I was selected for the Iowa Lakeside Lab Artist in Residence program WAY back in February of 2020. I was finally able to complete my residency in July of 2021.
What the heck is an art residency? And why at the Iowa Lakeside Lab?
The Iowa Lakeside Lab is in Milford, IA, and is one of the oldest scientific research stations in the US. They have an art residency program for makers who are interested in the intersection of art, science, and nature. Much of my art and design work translates science and nature stories to those who choose to engage. I am particularly interested in how everyday designed objects can convey deeper meanings to users. I wanted to spend time at the Lakeside Lab learning more about how climate change is impacting the natural environment in the midwest.
Highlights from my artist residency at the Iowa Lakeside Lab
Making as Meditation: Daily Sketch Practice
Making can be meditative. Drawing patterns puts me in a meditative state. I started a daily sketchbook practice during my art residency. To do this, I quickly coded a random art prompt generator so I wouldn’t waste time deciding on subjects or media each day. I plugged in the media I brought, added a few fun objects, and threw in a random colored background. (Randomness sneaks its way into pretty much everything I do!) Here’s a little video of my random art prompt generator and sketchbook practice.
Immersive Solo Nature Expeditions
I got to the lab at the end of the summer after classes were over, so there was not much happening on campus. I didn’t let that stop me. Since the Iowa Lakeside Lab is about studying nature in nature, I decided to design my own course of study by taking a solo expedition to a different nature location daily. I spent time collecting images of wildflowers and insects to fuel some future art and design projects.
The Iowa Lakeside Lab is near Okoboji, IA, which has a lot of fun tourist attractions. I visited the Iowa Rock-and-Roll Museum and exchanged info with the curator there since I’m working on a music/design exhibition opening in October of 2022. Then I poked around in a couple of antique malls (and found one heck of a record shop tucked in the back of one!). And on a whim, I stopped into the Okoboji Classic Car Museum, which was a totally unexpected art and design find. Definitely not the “man cave” experience I expected.
One of my favorite things about my time at the Iowa Lakeside Lab is the unlimited access to kayaks. I went kayaking most of the last week of my residency. I didn’t go too far since I was solo and had kayaked exactly one other time before this. I got stuck in the algae bloom a few times, too. (ew!)
Want to read about my full experience?
You can read my lab reports and view more of my projects on the Lakeside Lab Artist in Residence website:
- Artist Lab Report 1: Nature as a Creative Reset
- Artist Lab Report 2: Thanks Iowa Lakeside Lab Friends!