EPISODE FORTY-NINE: in conversation with wax and wane fiber

Wax & Wane Fiber is a collaboration between Baltimore fiber artists, Claire Fredrick and Ashton J. Page. The two met at the MFA in Community Arts program at the Maryland Institue of Art in Baltimore, after Claire came from Chicago, Illinois and Ashton came from Omaha, Nebraska. They collaborated at MICA on The Quilt Story Exchange, where they worked with Baltimore women in recovery from trauma, to make therapeutic storytelling quilts. After graudating, they were inspired by their mutual interest in the magical range of natural plant dyes to start their own company, Wax & Wane Fiber. The company has a two-fold mission: to play in the studio researching dye science and surface design, and to travel and teach natural dying with an undercurrent of ecological stewardship. They also make a line of textiles for the body and home, including custom vagina scarves and pride flags. They talk with Marlee about teaching workshops in their own studio and on the road, how to promote events and new developments, and the challenge of ramping up studio production amongst part time jobs and domestic partners.


words of wisdom:

“This is a partnership, so we are using ‘we’, and it’s been a challenge for me to get away from using ‘I’ statements… this is both of our’s thing, and having to be cognizant of the “we”, and also when it is okay to be my thing in a two-part company, and when it is okay to be your thing in a two-person company.”

“I think when that happens, you are just forced to figure it out.”


current projects:

Claire and Ashton were hosted at have company in the last few days that the physical shop in Grand Rapids existed, and they offered a natural dye workshop that turned into a space to share feelings and talk about transition. They are working on developing a longer-term course in their craft, hoping to offer a four-day workshop for public schools. In the studio they are gearing up for holiday season sales- they are excited to be selling at Renegade Brooklyn for the first time this year.


things to be excited about:

Finishing a knitting project! Claire is finishing her first knitting project, a shawl that she has been working on for months and will wear this winter.

The Broken Circle: Yarns of The Knitting Witches! This new young adult fantasy fiction by Cheryl Potter, that Ashton and Claire are SO in love with. It’s about fiber arts and witchery and it is a series, so get ready to be hooked.

EPISODE FOURTY-EIGHT: in conversation with Jordan Knecht

buy Jordan's book DETOX : reflections on taking a break from social media HERE

Jordan Knecht made a quick stop in Grand Rapids traveling through Michigan on his way to the Detroit Art Book Fair, and fell in deep with Marlee for one day. Originally from St Luis, Missouri, Jordan studied the symbiotic relationship of printmaking and sound in Western Mass before moving to Denver, Colorado. Jordan makes installation art, books, prints, and bands. Marlee and Jordan review their greatest hits day- jumping into the October-cold Lake Michigan and narrowly avoiding an ice cream crisis- and Jordan's book that originally connected the two. Detox (reflections on taking a break from social media), is a reminder that there is something out there besides the internet. Marlee and Jordan relate on feeling empty after looking for validation on instagram, and keeping moments sacred by resisting the urge to document and post their experiences. Jordan shares stories of turning around negative self-talk, moving after being worn down by a lack of support in the community, maintaining a studio outside of his home, jumping from one art medium to another, and working weird random jobs that don’t hold him to a schedule so he can do the things he is driven to do.


Words of wisdom:

“I got really sick of the way that I was wasting time through using social media, where instead of having my own thoughts I was automatically going to a screen. And so decided to quilt cold turkey, and overtime I had the urge to get on social media, I would take that as an opportunity to write to myself- some kind of reflection.”

“No one should ever be shamed for doing things for the first time.”

“Just say yes. Being good to my body, putting good things in my body- YES.”


Current Projects:

Jordan is busy publishing books for other people on his risograph press, following up on a grant, and working on an art installation for 2018. He is also almost finished with a new book; Records is coming soon so keep an eye out.


Things to be excited about:

Cooking all the time! Jordan is a die-hard David Chang fan, who makes incredible Korean food. Another Jordan favorite is the Indian food recipe videos on Vah-Reh-Vah.

Sewing! Jordan is experimenting with making women’s clothing into collared tank tops for himself.

