I’ve just realized it has taken eight months since being awarded this residency to get here. Actually, that’s not completely true. A few months ago I came here for four days to prepare myself: to experience the environment and figure out what I would need to get by and work here for a few weeks at a time. I’m really pleased I did that now. This time I’m staying for 11 nights, and I’ll be back for at least that long again later in the year.
I’ve done lots of research and reflection on the realities of island life since my past visit, which has brought me to resolve to embrace the limitations isolation placed upon this islands dwellers over the past two centuries. I’ve become interested in the little-told stories of people who do not necessarily appear in the bigger depictions of history, and the realities of their everyday lives have become apparent.
My goal while here is to be mindful in everything I do: of the resources and the processes I use not only in doing my work but also in how I live, and including the waste I produce. I have enough food to last, but managing it so that none is wasted will be a challenge. There is no electricity in my hut, but it does have basic furniture and equipment, including a wood heater and gas appliances. Thus I am mindful of energy use. There are some dim solar lights, augmented by the candles and torches I brought with me. I will be doing my washing in a sink and hoping for a windy day here and there. I’m not yet sure where my water comes from, or if it is considered scarce now, but I will conserve it anyway in respect for those for whom water was not at the end of a tap.
As I work I will be mindful to choose materials and processes that honor the fact that those who have been here before me were, by necessity, masters of ‘make-do’. I have brought basic tools and a few materials, and will devise ways of making that require no more than is available to me here and now.
Sitting here typing away on an internet-abled laptop I’m highly aware of the irony.