Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the best plan to have organised a trip to the Philippines to visit the inlaws only 6 weeks after we moved into the studio but Mel’s been doing a fantastic job keeping on top of everything while I’ve been eating lots of home cooked meals at the house of Lola Flora in Sagada, Mountain Province.
We’ve celebrated her 95th Birthday, spent time with all the cousins and extended family (many had travelled from the USA to participate in the Birthday party), jogged up & down a mountain in an 8km fun run, gone for hikes, wandered around rice terraces & had a few relaxing San Miguels in a local taverna.
I’ve collected some seeds from the Bistacao plant and Grandma Flora gave me an old, broken belt that she had made from seeds. This is going to be used as material in a series of work based on my visits to the area.
Sagada is located high up in the mountains north of Bagiou (it was an 8 hour bus trip from Manila to Bagiou). After a one night stopover in Bagiou, we caught another bus up the winding, rocky, road to Sagada. The trip has shortened since 2001. When I first visited it took 7.5 hours, but with continual work on the road (paving and building of retaining walls to minimise landslides and erosion..the trip can be a bit nerve wracking) it takes about 5.5 hours…..this is to travel all of 120km!
Meanwhile…. back at the Studio, Mel is designing the invite for our next exhibition – beautiful work by Emma Fielden, which coincides with our offical launch! She’s also been getting quotes on getting some display/drawer units made (fingers crossed – they’ll be ready for the launch), and designing our studio card! I took the laptop along and sat on top of a mountain updating our mailing list…. and wrote a small article for Filings…some time after 2001, remote Sagada had a mobile phone tower installed and now has internet access (but there are no land lines at all in the town, or television)…..this I think, is both good and bad……
After being caught up in the distractions of admin around the setup of the space…things like installing a phone line (phew -that was a trial and a half), merchant facilities, bank accounts, machinery setup and location, sourcing of a fridge (to store the milk for our daily expresso coffee), creation of a press release (thank you Tara! – and also for your help with setting up this blog!), design of studio card, design of display units, contracts for exhibitions by invited artists, insurance, door signs, wall signs, lighting, fixing up the door, working out where the garbage bins are (and ladders and air con switches and, and, and!) and having our alarm system installed, we’re almost there and itching to get back to the bench to get stuck into creating some work! We’ll be updating you with photos as we go.