Gossimer’s new album! Marlee and Jordan’s mutual friend Jenny Williams is making new music.

Being in the greatest hits of life! Jordan is stoked on how all of the exciting and creative aspects are coming together in his life right now.

EPISODE FORTY-SEVEN: in conversation with Shara Crosby


Shara Crosby lives in Greenville, South Carolina, is originally from Asheville, North Carolina, and gives hand poke tattoos of her own design. After being inspired by the work of Tea Leigh, Shara taught herself the ancient craft by giving herself and her friends tattoos, and the practice quickly became her catharsis. Her intention is to hold space for others; setting up a tattoo experience where she is fully present and the recipient is safe to have their own process as she permanently marks their body. Marlee and Shara discuss the different feelings of tattoos from men and women tattoo artists, self-taught and apprenticed tattoo artists, totally unique designs for individuals and repeat images, and relent on a few less-than-magical tattoo experiences. Shara also has a full time job and is grateful to have it, while she simmers plans to eventually open a studio that will be a safe and sacred space for tattoos, massage, herbal consultation, rest, and healing. She knowingly talks about learning your boundaries (i.e. how much time you commit) in a day job versus the craft you practice after hours.

Words of wisdom:

“The biggest thing for me is knowing what my boundaries are. And that’s something that I had a big epiphany about, about a year ago. I realized that other people’s boundaries were so important to me, and I also wasn’t naming what my own boundaries were, and so I was overstepping my own boundaries to meet them at theirs, and was just constantly drained by that… It is a practice to vocalize what your boundaries are with someone else- it’s hard and the more I practice it, the easier it gets.”

Projects at have company:

Shara took the first two days in residence to not do anything, she took the time to face herself and the things facing her at home. Then she was ready to start meeting people and hand-poking tattoos. She was booked up with appointments right away, and spent the tattoo sessions getting to know the person she sat with. After a week of being in a space where her only obligation is to take care of herself and tattoo people, Shara realized that this is something that she wants to do with her life, and will take that intention home with her. Sleeping in and getting rest has taught her so much. 

Things Marlee is excited about:

Love! Marlee wows at the ease-fulness of falling in and out of love this year.

Fiction Books! She is getting back into fiction and is reading The Good Girl- reading fiction is a great way to not always be working.

Things to be excited about:

Love! Receiving a package from a sweetheart while you are at an artist residency is the bomb.

Season two of Stranger Things! Marlee and Shara have big love for Winona Ryder.

Finding your path! Shara is gonna go home and poke everyone, and sleep and self-love in between.

Becoming a birth doula! Share is taking her Dona workshop when she gets home.

Have Company! Being in this shop space while it is still here is magic- Marlee leaves GR and her storefront in 16 days at the date of this posting…

EPISODE FORTY-SIX: in conversation with Eliza Fernand

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Eliza Fernand is a project-based artist working in sculpture, installation, video and sound. She works as a teaching artist and makes functional quilts and pots under the names Bright Shroud and e.f. ceramics. Marlee and Eliza tell their origin story about Marlee attending her first residency at Eliza’s program, Shared Space Studio in 2012, and Eliza being the first Have Company resident artist in 2013. They met through mutual friends that run the Cabin Time roaming residency and Eliza admits that Have Company and Cabin Time inspired her move from Oakland, California two years ago to Grand Rapids, where she is now a proud home owner.

Marlee and Eliza had way too many things to talk about- they hit on having a million projects, shifting identities, the struggle of calling oneself an artist, the sadness of not making, unfinished rugs, organization through deadlines and exhibitions, making spaces for work and rest, letting go of expectations, being anti-routine, the magic of slowing down and tending to plants, and the therapy of making. Eliza tells the story of how she started Shared Space Studio with her mother in 2011 after finishing her touring project, Quilt Stories. She ran the visiting artist program there for five years, with the help of collaborator Mary Rothlisberger, and the two curated a group retrospective at The Fed Galleries of KCAD this past summer. Having attended over a dozen artist residencies, Eliza reflects on her first residency experience as an art teacher at a summer camp, and gives some advice on how to research and choose which residencies to apply to. She discusses solitary residencies versus communal ones, and the DIY spirit of domestic residencies.

