After spending so much time at Home (without rocks to climb) we both eventually started daydreaming of time away. Quickly a plan to take a roadtrip to San Diego ensued. It wasn’t until we were in the car that I learned Clara had always dreamed of just getting in her car and driving west until she saw the coast. I remembered back to our first formal interview when she told me she wanted a practice that could travel with her in her car or backpack so she could work out “in the field.” Rather than spending her days creating natural images under fluorescent light she could create in a setting she was inspired by.
Clara printing at our campsite in Zion National Park.
Home was never meant to merely be a physical place, rather it’s intended to provide a point of privilege to those in need. In this instance, Clara, a young artist who’s meant to live a life dedicated to making. As opposed to wasting her time away as the barista she was before, she now has the skills, materials and hopefully in time the outside support necessary to make a living from making! Home is meant to be a unique experience for each individual we’re capable of opening our doors to, as every human being is unique and thus are their needs. It is to be expected that although our mission will maintain the same, how we enact our morals into physicality will differ with each resident and studio member we may meet.
Clara climbing at Zion National Park.
Once we left Utah we made our way over to Bishop, California to do some more rock climbing and from there we made our way to Monterey and down the 1. During this drive we pulled over and Clara touched the Pacific ocean for the first time in her life and then moments later made a print, followed by some nice light bouldering to the sound of the waves meeting the shore. We eventually reached the furthest southwest corner of the United States, San Diego. Worlds away from where both Clara and I grew up (her rural New Jersey and I, nowhere Vermont) we couldn’t have been further from here our journeys began and yet this is where Clara sold her first ever print! Sitting in the infamous Ocean Beach market Clara caught the attention of a passer-by while working on one of her prints and made a sale to the lovely gentleman! We parted ways at the San Diego airport and she headed off to the Adirondacks for her annual family rock climbing trip and I slowly made my way back to Nebraska with many stops along the way.
Clara and her tent at our campsite in Zion Nation Park during sunset.
Before we left we ordered Clara a tiny print press from OnePress so that this trip was still apart of her residency. Once we got out, the first dirtbag campsite was set up just outside of Zion National Park in the southwest of Utah. Clara immediately pulled out her milk crate with her entire studio inside and got to work! While watching her print, surrounded by the mountains, with the sun setting above and her toes in the sand I realized that this was what Home was always meant to be, furthermore this was the exact reason why I created Home.
Clara's printing while seeing the pacific ocean for the first time.
The remainder of our trip was a rare experience that I feel incredibly privileged to have shared with such an incredible, talented and special human. I learned so much from and about Clara. She re-invigorated my love of rock climbing, that had been neglected since I was a child (as I never felt comfortable as a queer individual in the space prior to Clara) to really understanding her etching process. This was a once in a lifetime trip that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I know the knowledge Clara gained from her time both on this journey and with Home have had an impact on her that will influence and inform much of her artistic and professional future.
Clara printing at Ocean Beach Market in San Diego during sunset.