After many years of city living, we moved to the country in autumn of 2004. Drawn to the shape of the land as well as the thriving creative community of southwestern Wisconsin, we found the place that called to us (via peepers and wind through the pines): a nineteenth-century farm about 45 miles west of Madison, down in what’s known as Union Valley, mid-way between the town of Dodgeville and the village of Highland.
For the first couple years, we were immersed in construction projects, getting familiar with rural life and our community, and unraveling years of urban stress-induced habits. Art making was sporadic. Instead, we kept busy with plans. Plans for creating cabins for people to be able to come and experience the beauty of this place. Plans for the land: how to care for the woods, the wetlands, and the prairie. We went to workshops, soaking up as much knowledge as we could, perhaps more and faster than we were able to absorb. And we began feeling the same stress that overwhelmed us in the city.
Thankfully, this place reminded us why we moved here. It tells us every day (and night) to be here now. In the quiet, the wind, the heat, the snow, the clay ground, and the zillion stars. So, rather than forging ahead and imposing our well-intentioned plans on this place, we are settling into being here. Seeing, really seeing, all it has to teach us (innumerable things). And where it leads us. For now, the path is pointing to the studio (to art-making). Of course, that path leads right through the garden (another amazing teacher). The woods and wetlands have many paths too, and we walk them often.
Living so close to nature brings the seasons to the fore. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall become almost sentient beings, so wise. They guide us through the days and steer our projects in a rhythm that our bodies and our spirits recognize, an ancient echo. It is this rhythm that we wish to bring to light through our artwork and through the awesome responsibility of nurturing this spot of land during our time here.