Season’s greetings with ex-resident Mary Kroetsch’s “Epilogue”
As everyone is burrowed in for the holidays and reflects on the past year, we are as well, including catching up with many past residents in the course of compiling our upcoming publication. We received this poignant “epilogue” from Mary Kroetsch to add to her final report. While deeply saddened by it, we were once again touched by her usual generosity and willingness to share with us all such a personal sequel to her RFAOH experience.
Epilogue – Mary Kroetsch – Resident – 2014-2015
At the end of my hiatus I identified with the catalyst it offered me to deal with the ghosts that came from the reading of my Mother’s diaries and reviewing all of her scrapbooks and must saved documents. It was this – a catalyst. I was able to rid myself of the emotional weight all this stuff placed on my shoulders because with news of my partner’s health being seriously in jeopardy, I needed all my strength for him. Not long after the hiatus, his real battle began almost immediately.
While I did get back to making art, showing it on some walls, winning some nice prizes and even making a few sales, my heart was not really into it. I had lost my naive sense of creativity – that joy I got from those happy accidents that defined a good work.
Ian who was my greatest fan in all things art recognized this and in his final year with me encouraged me to find a new direction. He insisted I clear out the studio and get rid of the stuff I hoarded because maybe someday it would find its way into my art. His hand in mine, he took me to where the art was. He made the best suggestions for making changes. He literally kicked my butt into the studio. And I beamed every time he bragged about his wife the artist to all his caregivers.
My original six months of hiatus were just a preamble to ready me for the year of 2018 – the year I had to adjust to not having my mentor Ian with me anymore. I can honestly say this is the year my real Residency for Artists on Hiatus actually happened.
I know the goal of participating with RFAOH is because as an artist I was on the verge of possibly hitting a brick wall in my making, but it offered me so much more. It helped me put the important things about memory into perspective and gave me permission to not just stop making art, but to slow down the making and regroup. This experience with RFAOH, helped me to help Ian and in turn he me, to adjust to the next chapter of my artist’s life.
Reminiscing on the great hiatus projects we’ve had, we are also inspired to learn how each resident’s “post-hiatus” has been. For some, their residency feels like a lifetime ago compared to where they are sitting at now, while others continue to ponder the relationship between art and life as they were during their time at RFAOH.
We wish everyone a reflective year-end and a chance to slow down to savour this time with friends and loved ones — please stay in touch in whichever way for the coming year.