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June 24th, 2013 by Joanne Barrett


From Student to Intern

Coming back from a brilliant semester in Tuscany, I must admit I was a little apprehensive to start on my LEEP Project at the Barred Owl Retreat, a nature-and-writing retreat center near Worcester. In Italy I was studying art and art history – with real-life Italian artists as my teachers and mentors. As much as I learned, I still felt very much like a student, dependent on the feedback and advice of those around me. My LEEP Project, “Artist in Residence”, seemed like a huge leap from that mindset (pun intended).

But, to my very pleasant surprise, I showed up for my first day at the Barred Owl and was welcomed by my LEEP Mentor, Jess, who was excited and open to all sorts of ideas. She encouraged me to walked around the property and “find some inspiration”, and also gave me some starting projects to get situated. I took a walk around the lake, played with the little chicks, sketched some of the more scenic views, and talked with Jess about her plans for the property.

We decided to start off with some garden mosaics to cover up the areas around the property that get a bit too much foot traffic for anything to grow properly. I spent the night looking up old symbols and icons of creativity and unity with nature – the general ethos of the Barred Owl Retreat. I settled for the “World Triad”, an old symbol of cosmic creativity that lends itself easily to patterns and decoration. Next step is gathering some materials and getting to work!

I’m realizing that I’m more prepared for this intern-stuff than I had realized. It wasn’t until I arrived and started visualizing the possibilities that I understood how my experiences at Clark and in Italy gave me the tools I need to really do this, and do it well. Now, I’m just full of excitement for the summer, and impatience for the weather to be good enough to get started on my first mosaic! Stay tuned – pictures to come.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Jun 24 2013

    Joey, I’m thrilled to have you here and can’t wait to see what you create. I love the thoughtfulness in choosing a symbol that speaks to one of the missions of the Barred Owl. Looking forward to more.


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