Thursday, March 11, 2021

Artist-in-Residency COVID-Style

I have been meaning to capture some of the highlights of my 2020 Artist-in-Residency (AIR) experience with Muskoka Chautauqua. Of course - early in the year I was anticipating going back for another week to teach a mosaic workshop - this time at The New Baldwins Resort in Windermere, Ontario - on the shores of Lake Rousseau.  I had booked mid-July, 2020 in my calendar. 

To learn more about my AIR experience in 2019 - go here.

But as time went by, and we went into full lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it became quite clear that things were just not going to be the same. I received this email on June 10th, 2020:

Good Morning All,
Just wanted to provide another update regarding AIR this year. Clevelands House in Minett has announced that they will not be opening to provide accommodations this year, nor will there be accommodations provided in Windermere. This news, combined with group gatherings being prohibited, means that we will be unable to conduct our AIR programming in the traditional sense. However, we will be continuing to offer it virtually via livestream/zoom or pre-recorded videos. These videos will be posted during the weeks each artist was scheduled for (provided you would like to still participate).

These virtual workshop videos can either be: one video for your scheduled week of a couple different ones (it is completely up to you). Please let us know if you would be able to record a video of yourself teaching a workshop or if you need assistance with filming.

Kind regards,
Kelly Hart
Muskoka Chautauqua

I considered this carefully and then replied:

Hi Kelly:

Thanks for your email about this year’s AIR programme – and the idea to offer our workshops virtually this year.


I have given some thought to how I could teach my yellow mosaic workshop via video – see outline attached. Participants would need a kit – that could include the loan of tools and/or they would have to have their own tools. You could consider offering delivery services for the kits within a specified region.


I don’t have the capacity to shoot the videos as described – but I could come to Muskoka and we could do the video shoot at your end.  At the same time I could bring the participant kits.

Let me know how you would like to proceed.




Getting ready to assemble the mosaic kits

After a bit of back and forth, a plan came together to do a very professional video shoot involving five artists in mid-August. I decided to develop some Yellow Camino Mosaic arrow kits, complete with a set of instructions. And planned to create one arrow during the video shoot - accompanied by me teaching the process - if that seemed appropriate. I was ready! And then just "let it go" after that and trusted the creative process.


Hi Christine
Yes Friday, August 14th, 2020 at 1:30.
There will be 5 artists in total that we will be videoing.
We will have a light supper at around 5 pm.
One of our friends have offered their boathouse accommodation for you.
We are shooting from the 12th to the 15th.
You are welcome to hang out with us.
We are looking forward to some fun.
We create the path by walking.
Yellow Camino Arrow Mosaic Kit created by Christine Hume
Yellow Camino Arrow mosaic kit complete with instructions
Carson's Lake, Barry's Bay, Ontario
Dock-sitting on Carson Lake near Barry's Bay was a wonderful respite.
I enjoyed my road trip to get there, staying one night with a friend at her home on a lake, just outside of Barry's Bay. We spent time dock-sitting and star-gazing - a wonderful respite from the worries of the pandemic. 
The next day I rose early and continued on my way to Windermere to meet the folks from Muskoka Chautauqua and the fellow artists who were also participating in the video shoot.  The shoot was just one activity being held during their "virtual" Windermere 2020 Village Festival of the Arts.
I spent the afternoon enjoying a creative dramatic presentation and a compelling session led by an indigenous elder. Those attending gathered in a Circle and experienced an engaging and, at times, emotional journey. Meegwetch for the teachings of this day.
My accommodations on Lake Rousseau!
And I got to stay in a boat house on Lake Rousseau - just minutes away from the video shoot location. There is something incredibly soothing about hearing lake waters lapping below you - while enjoying a light meal on the deck and later being gently lulled to sleep by the sound.   
It is amazing where my mosaic journey is taking me!  

The day of the video shoot was very enjoyable. Each of the artists had their own outdoor studio space to set up. The professional video crew traveled from artist to artist - taking photos and filming as we were engaged in creating. It was great to have the opportunity to meet each other during and after the shoot - and share stories of our creative journeys.

The following photos and video truly capture the experience of having my mosaic studio in the woods. Some clips have also been incorporated into another video that helps to promote Muskoka Chautauqua. 
Applying thinset to a yellow Camino mosaic arrow

My pop-up mosaic studio in the woods on the shores of Lake Rousseau

Using nippers to cut mosaic tiles

Starting to add the 2nd layer of "bits and bobs" to the mosaic arrow

I am about to fill in my application to participate in the 100th Anniversary event for Muskoka Chautauqua in August 2021. I am filled with gratitude for the experiences I have had so far with this wonderful group.
Who knows where my mosaic journey will take me next?