Marisa Dipaola, USA / Portugal

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2017


Bio

Marisa Dipaola was born barefoot on December 12th, 1977, and grew up in the cedar swamps and coastal Atlantic of southern New Jersey. She graduated with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 where she majored in painting and began experimenting with site-specific sculptural installations. Upon graduation, Marisa received a travel grant to study la Mezquita, in Cordoba, Spain, which began a collection of travels to eighteen countries, studying the sacred architecture and natural wonders, producing site-specific artworks in Japan and Iceland as well as entire series of artwork while on residence in Spain, India, Italy, Egypt, Austria, and Bahrain.

She has exhibited her works internationally at museums, galleries, universities, cultural institutions, community gathering places, outdoors within natural sculptural parks and urban revitalization projects.

URL: dropr.com/marisadipaola


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

In the course of being a nomadic artist, Marisa Dipaola has wandered throughout the landscape in diverse surroundings, constantly inspired by the natural world that embraces us all. After residing in the southern Austrian Alps for three years, she and her family are ready for a road trip to move to southern Portugal, in order to buy and renovate an old farm as a sustainable, permaculture project: moonfarmers. Raising her three-year old daughter while this major project is on the go, she is unable to foresee any free-time to take part in the artworld, at least for a year or so. Instead, she will dedicate her time and artistic effort to turning an abandoned property into a sustainable small farm and retreat, and quite possibly a future artist residency.

Her time will be spent with rebuilding a sustainable habitation, sourcing and planting fruit and nut trees, native edibles, sacred seeds, establishing berry patches, grape vines, mushroom patches, a chicken coop, a small fish pond, a huge vegetable patch. She will use sculptural elements to create terraced farming areas, enhance microclimates and enable year-round cultivation courtesy of cold frames fashioned from old windows as well as illuminating indoor growing areas, a few wind-chimes, alternative-energy-generating works, and the interior redesign & redecoration of their living space. On a more scientific front, she hopes to incorporate the skills she learns during this time to create various sculptural projects that encourage growth, combining illuminated works with fungal works and garden projects to create sustainable, living artworks. Any additional free time she finds will be spent mending clothes from the pile she’s had gathering for years and to complete more butterfly carpets -- and there is that quilt she has wanted to make for her bedroom.

She hopes that the time working and reflecting while on-hiatus from the artworld, but proceeding with her moonfarmers project will guide the future, whichever way it grows.


Final Report

After taking a little hiatus from being "on hiatus"
I have had a chance to reflect upon this past year:
how far we've come as moonfarmers,
and how wide open our future can be.

Or perhaps I haven't really been "on hiatus" at all.
Years ago, I did an oil painting of a little wooden cottage,
set amongst a flowering garden, aptly named "storybook cottage"
for its allusions to an imaginary, out-of-a-storybook world.
I eventually used the painting as a proposal sketch
for "storybook cottage" a knitted inhabitable playhouse sculpture
I (& Mohamed) made for an exhibition title "There's No Place Like Home"
at the Paul Robeson Gallery of Rutgers Newark, New Jersey, in 2013.

Coming together in the final moments, the sculpture was visually satisfying:
and at the opening, a hit with the toddlers (& their parents) visiting the exhibition.
But under its intricate surface, this knitted world was only an illusion,
and an indication of my desire for a real storybook cottage to inhabit.

So here we are.
This ongoing project,
or series of projects,
has only just begun.

And yes, I intend to keep some sort of online account
of how we are progressing, with all our various activities
(something I wouldn't have thought of doing without
the encouragement of the RFAOH community).

But this year being on hiatus has given me time to reflect on what else I can be,
how much further, and farther, my life can take me than simply being an artist.

And funny, everything I thought I'd be doing once I was "off" hiatus
(like keeping up with other correspondences & re-entering the art-world)
I hadn't really thought of lately.

Instead, I've been sitting in the shade watching our garden grow,
watching flower petals unfold and bees buzzing from blossom to blossom.
And watching the stars shine, and finally seeing the owl I'd been hearing lately.

Mohamed had recently told a lady,
who had asked if I had been painting,
that "yes, marisa has been painting with water..."
meaning that I had scattered seeds throughout our yard
and as I spray water across the land,
vibrant colors and forms come to life.

