Each day I wake up, take a look across the bay and make a mental plan for the day ahead. This planning usually coincides with a glance at the ever-changing weather app, preparations for a french press full of coffee, and making my bed. YES! I have developed the beautiful habit of daily bed-making...if you don't already do this I definitely suggest adding it into your life!
After a few cups of coffee and a quick breakfast, I pack my backpack with lunch and my laptop. I slip on my cycling shoes, wrap up in a rain jacket, clip on my helmet, and hop on my bike for a 2.2-mile ride to the school. Sometimes I drive if it's raining heavily, but I've recently been inspired by my dear friend, Julia Dillon, to make the commute via bike. She rides to and from work every day on the busy streets of San Francisco, which makes a 2.2-mile ride along the curved, quaint, streets of Ballyvaughan sound pretty elementary. So, S/O to Julia Dillon for keeping me fit, fabulous, and eco-friendly!!!!
Once I arrive at school I wheel my bike into my studio, pull off my cycling shorts, switch into my tennis shoes, and begin work. I usually add to my ongoing to-do list anything I've thought of throughout the night. I then choose something on the list to tackle first. Recently I've sewn a figure out of scrap fabric stuffed with wool, began a large painting, finished a smaller painting, and played around with a few drawings combining paint and charcoal. I spend a bit of each day reading, researching, writing, and thinking. Thinking is SO important to art-making...it's a critical factor in making good work.
Around noon, everyone heads into the cafe for lunch. Ann and Martina are the two incredible chefs who make a warm meal every day. It's frequently vegetarian as many of the students don't eat meat. I usually bring my lunch, but I am always tempted by the rich smells of the kitchen and have happily fallen victim to purchasing their beautiful meals or lovely desserts. Lunch is a time for open discussion, much like any lunchroom. Though, the conversations we've had just in this week have been more invigorating and enlightening than most lunch discussions I've had in the past. One lunch we spent discussing dreams, with a focus on nightmares. A fellow student dreams every night but has never had a positive dream. She sleeps in a world of nightmares, some are premonitions, and some are lucid dreams. Her stories are fascinating and further my gratitude for good dreams.
After lunch, I read the Skimm in order to stay updated on world news and maintain a connection to the world outside of the little dreamland I am living in. The afternoons are dedicated to time in the studio, but often include a long 1-2 hour walk or hike through the Burren landscape. In the past week, I've been to an old cemetery and church, to the top of the mountain behind the school, and have taken many walks by the bay. As I make my way back to the school, I am usually picking every ripe wild blackberry I see. There are hundreds of bushes lining the roads, which makes blackberry indulgences all too easy. I appreciate this time of walking to clear my head, stay warm, and prepare for an afternoon of focused time in the studio to complete the tasks I began in the morning.
We all leave school around 5 PM each day. The bus comes to pick everyone up who live in the student lodge and in town. Even though I don't ride the bus, I usually leave around the same time in order to take a break and grab dinner. On nights when I am not working, I drive back up to the school around 7 PM to work a few more hours before I head to bed.
In addition to the typical daily schedule I've described, I have a Historical and Critical Studies course on Tuesday mornings, a Collaboration Methodologies course on Wednesday mornings, and a one-on-one hour long tutorial on Wednesday afternoons with one of the professors. Every Wednesday we also have an hour long session where an artist or artists come in to talk about their work. This week's session was a brief overview of the work of the professors at BCA. It's refreshing to see the work of our mentors. Not only did they show completed work, but they also shared with us their works in progress. I appreciated their vulnerability and am impressed by each of their artistic practices.
Life as an MFA student at BCA is very self-directed, inspiring, and freely motivational. I am learning to get into a rhythm for my own studio practice and enjoying every moment.