guest post with resident artist mary rothlisberger

"HAVE COMPANY BUT DON'T WASTE TIME"

Marlee and I first met somewhere on the internet, thrown together by a mutual love of shouting while typing in all capital letters and quoting Woody Guthrie. The enthusiasm and energy was matched in real life and I've watched her projects transform her life over the past two years. I was excited to spend time at Have Company and vision with her about the future. 

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My work is about making feelings and making friends. Making time. Making progress. Making space for one another. Making the best day. Making the story neverending. I worked across the board during my time at Have Company, trying different techniques for exploring a retail space as a social space. All sorts of things came out of this: business meetings, a clothing swap, coffee dates, google documents, after-hours homemade tattoos, focused hangouts, work parties, public art poems, and a spacial study for the evolving residency. I also ate my first omelette (thanks John!). 

Homemade tattoo kit and after-hours tattoos.

Homemade tattoo kit and after-hours tattoos.

I hosted a screen-free workshop called HOW TO HAVE A HANGOUT. So many really beautiful small-scale conversations happened as people just sat and spent slow time with one another around a big table. We ate maybe forty popsicles and listened to a long line of mixtapes while talking about our day-to-day. Lucy brought the beach and Coco brought an instant camera-- the only evidence of our time well spent exists in a few rad photos and some forever memories. 

Between home-made tattoos and designing social systems, I also spent the week collaborating with Steven Rainey of Dinderbeck on a series of public art poems. Together we've been writing, illustrating, and installing these small moments.

"All I Wanted was Andromeda" by Steven Rainey and Mary Rothlisberger. Installed at Dinderbeck

"All I Wanted was Andromeda" by Steven Rainey and Mary Rothlisberger. Installed at Dinderbeck

A recurring theme in conversations was the notion of EXCELLENCE. What's good, what could be better, and how to encourage our best. It's important to make time to really sweat the small stuff and get down to the nitty-gritty details of making our worlds better. Sometimes it means adding a friendly potted plant to your work desk and other times it means radical life changes. Whatever the trajectory,  sharing with one another, holding our community accountable for its dreams, and lending a helping hand are great ways of creating days and spaces full of wonder and productivity.

Back-space work party, space re-imagining

Back-space work party, space re-imagining

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On my last two days in residence, Marlee and I had a series of power meetings to re-imagine the back of the shop space and develop a firm social architecture for the residency. We had a really amazing work party on my last day and with the help of a few friends, set the stage for future excellence at Have Company. Really exciting things are happening! Stop in at Have Company and get comfy in the new shop clubhouse; let's talk about all the next great ideas.

Tuckered out from the Saturday shop clothing swap spearheaded by Eliza & Nicky, photo by Ryan Greaves

Tuckered out from the Saturday shop clothing swap spearheaded by Eliza & Nicky, photo by Ryan Greaves

Mary was at Have Company from July 10-17 to visit with people, make some things, sweat the small stuff, drink slurpees on parade, and do a residency about residencies with Marlee Grace. 

 

Mary Rothlisberger is a thinker, writer, conversationalist, and relationalist situated in the hinterland of North America.  Her work explores universal issues of relating to one another by sincerely engaging in site-specific action and encouraging an adventurous collective spirit. She loves small towns, long winters, optimists, parades, and talking about feelings.

 

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