Finding inspiration in nature

The Creative Residency at Bloedel Reserve

2018 Creative Residents

February: Vint Virga

For over thirty years, Dr. Vint Virga has been a distinguished practitioner in veterinary medicine, recognized for his insights into our relationships with animals. As the country’s leading veterinarian specialized in wildlife behavior, his expertise spans the animal kingdom from dogs and cats to wild species such as polar bears, leopards, wolves, and giraffes. In his practice as CEO of Veterinary Healing Arts, he works as an advisor on wildlife conservation, well-being, and behavior to wildlife preserves and refuges; zoological parks and gardens; animal care and welfare foundations; and federal agencies. He has served as an instructor at leading colleges and universities, as well as conservational, environmental, and animal symposia. He has been profiled in The New York Times and featured on NPR Fresh Air, ABC World News, National Geographic Explorer, and PBS Nature.

Dr. Virga’s first book, The Soul of All Living Creatures is a winner of the Silver Nautilus Award. As a writer, he posts a blog for Psychology Today and has contributed to Conjunctions, Biographile, Mind Body Green, and Books for Better Living. In recognition of his writing, he’s been awarded two MacDowell Fellowships, a Kendall Fellowship, and literary residencies at Yaddo, Brush Creek Arts Foundation, and Bloedel Reserve. Dr. Virga lives in New England with his wife, daughter, golden retriever, and two Norwegian forest cats. www.soulofalllivingcreatures.com

March: Anis Mojgani

Poet and artist Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and TEDx speaker. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in such journals as Bat City Review, Rattle, Thrush, Muzzle, and Forklift Ohio. Anis has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, The Bloedel Reserve, and the Oregon WITS Program. The author of five books, Anis‘ latest collection, In the Pockets of Small Gods, comes out April of 2018 from Write Bloody Publishing. Originally from New Orleans, Anis currently lives in Portland, OR, where he serves on the Board of Directors for Literary Arts, and balances his time between writing, drawing, and being on the road. He can be found online at: thepianofarm.com

April: Gina LaCerva

GinaRae LaCerva, Santa Fe, NM. Writer. LaCerva is currently at work on her first non-fiction book, a food memoir that explores ideas of “wildness” and the history of domestication. She has a MESc from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a MPhil in Geography from the University of Cambridge. LaCerva has conducted field work around the world including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Borneo, Sweden, and Indonesia. Her research and writing have been supported by a number of grants and fellowships including the National Science Foundation and the Tropical Resources Institute Endowment Fellowship. She has held residencies at Djerassi, PLAYA, and Grey Towers (U.S. Forest Service).

May: Kimberly Trowbridge

Kimberly Trowbridge is a two-time Neddy Award Finalist (2014, 2016), and an Artist Trust GAP Grant recipient (2014). She received her MFA from the University of Washington in 2006. She is the Director of the Trowbridge Atelier of Painting, at Gage Academy of Art, Seattle. She is a plein-air painter, a figure painter, an installation artist, a performer, and a lecturer on color theory. She leads plein-air painting tours in Spain and Portugal, and Twisp, WA. Trowbridge has been a returning artist-in-residence at the Foundation Obras, in the Alentejo region of Portugal. Her work was recently included in “Revering Nature,” at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, and “Northwest Nature,” at Seattle Art Museum Gallery. Her most recent solo exhibition, “Prismatic Optical Phenomena,” at 24HR MART in Twisp, WA was a suite of large-scale oil paintings based on plein-air studies made in Twisp, the Alentejo, the Oakridge Forest, and her own backyard in Top Hat, Seattle.

June: Kate Reed Petty

Kate Reed Petty lives and works in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blackbird, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Ambit, and Nat. Brut, and she has been recognized with a Narrative Magazine “30 Below” award, a 2017 Pushcart Nomination, and a 2017 Rubys Artist Project Grant. Her children’s graphic novel, “Chasma Knights,” is forthcoming from First Second Books in May 2018.

