that enjoyment of the process takes top priority. Trusting that the more joy I can find in the process of making, the more satisfaction I find in the final product.  For this reason, I love to combine my passion for travel, connecting with loved ones and great food with my creating. Being surrounded by the unique style of the Elsewhere’s grounds, fellow artists and the local community was a perfect fit.

Living and working at Elsewhere gave me the opportunity to isolate some aspects of clay work that I’d been wanting to experiment with but haven’t felt I had the time. I purchased a new red clay body and a beautiful peacock blue glaze from just outside of Boulder and combined that with hand carved wooden stamps I’ve collected from travels to India.  I’d been wanting to experiment with new approaches to decoration by using the stamps and coloured glaze for several years but always felt like I didn’t want to risk the time in my production schedule. Here, I was able to produce a body of work that I loved making as much as the final product.  Bringing all this work home to my customers in time for holiday shopping has made it possible to fund the next adventure of living in Guatemala for the winter months. My only regret from this experience is not having spent more time getting to know local clay artists.

Paonia has left such a mark on our hearts that we are already scheming on when we can return.  My head is spinning with ideas of connecting with locals for group collaborations and firings. Until then, the open minded spirit of Paonia has a strong hold on us and we’re working on ways to infuse our northern hometown with all of our Elsewhere inspiration.

Thank you Elsewhere for dreaming so big in all you strive to create. I look forward to seeing how things have evolved when we return.

Big love to you all,                                                                                    Tara

Click here to follow Caitlin & Tara on Instagram                               and visit &

All photos taken by Tara & Caitlin

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Betsy Foster

Living and working at Elsewhere for the months of October and November was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Beginning my trek from Rochester, NY to Paonia, I did a little road trip across the country: making stops at the Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park- then south to Colorado. This experience of driving across the country, seeing mountains for the first time, and then living in the valley really inspired the work I made during my residency.

For the month of October I dedicated my studio time to tackling the teapot form. Having the time to just make work and not having to worry about anything else is something so invaluable and I’m very thankful for the opportunity. November was spent making work to round out my body of work for my graduate school applications.

I’ve included in progress shots from the studio and finished photos of my favorite pieces made during my stay at Elsewhere:

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I’m so thankful to have had the chance to live and work at Elsewhere and for the artists and friends I’ve met. Paonia really is an amazing little town and it will always be a special place for me.

Betsy Foster

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to there then here then back to here again.

I came to Elsewhere  to work on the drawings of a short comic I wrote. The comic is about a group of young boys who find a man living in the greenbelt of thick woods that is behind their suburban houses. The boys discover an complex detailed home of an outsider artist and marvel at their terrifying discovery. I find the age of adolescence so compelling because one feels like they know everything in the whole world and yet everything is new and totally scary.



I also got to work on some fun experiments in drawing dealing with a sudden huge development in my life.



Back home now – Looking forward to continuing the projects that began at Elsewhere 🙂

Its so welcoming and warm at Elsewhere I miss you other residents (Sarah, Trent, Laurie) already! Such good folks.

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Laurie Longtin

Boston, MA

Going to Elsewhere I had in mind to make functional pieces (plates, bowls, cups etc.) with paintings of landscapes on them. I had never been to a mountainous region and it certainly did not disappoint! I planned to make many pieces, and pick the best eight to inlay, paint, and use underglaze newsprint transfers on. I always overextend myself, so completing what I had planned is an amazing feeling! Some of the pieces are larger and have more detail and painting, and some less.

I found wonderful companionship in Tomato the resident kitty.


I helped host a mug making fundraiser for Elsewhere through Backcountry Bistro. Community members made mugs and when they sell a percentage will go to them, Elsewhere, and Backcountry Bistro.


One beautiful afternoon all the residents went to the reservoir for a swim.

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I made a set test tiles of all possible glaze combinations for the studio to keep.


Two of the residents and I entered the grape stomping competition during the Mountain Harvest Festival.



Sarah and I went on a little hike around Mount Jumbo before the super moon eclipse.



On my last night at Elsewhere I hosted a newsprint transfer and lithography on clay demo.





This residency is the first time I have ever traveled by myself, and also the first time I focused solely on my art. After just one month at Elsewhere I have been told my ceramics show a noticeable improvement. I have also gained confidence in myself and my decisions. Returning to Boston I continue to feel the peace I found in Paonia. I will always treasure the lovely times I shared with Trent, Sarah, and Toby. I cannot thank Karen Good enough for this opportunity and all of her help, and also the community of Paonia for welcoming us so warmly and participating in my “choose your own adventure” at Elsewhere.