Words of wisdom:

"When you do a lot of things, you can’t do everything you want to do."

"I have to put my work somewhere, because I can’t stop making it."

"Everything takes longer than you think it will. So don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t get something finished."

Things to be excited about:

Making things! For yourself and for the world. Eliza says, “My practice is therapeutic. And if I can open up other people to having a creative practice that can be therapeutic to them, then I am doing good work.”

The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park! They have an amazing library of art books and so so many great sculptures and plants.

Making pots as a business! Eliza is working on finding more outlets to sell her ceramics, and finding more joy in making what she is excited about, rather than what might sell.

Maria Bamford! A genius comic who has a new Netflix show, Lady Dynamite.

Pop-Up Shop! Eliza sells regularly at Have Company, and will be collaborating with terrarium maker Bird and Feather on a special pop-up shop here, open only during the three weeks of ArtPrize (September 21st - October 9th).

Bird sounds in the morning! Eliza likes what she hears when she is sleeping late in her comfy bed.


p.s. - Eliza writes the notes for this podcast, and had to write about herself in third person for this post. As an end note, if you are looking into artist residencies, she recommends res artis, the Alliance of Artists Communities, and WOOLOO as helpful databases to search on.


EPISODE FORTY-FIVE: in conversation with Rebecca Bruno


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Rebecca Bruno makes, facilitates, and performs dance. She is a working artist and also holds a cranial-sacral therapy practice that resonates with her rhythmic approach to dance, and a part-time freelance writing job that she can do from anywhere. For the last three years Rebecca has curated under the name Home LA, organizing a series of performances that brings dance artists into private residential spaces, and opens them to the public. Inspired by the house concerts her jazz-loving parents hosted in her youth, she connects homes and dancers and asks the artists to respond to the space. Marlee and Rebecca talk about the fluid roles and titles of dancers, how to navigate what you say yes to, and how to be paid for the cultural contribution of making movement work.


Words of wisdom:

“I guess there has to be a degree of personal creative interest, and then what I’m receiving back in terms of support. Sometimes that’s monetary, sometimes that’s relationships, sometimes it’s travel, sometimes it’s exposure- in both ways -being exposed to other parts of the world… With each project I’m trying to get better at having a more wholistic perspective on what I’m giving, and what’s coming back”

“Right now I’m on this thread of wanting to allow my body to lead, more than my mind, and give my body as much attention as I give the thoughts that so want to pervade every moment of my life.”


Projects at have company:

Taking intentional time away from a busy life in LA, Rebecca set out to keep a daily practice of drawing, reading, and moving. She spent time with stillness and listening practices- writing, sitting in meditation, listening to her body, coming back to the breath, allowing herself to feel what she’s feeling and draw what she’s feeling to move through it. Being here allowed her to observe herself in a way she doesn't usually have a chance to, and that will lead to future works. 

Rebecca also visited one of our local Grand Rapids treasures, the Meyer May House by Frank Lloyd Wright, and was incredibly inspired by the home and the film that documents the meticulous restoration of the house by Steelcase. The film concludes with the concept that the many detailed parts of the home come together to create a cohesive whole, and this is what Rebecca aims to do with Home LA. She is brainstorming a project that could take place in this house, and Frank Lloyd Wright houses across the country.


Things to be excited about:

Collaborations and performances! This summer Rebecca had the chance to work with other movement artists and visual artists on a durational piece, We are Inseperable There is No Time and a piece for REDCAT's 2016 NOW Festival, titled Forest, and her solo performance, Unfinished. She notes that working in community is a kind of wealth, as she has the chance to collaborate with the creators of music, costumes, sculptures, and spaces.

Stoked on Have Company! In particular the Many Moons workbook by Sarah Gottesdiener, and ceramic plate by The Object Enthusiast AKA Emily Reinhardt (both past resident artists).

Writer heroes! Rebecca is reading the poems of John O'Donahue, and the book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett, who also puts out the amazing podcast On Being.