A Second Guest Post by Resident Will Owen!

blog post II



I made this mix for you to listen to while reading this, or not reading this because it's really self involved or kind of reading this and realizing that the music is way better than what I'm talking about or maybe don't listen to the mix. Whatever's clever.

Smoke Curls, A mix for the Have Company Store by Will Owen

It is my last full day as the Have Company shop artist in residence and it has been an incredible week that has been super personally expansive. 


Last evening I had the honor of co-leading an evening of improv sound and dance with Marlee. Sarah who is also an artist in residence would begin each improvisation exercise by reading a tarot card and speaking about it's meaning. This would then influence the dancer's movements as well as my and my fellow musician's playing. It was thrilling on so many levels. 


Firstly, I rarely improvise with fellow musicians while working with dancers. I had the honor of collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Fiona Dickinson and Fiddle player Nate Bliton. They both had such a generous nature with their playing that it was almost effortless to collaborate and improv together. Very goosebumpy. So life giving. 

Secondly, I'm not a trained dancer or mover in any way and about a fourth of the group last evening was in the same camp. Personally, it's always a little uncomfortable for me to be in a position to have to extemporaneously move along with people who are well trained, practiced, and have a physical vocabulary to draw from. It was a blast to see people slowly begin to move more comfortably with themselves and with others throughout the night. There were so many folks who were fearless in their motions and that is always deeply inspiring. 


It was a blast, it was an honor, it was hysterical.  




I've been doing 2 things all week:


Procrastinate and Work.


I have this issue, maybe you do too, where I know I need to do something or make a decision or plan something BUT I just can't force myself to do it. It's a bummer and I truly wish I was more decisive at times. BUT I also know that I come up with a lot of my ideas and make a lot of decisions when I'm doing something mindless (taking a shower, cooking, walking for transportation, swimming laps). So in the last 3 years I've off and on been doing this practice where I do simple, almost meditative paintings with ink and coffee grinds and glue. I like to think of it as "Productive Procrastination."


After I arrived I had a lot of energy to make something, but just couldn't make myself work on cookbook project I mention in the last blog post. 


So I made ink drawings like this one Marlee is holding.


Then while they were drying I starting sitting down and actually writing and working. I do the same thing when I cook. For example, today I made split pea soup. Sure soup is great and filling and whatever, but it also helped me send a ton of emails I've been putting off, because I knew I had to add a few things, then let it simmer, then add a few more things, etc. 


Productive procrastination. It works for me. 


Here's another recipe that is a part of the cookbook project, in fact it was the first recipe I ever got from a person who was working as a blueberry harvester in Maine in the same town I was, now we have kept in touch and are family:



20 minute southern drop biscuits from Oliver Flowers:



+ 2 1/4 Cups Flour

+ 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

+ 2 tsp turmeric

+ 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

+ 1 tsp Salt

+ 3/4 - 1 Stick of Butter (you're worth it)

+ 1 Cup Buttermilk


(1) Mix all dry ingredients & turn on oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit 

(2) Cut in butter with knives or massage in with clean hands until consistency is that of crumbs keeping some pieces about the size of peas (for flakiness).

(3) Mix in Buttermilk until just mixed

(4) Lovingly spoon onto greased baking tray with a diameter of about 2.5-3 inches, keeping about 3 inches between each one. 


(5) Bake at 415 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or until golden 

(6) Eat with savory or sweet stuff and extra butter if you're into that (again you're worth it). 




Since I've been at the shop here at Have Company, I've realized that the shop is not just a place for people to buy well made and well curated things-- it's a place where families hang out and people talk about their lives together. It's a place were people bring new baked treats or generous portions of salad to share. It's a focal point in the community of Grand Rapids for a lot of people. It's where A LOT of coffee is consumed. And it is a safe place for so many folks in the community who need some time with themselves and with others. 


This place that Marlee and so many people along side her have cultivated is a beacon for countless amazing people and remarkable events and beautiful things. I feel like a damn lucky fool to have been able to share in the fantastic community that is here and flourishing.




And everyone who has been so kind and hilarious and great!