If I were a more hip, city dwelling artist, I might have a studio in an old warehouse or abandoned factory. Instead, as I am decidedly un-hip and rural, I have a studio in a converted garage on our farm. My studio has our barn on one side and backs onto the chicken run. It also features a spectacular view of the sheep pasture and our compost bin. No Brooklyn artist's loft for me! But it has good light (most of the time) and is quiet enough and big enough to make it a pleasant workspace. Believe me, I'm not complaining.
At the moment, my studio is less remarkable for what is on the outside than for what is on the inside. It has become a bicycle storage area and a makeshift plant nursery. I have also taken on some roommates. Now, if I were a Brooklyn hipster and I told you my roommates were turkeys, you would probably think that they were other artists who didn't clean up after themselves, or who didn't pay their share of the rent on time. But since I live on a farm, if I were to tell you that I'm sharing my studio space with a bunch of turkeys, you can safely assume that they are actually turkeys, and not just people of the sort who would eat your last ice cream bar and then lie about it.
Turkey poults. Photo by the artist
I'm not sure what to make of these turkeys. They look a lot like chickens and they kind of act like chickens....except for some subtle differences. They are gawky little creatures, curious and uncoordinated, and they have large, grey, ever watchful eyes.
When I decided to raise turkeys this year, many people warned me about the fragility of turkeys and their inherent stupidity:
"They will get into the waterer and drown in it!"
"They will be too stupid to find their food or water and will starve to death or die of dehydration!"
"Don't let them outside in the rain. They will drown themselves by looking up!"
And so on.
There are plenty of wild turkeys around here and I have yet to find groups of them drowned following a downpour, so how stupid can they be? For these little domestic turkey poults of mine, time will tell, I guess. Until their permanent pen is ready, they will continue to live in a big box in my studio. They have food and water and a heat lamp for warmth, and me for company during the day. I think I'm going to miss my fluffy little roomies when they move out. I certainly won't miss the plants and bicycles- those are just in my way!
Tomato and cabbage seedlings. Photo by the artist.
What's on the easel
I have recently completed another Well Dressed Dog collage. The subject of this one is my good
friend Brenda Castonguay's dog, Sisi. Here she is:
Sisi's Coat of Many Colours- 6x8 painted paper and fabric collage on panel, ©2011 Alyson Champ
Apart from being Sisi's mommy, my friend Brenda is a fabulous photographer, who specializes in intimate, creative, family portraits. Check out her work here. And yes, in case you were wondering, many of my friends are photographers.....or turkeys.