July: Raymond Larsen

Over the past several years, Raymond Larsen has surfaced as one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the Pacific Northwest. Earshot Jazz has named him an “expansive innovator”, and The Seattle Times describes his music as “life enhancing”. Ray was awarded the 2015 Golden Ear award for Emerging Artist of the Year and signed to Table & Chairs with two eponymous large-ensemble releases.  He is best known as a member of Chemical Clock (2014 Golden Ear Album of the Year), his trio Tyrant Lizard, and the historic Harry James Orchestra, and for his work with Wayne Horvitz and Michael Shrieve. Raymond holds a master’s degree in Improvised Music from the University of Washington where he studied with legendary trumpeters Allen Vizzutti and Cuong Vu. He is also a busy educator teaching private lessons in Seattle and currently serving as Artist in Residence at the Meridian School.

August: Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a writer, artist and producer. She is the author of several books including Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break and Hello, Bicycle: An Inspired Guide to the Two-Wheeled Life, and the founder, publisher and editor of Comestible, a biannual journal about food. She also works as a papercut artist, creating illustrations from a single piece of paper.  More of her work can be found at http://annabrones.com/

September: Ingrid Erickson

The recipient of a 2015 North Carolina Arts & Science Council Artist Project Grant, Erickson recently transformed 300 feet of paper into large-scale paper cuts featuring the 32 species of raptors being rehabilitated at the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville.  Other recent partnerships and artist residencies include: The Jentel Foundation (Banner, WY), The Grunewald Guild (Leavenworth, WA), and The Rensing Center (Pickens, SC). Erickson was an artist in residence at Penland School of Crafts in January 2016 and at the Vermont Studio Center in May 2016. She was a guest artist at the Field Museum in Chicago, which inspired her Osteology Series, including an installation of 300 cut paper bird skeletons.

Erickson has enjoyed working with students aged four to adult as an artist-in-residence and teacher in a variety of settings.  These include NC and TX public and private schools, community college continuing education programs, museums, preschools, and programs for gifted and talented youth and the homeless.  She recently served on the Salisbury Public Art Committee for the Salisbury Sculpture Show (NC); and has juried several exhibitions of 2-D and 3-D work including the annual exhibition at Pfeiffer University.  She has served as a fine arts panelist at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Erickson earned Studio Art/Art History degrees from Middlebury College in Vermont, a K-12 Art Education degree from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, and taught in Asia for several years.

October: Jenny Maybee

Jenny Maybee is a nationally-charting pianist, vocalist, and composer who “make(s) beautiful music expressing the sheer joy of being alive.”  Her vocals have been described as “in the same league” with Billie Holiday, and her piano style has been compared to Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor.  Jenny’s compositions and performance draw inspiration from time spent exploring and absorbing the resonance of various natural landscapes, her studies of the martial and healing arts, and the vast sonic landscape of jazz and world music.  Her latest album, HAIKU, was lauded in the press as “a thrilling, intimate, very delicate dialogue…close to perfection,” and her composition “Winter Butterflies” was selected as one of the Top 10 New Jazz Songs of 2016.

November: Lou Cabeen and Sarah Jones

Lou Cabeen is an artist living and working in Seattle where she explores the visual and tactile connections between text and textile.  Making artist books allows her to fully explore the power of tactile experience in communicating her ideas, although not all of her works are in a book format.  Her work can be found in a number of regional collections including the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, the University of Washington Book Arts collection, and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  Her most recent solo exhibition was The Geography of Hope at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts.  Her most recent international exhibition titled The Needle’s Eye, a group exhibition of contemporary embroidery, was jointly produced by the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Norway (2015). She recently stepped aside from her teaching responsibilities at the University of Washington where she served the School of Art as an Associate Professor overseeing the Interdisciplinary Visual Arts degree.