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September in the Land of Elsewhere

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It’s been an interesting month here at Elsewhere.  I’ve had moments of inspiration and moments of frustration, and I’ve learned where I am with my work and what I need to do next. And I’ve managed to meet some really amazing people along the way. Looking back, I wish I’d arrived with fewer expectations of myself, and more of an intention to be open to exploration, but perhaps this experience is what I needed to wake me up from the assumptions I’ve been operating under. Namely, I realized that I’ve been very focused on creating a refined end product, whereas I should be focusing on what I would like to say with my work, and why, and to let it flow from a place of deep calm, insight, and joy. Such realizations are all part of the process, and I’m glad that my month at Elsewhere allowed me to realize I’m right where I need to be.

Initially, I thought I’d make at least two or three very polished large paintings, in one month, but this isn’t what happened! I brought, and intended to finish, a large painting that I’d been working on for the last few months at home. This piece was based on a drawing from a photograph, and depicts a person standing in the the dappled light caused by the shadow of a tree. The dappled light creates an abstract pattern on the wall behind the figure, as well as across the person’s face, obscuring it. The feeling is that of an open, friendly confrontation, with a person whose face and gender is mysterious. The painting itself depends mostly on a smooth gradation from dark to light. You can always make a gradation smoother, so I spent a lot of time obsessively smoothing it out, more than made sense to. I included a couple detail shots so that you can see the way I work in oils. The texture of the linen is important to me, so the way I work is basically drybrush, in a process similar to drawing, or a highly refined underpainting. I often end up working with a tiny brush to make the areas that are slightly too light a little darker, and then lift out the areas that are too dark with a tiny bit of paper towel, until a smooth tone is achieved. I drove myself almost crazy on these little things, and it wasn’t until the month was almost over that I realized I’d been wrapped up in details, and I wasn’t close to finishing anything!

I resolved to finish the painting quickly, without the fussiness from before. And I ended up finishing in the last few days before the show, more satisfactorily than I thought I’d be able to do in such a short time. (I’ll probably still touch it up a bit once I get home, though not to the obsessive degree as before.) The experience made me realize I’ve reached a point with my work that is part of a familiar pattern for me from past years: I start out a project or technique loosely, then over the course of several months, I get tighter and tighter until the work becomes stiff and so slow to finish that I’m not even enjoying it anymore. And then I have to begin again, loosely and freely to start anew. I imagine many artists go through something similar. It’s been a valuable experience for me, and I know that once I get home, I will immerse myself in sketches and experiments, without concern about a perfect outcome. As my father said to me earlier today over Skype, “Perfection is the enemy of the good.” I’m not sure whether this statement is translated from Latin by some great past thinker, or is something that he just made up (you never know with my dad), but either way, it will be my mantra for the coming weeks.

I also began a new painting that I’d been planning on starting for a while. It’s a portrait of a contemplative young woman, based on a drawing made from life at my figure drawing group back home in Santa Fe. The portrait is within an oval, against a background of infinite ocean. The world outside one’s mind is infinite, and the world inside is infinite too. I wanted to convey the vastness of the nature and imply a comparison to the vastness of the mind, within a classical or timeless framework.  I didn’t finish this piece, so I’ll be finishing it up at home.

A serendipitous moment occurred here at the local bar.  I’d thought of making a companion piece to the aforementioned, of a young man’s portrait within an oval and mountains in the background instead of ocean. I had a specific face in mind for this young man — I wanted to paint someone with classical features, and was disappointed to think that I didn’t know anyone with the appropriate face to model. Then one evening, the other residents and I went out to a local bar (“The Rev”), and as we were sitting and drinking our beers, a young man walked in the door with just the face I’d been imagining earlier! After I worked up the courage to approach him, I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I know this is weird, but I’m an artist and I’d love to use you as a model.” He was flattered and only too happy to help me out. I photographed him at the Elsewhere studio that weekend, and I ended up drafting out a basic concept for a future painting.

I feel I’ve grown more in the last month than in the past twelve. I won’t soon forget the people I’ve met here, or this very unique part of the country. The mountains and surrounding landscape have been inspiring territory for hiking and exploring, and I think the photos I’ve taken here will likely serve as a starting point for future artworks. I’ve also appreciated the connection I feel to the earth in this valley, as expressed through the farming and abundant local produce. If you like fresh food, September is the month to come! A local described Paonia to me as “Mayberry meets Woodstock,” and the comparison seems apt. It’s a small, friendly, traditional, isolated town with no traffic lights or chain stores or even cell phone coverage, rooted (as far as I can make out) in farming and coal, yet with a distinctively free thinking population. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it. Most of all, I feel honored to have met the other residents that were here this month: Toby Liebowitz, Laurie Longtin, and Trent Davis Bailey. I’ve learned so much getting to know each of you, and look forward to following your careers.

