guest post with resident artist anny crane

It’s my last day here in Grand Rapids, and at Have Company, so of course my internal alarm went off at 4am instead of its usual 6am. I rolled around on the bed that’s nestled in the back of the shop, until I finally rolled onto the floor and crawled into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth, with wandering eyes, examining the transitory home I created this past week. My heart has successfully sunk deep into my ribcage, thinking about the flight I am taking out of GRR tomorrow and back into LGA. I miss my partner, I miss our cat, and I miss going to work. I really miss taking the train and laying on the couch practicing my French with Duolingo; I miss my home.

My heart started to ache the moment I arrived at Have Company, when I realized Grand Rapids is a perfect parallel to Tallahassee (my college town) and the family I became a part of while I was in the north Florida town. When I met Marlee, I just knew this was a person I wanted in my family tree, definitely, and not just a passerby, a blur through my life for just this week. I am leaving with a heavy heart, full of happiness and love, full of inspiration and friendship, and motivation. Man, I am feeling a lot of things…could you tell? hah hah

It’s 7am and I am on coffee number two. I’ve done some embroidery work into my current piece and have successful watched two episodes of Gilmore Girls (I’ve moved on to listening to Pictures of Success). My belly is still full from John’s dinner last night, and I am wondering if I can pull off my smock again this week…because, really, I just feel better being a blob of human. I am worrying about interfacing, and if I can be charismatic enough for my workshop this afternoon…even though I know everything will work out just fine (I am still worried about the interfacing though).  I don’t think I did everything I was supposed to do while I was here…there’s a lake, right? I hear there’s a great place for coffee…

My goal this week was to just make, like, FINALLY sit down and make something new. I have been circling familiarity and the same old same old back in Brooklyn, leaving my work and my brain completely uninspired. Since arriving in GR, nearly every morning I have made paper (check), I started experimenting with indigo (check), I used the typewriter with my paper (check), and I finally started something I actually want to finish (check). The moments that I vacated the shop, I walked around a lot…a favorite pastime in whatever city I find myself in. I walked to Nourish and the Downtown Market a few times…though I must say Heritage Hill is my favorite to walk through. I think that’s been one of the most inspiring bits of this week…it brings about the most nostalgia, though I have never been there before. It feels so close to Florida and to Ditmas Park (where I lived in Brooklyn), so naturally a flood of memories has befallen me, but I’ve been forced to reconcile some things I forced into the back of everything else. I usually don’t plan my pieces out, but I think just existing in this town, even for a few days, I will have so much to show for it in my upcoming work.

I think the biggest experience about this residency, is finally removing myself from my life and focusing on what it is that makes me happy, which is creating work. Even if you have a job that you love, or live in a city that you’ve dreamed about, sometimes the littlest things get away from you so you just focus on making money or watching television while eating take out…you forget what it feels like to stay up through the night, or get up at 4am, to just make art. This trip I have left the body of Anny Crane and I lived a life as someone else…I didn’t pour myself into work 22hours of my day, or lay in bed instead of drawing. I was who I want to be…which put simply is just someone who wants to enjoy people and make art.

I am beyond grateful for my time at Have Company and in Grand Rapids. At the end of the day, we opted for bed sheets instead of interfacing which worked so beautifully (if you use indigo in your paper/pulp it bleeds into the sheet and creates something very beautiful!). I most certainly want to come back again…it’s special when you find yourself at home somewhere, how can you let that go?


Anny Crane was in residence at Have Company from August 19 - 25 to sit in the window, sew with paper, make paper, and teach us the ways of paper making and indigo magic