In summer 2022, I studied abroad in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I was extremely fortunate to have been in the Global Ecologies Studio at the Burren College of Art. As an artist growing up on the rocky shores of Lake St. Clair, with grandparents who stressed the balance between human and nature, I have always been invested in environmentalism. In the Burren, I was able to not only explore a bio-dynamic, ecologically diverse landscape, but also converse about the consequences and nuances of the boundaries between the domestic and the undomesticated.
This studio altered my practice significantly, pushing my work beyond being environmentally friendly in terms of materials, something I had already been doing, but to serve as a tool to explore my relationship with the environment. My entire senior project has been a result of my time in Ireland. Exploring the connections between colonial violence and dirt, this project converses with the audience about their own exchange with soil. Without the lecturers in Ireland, I would have never been able to draw such deep affiliations between soil, colonial histories, and myself as an artist.
Alongside the immense growth found in my personal practice, I also found a new collaborator, and lifelong friend, while studying abroad. Madison Grosvenor and I met on the bus from Dublin to Galway on our first day abroad. Despite attending the same university, and my long standing friendship with her twin brother, we had never truly met before getting on that bus together. Now our practices are closely intertwined, with plans to work on a 3+ year long project together after graduation, we often create new work based on the concepts and experiences we had together in the Burren.