Grad school is a commitment, and it takes up most of your time. But periodically, little opportunities will pop up that let you work in nontraditional grad-school formats, such as a weeklong residency close to your school. I was blessed for the past week to have just such an opportunity at a store called Have Company.
Have Company, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was started by Marlee Grace-Hanson. The premise is pretty straightforward: Have Company sells handmade products that embrace ideas of handmade crafting and are (often) made by people who share ideas of progressive justice. The store offers yarn, jewelry, candles, zines, calendars, artwork, clothing and (frequently) tarot readings. The residency originally had a space for one to two artists to sleep in the store itself, located in downtown Grand Rapids. This is the kitchen:
This is your bed if you go:
The residency lasts approximately 8–9 days, during which the store posts about you on Instagram and Twitter and features you on a podcast. You also have to submit a post for the Have Company blog. The social media exposure is significant, especially if you make products in-line with the products Marlee sells—the Have Company Instagram has 69.2K followers (and counting).
You are also encouraged to go on a trip to Saugatuck to visit the beach, a weekly journey Marlee and friends take. This past week the beach ice had just broken up and was being blown and thrown up on the beach in polished ice-pebble formations.
You are also encouraged to lead a workshop for the Have Company community, which usually brings people in mainly from the Grand Rapids area; however, the workshop I led was more of a performance with an artists’ talk about Love, bringing in one extra person from Detroit.
The experience at Have Company was worth it. I ended up being able to have a little micro-studio residency experience which I have found, since Ireland, is exceptionally good at motivating me to pursue particular projects to their logical completions. I was also inspired by the community of Grand Rapids, which was inordinately kind to me.
We used the image below for the fliers. The performance was an experimental concept I’ve wanted to pursue, wherein musical performance is faded or cross-woven into soundscapes from digital collaborators in different physical spaces who may or may not know of each other’s collaboration.
I would absolutely recommend this residency. Have Company now also has the opportunity for individuals to also live in Marlee’s house with her and her partner John Hanson, as well as a soon-to-be-revealed third option. Everyone is very excited to see what comes next.