But now that it's August, I have really been "on hiatus" from technology,
including emails and taking photos (& apologies to my parents for that);
and instead, focused more on Marmalade's story-time and creative play
(which reminded me of the years ago I spent teaching arts to children
& the years before when I was Marmalade's age, in my own imaginary world),
and reading (especially as a new book on companion planting just arrived from my Dad),
and materials-collecting for our home and gardening projects.

We dug out all the collected glass bottles, driftwood,
seashells, colored stones, and the tangles of gathered fishing ropes,
to prepare our materials for newly repaired outdoor furnishings,
Marmalade's playhouse, our front porch, and bathroom remodeling projects.
And found another nearby trail within Bamboo Parque littered with fallen bamboo,
perfect to complete the outdoor kitchen area and the pergola over our front porch,
which now has three upright posts with three crossbeams.

And, for some time now, I've wanted to make a collection of wind chimes,
and with all the collected random materials, I can finally begin creating them.

And I dug out my oil paints and stash of brushes,
and began repainting a nasturtium painted on a found metal sign in Austria,
as its trailer trip out west last summer left it dirty, scraped, and stained.
Perhaps an apt metaphor for our journey to arrive here;
but I'm ready to move on, move forward,
and so repainting it with our garden's new blossoms.
Once finished, it will become decoration for our fence,
as another friendly welcome to the moonfarm.

And Marmalade and I begun our largest collaborative project yet,
repainting the back wall of our house, which, hopefully,
will soon become the inner wall of Marmalade's own bedroom.
Painting this mural reminds me that I truly love painting on walls;
and that although I am not just a painter, I do love painting.

(& I've wondered how I can share that love here;
& painting our house seems the first logical step.
Yet Marmalade's school, most of Zambujeira do Mar,
& the Casa Viva teahouse in Odemira all seem possibilities
to spread my colors further & to reach a wider audience;
something I imagine would unfold over the next few years.
& speaking of Casa Viva, we'll be there more often,
since Mohamed will be leading a weekly capoeira class there.
So painting their walls seems a very real possibility, too.)

We are also trying to get the place cleaned up a bit,
to feel like we've finally moved in and claimed our home
(& get it ready for a huge visit by Mohamed's family).

And I've been really busy with the bounty from our garden:
jars and jars of blackberry jam, applesauce, and pasta sauce.
With a growing pile of adorable summer and winter squash,
and bush beans, tomatoes, arugula, kale and cauliflower,
and kohlrabis, tomatillos, cucumbers, onions and pears
(which sliced thinly together make a lovely salad!)

And, as our summer harvesting is in full swing;
we are also getting the garden ready for the fall planting season.
We're putting in another few planting beds for an exciting collection of fall favorites: radishes, peas, onions, garlic, broccoli,
rainbow beets and carrots,
and including: fenugreek, red cabbage, celery, shallots, leeks and rutabaga,
that I've never grown before.

We arrived one full year ago,
as our first day in Portugal was Marmalade's third birthday.
This year we have so much to celebrate, so much growth, joy, and surprises.
Marmalade wished for a birthday picnic at the beach,
so we invited the Sebastians to come along,
for lunch and chocolate cupcakes by the sea;
not all that different than a scene from one of her storybooks.

While wandering our land harvesting all the ingredients for the garden salad,
I realized that our home really is out of a storybook:
over a river and through a bamboo forest...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

While our first residents were here in the early summer,
I really saw the potential the moonfarm has as a residency;
not just the location and tranquility and mild weather,
but the abundant found materials and room to experiment.

I've been on enough residencies
(& helped run Townhouse's while there)
to know that I would excel at running a residency,
and hope that the glassbottle construction for the ruin
gives the moonfarm the perfect place to welcome all creatives.

Yet being "off hiatus" hasn't given me any extra free time;
I still spend hours daily watering, cultivating, harvesting, and cooking.
And there's always dirty dishes and laundry piling up.
But the year "on hiatus" has kept me focused on our goals,
and helped me remember that although life is mostly out of our control,
we do have a little time and space to spread happiness
and make our world a little bit brighter.

Thank you for this incredible opportunity.
And please come back to the moonfarm.