In all of her work, Lou seeks to build a literal body of knowledge—by intellectually researching the topic as well as paying close attention to her own physical reaction to it.  Usually the work teaches her, and after a piece is completed she realizes it has brought her home to herself—to something her body had known all along but her mind had not been able to articulate.

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Sarah Jones is a visual artist whose work examines themes of loss and what is hard to see. She is interested in giving presence to that which is lost or barely there, examining the traceries and stains left behind by the subject: the residues, the relics, the scars. By inhabiting the borderland between the pristine and the polluted, the immaculate and the profane, Sarah seeks to make a benediction of the ragged material of lives lived. Her work endeavors to form a dignified account of the things that we suffer through and that matter, and to attend to the detritus, and the worn treasures that are handed down.

Using traditional needlework, surface design, and other finishing techniques, Sarah makes work that is assembled from detritus and scraps. Through meticulous treatment, these base materials are embellished and refined, and yet, as in life, everything is left unfinished — threads are hanging, stitches are incomplete, and the edges are rough.

Sarah Jones studied painting and printmaking at the University of Utah, and received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has lived and worked in Seattle, Washington, for the past 15 years.

December: Susan Meyers

Susan V. Meyers has lived and taught in Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico. She is an international leader in writing studies, having offered keynote addresses at conferences and workshops in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from the University of Arizona and currently directs the Creative Writing Program at Seattle University. Her fiction and nonfiction have been supported by grants from 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, and Squaw Valley, as well as several national artist residency centers including Hedgebrook, Jentel, Hambidge, and Millay Colony of the Arts. Meyers’ novel, Failing the Trapeze, won the Nilsen Award for a First Novel, and her field study on education in rural Mexico, Del Otro Lado: Literacy and Migration Across the U.S.-Mexico Border, was supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Association of University Women. Other work has recently appeared in Per Contra, Calyx, Dogwood, The Portland Review, and The Minnesota Review, and it has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Creative Residency Details

Selected residents stay in a well-appointed home on Bloedel grounds and are given unlimited access to the beauty of the 150-acre public garden. These multi-week retreats will allow participants long stretches of uninterrupted time in a breath-taking environment.

Residency types:

  • Open to both established and emerging artists, composers, writers, botanists, landscape architects, researchers, and others exploring the themes of nature and the human connection with nature. (No dedicated studio space available at this time)
  • Project or research must relate to nature.
  • Special consideration given to projects that explore the connection between people and nature.

Residency accommodations:

  • Designed by noted Northwest architect Jim Cutler, this two-bedroom, two-bath home is built over a stream with natural light, high-quality finishes and furnishings.
  • Tucked into the woods off the trail from regular Bloedel visitors.
  • Three to four week residencies.
  • Residents stay one at a time – no overlap.
  • Bloedel asks that each participant provide a presentation, workshop or concert to the public in return for their stay.
  • Residencies provide free accommodations and access to the Bloedel Reserve.
  • A Smart Car is available for residents to use during their stay. (Proof of valid driver’s license required.)

At this time, Bloedel is not able to offer a stipend nor cover transportation expenses.

Applications for Class of 2019 Residents:

The application process for 2019 is being reviewed. We will have more information on our website late March.

For a preview of application questions, see the application overview document here.

Class of 2017 Residents:

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Sculptor
Natalie Goldberg, Distinguished Writer-in-Residence
Tamara Stephas, Painter and Sculptor
Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel, Creative Non-Fiction Writer
Mara Menahan, Botanical Illustrator
Carol Davis, Poet
Kala Pierson, Composer and Sound Artist
Allison Svoboda, Installation Artist
Thomas Bramel, Composer
Ruby Hansen Murray, Writer and Photographer

For more information, please contact Laura Counsel, 206-842-7631 ext. 11

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  • The space and quiet allowed me to sink into my novel with prolonged, uninterrupted concentration. I woke up with my story, lived and walked with my story and like any relationship, our intimacy increased.  Karen Finneyfrock, 2016 resident artist