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Waveforms of Culture 81428

A sculpture co-created with the community of Paonia by Amy Jorgensen

“Waveforms of Culture 81428”: A sculpture co-created with the community of Paonia by Amy Jorgensen




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Dreaming Elsewhere – Caitlyn Tella

My whole residency has been one big dream workshop. Time expands in Paonia and anything seems possible.  I came here to explore dreams (the kind you have when you are asleep) through performance. In addition to doing this with so many wonderful participants, I also made a performance that took place inside of an actor’s nightmare.

The piece was a quest to find out if a person can have their own unique voice when all of their lines have already been written. To journey this path, I called on Ophelia, the classic people pleaser, whose identity is generally confined in this image: beautiful corpse.

Ophelia is a young woman in the play Hamlet written by Shakespeare. The world of Hamlet is broken.  A lot of hypocrites inhabit this world, and it is no wonder people start to go crazy. Hamlet is famous, even genius, for going crazy. Ophelia is notorious for it.

From the get go, Ophelia’s father patronizes her like a baby, and she internalizes this learned helplessness. The image of being a baby became central to my investigation of Ophelia also because she’s pregnant with Hamlet’s baby.

In the show, when I emerge from the ditch water (where I drowned at the end of my life) I’m born into this situation where everyone is watching me and I’m supposed to be performing my part in the play.  This same shit happens to me all the time: I wake up, remember who I am, act like myself all day, fall asleep. When will she exercise the courage to stop acting and be herself? But, Ophelia is really good at acting. She has a lot of practice, because every day she acts like a wholesome, obedient girl, and she’s always being watched.

When I imagine her alone, removing her mask, a body of water floods the stage. Unfortunately my desire for a strong woman, a Joan of Arc, to be revealed beneath the mask is impossible. Instead, what outpours is drenched in bodily fluids—it’s the stuff of raw, unbounded emotion. This is where the show begins–with an embarrassing desperation to speak one’s mind for the first time, after a lifetime of shutting down and cutting off herself in favor of others. If I do not embody my erasure, I will be erased.

To make the performance, I put on Ophelia’s clothes, surrounded myself with what she likes (make-up, dresses, shoes, juice, toothbrush, cat’s cradle), and lied down on the floor. Like a baby, Ophelia started learning how to walk. I let everything that happened in this improvisational space be felt by my body, and I let my body be imprinted in turn. Most of what I discovered about Ophelia got composted and didn’t end up in this incarnation of the piece. But, down the line I’d like to continue to let the piece grow in clarity, to let it breathe, and to add more actors/characters.

Thank you Chris for jumping into the role of Ophelia in my performance with such an open mind and gentle touch.

Ben and Jessie doing bridges in a dream

Ben and Jessie doing bridges in a dream

The dream workshop is so fascinating because I never know what is going to happen. I think that’s because dreams are unpredictable by nature. When the workshop starts, we recognize that right now we believe we are awake. And then we recognize that when we dream, we also believe we are awake. From this outlook, we proceed with the knowledge that this right now is a dream. Right now you are dreaming. You are dreaming that you are reading this blog. We begin to explore the dream world we find ourselves in, the space around and inside of us. We allow the heightened experience of dreaming to express through our actions. It’s been a treat for me to watch these waking dreams unravel into the unknown as dreamers test the waters of their environment and encounter the unexpected.

One of my favorite discoveries from the dream workshop is flexibility of the self. We experiment with letting our self go and filling the vacancy with an object or character from our dream. In doing this, we re-position our habitual ways of knowing and seeing the world. It’s so damn fun!

Thank you to all of the dreamers who dove right in to the workshops with their amazing talents and unique perspectives: Ben Lehman, Jessie, Alessandra, Aralia, Joanna, Ian, Tracy, Kael, Bailey, Brooke, and Ben. You guys rock!

-Caitlyn Tella /

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sleep tight tomatoes

This month of June has been a whirlwind of landscape exploration, meeting plenty of new people, artistic experimentation, and learning how to get into the groove of this valley. From the moment we arrived our intentions were to work with the magical locations surrounding us and it was never disappointing. Because our artwork deals with the relationship between humankind and the natural world we inhabit, the beautiful region around Paonia allowed for deep consideration on this topic without the distractions and obstacles that are normally in your face in a more urban environment.

Our time spent at Elsewhere will no doubt remain vivid in our memory as will the amazing support we got from the people of Paonia and beyond. We are really grateful to have met so many who had a huge impact on the outcome of our work.

Of course we can’t forget our fellow residents; we had such a lovely time with our favorite housemates: Lily, Andrea, and Tremaine (Troy [Travis]).

…….to the future!              – Mara & Tyler (Mariah & Tony) 03_20150608_DSC7305 MarxtLewisJeans2GoldenStones3

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