With peace and love,
m, M, m (& tuna)


archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 
       
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728    
       
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
       
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
       
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       

 

recent comments

On Aug 23 2017, Lee commented on From RFAOH Co-directors: Marissa, I would love to follow anything you place online! Please let me know hwen you get going![...]

On Jul 31 2017, mathieu commented on revival: part IV: thank you for the reports and for the gorgeous photographs, your adventure is very inspiring![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part IV: I'm all choked up... July 31 happened to be my birthday too; what a last day! Thank you to you all!![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (m) commented on revival: part IV: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this project Marisa - and everyone (we know it's[...]

On Jul 30 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part three: One thing we regret not to have done sooner is to make the comment section capable of posting images[...]


Spring showers bring lots of flowers

We’ve just had another string of rainy days,
and as usual, they came as passing waves,
with sparkling sunshine peeking in between.
And once, a rainbow…

It started during a few days of Root time,
and I’m sure all the root plants are happy;
as the carrot package specifically said
“keep seedbed and seedlings moist at all times”

Though these passing showers are also great
for the newly transplanted berry bushes,
and all the seeds I’ve sown in the garden.
The magenta leaves of the amaranth
are beginning to push through the soil surface,
and I’m sure the radicchio and quinoa won’t be far behind.

Over the weekend it became a Flower time,
but the rains (& an “Unfavorable time” Saturday afternoon)
kept me from doing much planting and other gardening.
We did buy a sweet cherry tree on Saturday,
so Sunday afternoon, during breaks in the rain,
Mohamed dug it a new home and planted it in.

Some of the sweet peas and nasturtiums have emerged,
and this upcoming weekend’s Flower time I’ll be starting more of each,
as well as seeds for some poppies and purple lupines.

By the way, the wild yellow lupines have transplanted well,
evidenced by the flower buds opening in succession.

I’ve noticed a lot of low-growing sunflower-like wildflowers,
first in the neighbor’s cornfield and now a few clusters roadside.
So next Flower time, I plan to bring some over to our yard.
(It’ll be a Transplanting time again, so a perfect time to move them!)

Saturday afternoon we had a get-together at our place:
the Swiss family we met at class, and Cristina, our Portuguese teacher,
who is actually a botanist; and came over to help us identify
some of the incredible diversity of wild plants growing on our land.
Since our chunk of forest hasn’t been disturbed in generations,
a lot of rare Mediterranean woodland plants are growing there,
and many of them beginning to bloom.

Leave a Comment (4)

codirector (s) wrote on Mar 31:

This is really interesting; I tried to look up an "unfavourable time" associated with some lunar cycle farming calendar but did not find much so thought it must be very specific. I don't know if you've noticed it but our ex-resident Milena Kosec, whose 2-year on-hiatus project was organic gardening, is from Slovenia. She might be interested in knowing about this farmer! When we visited her last year, she told us that organic gardening was becoming so popular there, and also, in the past, the government used to give small allotments to encourage people to do organic gardening. We learn so many different things in our "hiatus community" (:

marisa wrote on Mar 31:

Yes, I guess it can seem complicated.
We use the Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar.
Unlike most calendars, this studies not just the lunar cycle,
but also all planets movement through the cosmos,
tested through trials for over fifty years,
to generate their specific planting/ cultivation days.
(We discovered Maria Thun's research while Mohamed was pursuing his Masters Degree in Biomimetics. Once we saw she published a calendar, we got it.
Though a farmer we visited in Slovenia convinced us of its effectiveness;
he had used the Thun calendar for over twenty years & had such lush orchards & happy animals; so wonderful was his property that a stray peacock moved in to call it home!)

From all that I've read,
they believe the cosmos is directly affecting the microorganisms in the soil,
as much as the plants you are cultivating.
So there should be no soil work, nor planting/transplanting done during an Unfavorable time,
typically because of contradictory forces from an unfavorable cosmic alignment.

"Unfavorable" refers to it not being a good time to touch the soil & anything you are growing.
You may still harvest, for that day's meals, as freshest is best;
but nothing will keep fresh for long when picked during an Unfavorable time.

For us, it's usually a day to catch up on housework.
Or go to the beach.

co-director (s) wrote on Mar 28:

So what really happens (or not happens) during an "unfavourable time"? you are not supposed to do any agricultural moves? It is a very specific almanac you follow?

Lee Churchill wrote on Mar 27:

So lovely!