7 Lessons Learnt* During My Artist Residency

After a bit of time unpacking my suitcase and settling into my new home here in Hawai’i, I’ve reflected on some of what I’ve learned about myself as an artist during my time as Artist-in-Residence at Tanks Arts Centre:

7. Bring my laptop! Several weeks of living, working & playing through my smartphone is enough to drive the most dedicated smartphone lover crazy. From setting up the bills for our new place in Hawai’i to creating posts of my progress here on my website. Thankfully WordPress just updated their App to be more user friendly, all that typing on a small screen leads to some very hilarious and many non-sensical auto-corrections!


6. Bring your colored pencils! I love my set of fancy Koh-I-Noor Progresso colored pencils. They fit perfectly into my London Underground pencil case with just enough room left over for a couple charcoal pencils, an eraser and a small pencil sharpener. I can’t draw, nor can I paint but I love to lay down some color on a piece of paper. Most usually around a quote that has resonated with me at the time. It’s a relaxing way to think through a stitch problem. I didn’t bring them because they are very, very heavy for pencils. Nor did I realize how much I used them to document my stitch design work. The colored pencils really give them their needed finishing touch.

5. Easter Monday! It was a confusing learning experience to discover how another country celebrates the same holiday. Everything is closed in the states on Easter Sunday, but in Australia most things are closed on Easter Monday, also. While visiting the small touristy town of Kuranda, I was having a great conversation with another artist when her mobile rang. It was Telstra, her phone company, stating they were at her home waiting. She had no idea they would work on Easter Monday! Well, that made me feel better knowing an Aussie could be just as confused as I regarding Easter Monday :)

4. Just started the Sim Card adventures with my first unlocked smartphone and found an amazing option while in Australia! For AU$50 (approx US$40)/month, I had 3GB of data (with unlimited data on the weekends!), unlimited calls, unlimited texts, AND free calls to 5 Int’l countries, incl the US. This alone made the extra expense of an unlocked phone worth it.


3. One cannot do All of the Things. Plus Build. There were so many amazing things to do in the Cairns area I couldn’t do them all as I would have liked. Yet, what I loved most was the relaxing focus I was able to maintain on building my Butterfly Rainforest wire crochet art installation. It makes me wonder if planning smaller projects during my residencies would be a better way to create a more well-rounded experience.

2. Rainforest is such a lovely, romantic name for the wondrous, creepy, beautiful, crawly, noisy, noisy jungle! Bug spray was my most valuable tool, my best friend during this residency. Between the mossies and the midges, I was a most favorite fresh meat and left a spotted itchy mess any moment I was caught out without any.


Bug Spray Tip: Freshly shaved legs and bug spray will leave one with their very own Kevin, Home Alone, moment!

1. I am a data hog. So many years of inexpensive unlimited internet in Japan have created some major GB sucking habits! Having video podcasts and webinars playing in the background as I crochet instead of ever turning on the television. I also like to document my progress through Instagram, Twitter and my website, consuming even more data. When a residency says they have wi-fi, be sure to ask how many GBs and what date will the new GB limit start again? And is it available in the areas one will need it the most.

My residency at Tanks Arts Centre was a really wonderful learning experience for me. So very glad I grabbed this opportunity. All the hard work has been worth the effort.

*I also learnt a bit of British English along the way :)

Published by Studio Deanna

Metals + Fibers + Writing