I Want to Know / by shawna cross

Here we are, welcome!

It's hard to describe my experience of returning to my studio full time, In the beginning I found myself working hard, of course, but also driving in circles, too. I was so intent on "setting up" - setting up my previously neglected studio space, cleaning up palettes left one day years ago with the intention of a return some long ago "tomorrow". I was busy commissioning stretchers, stretching and priming canvas, inventorying paint and supplies, compiling and organizing new pieces of storage furniture; cleaning my whole studio, room by room: discarding bits of old studio residents from their abandoned rooms, accepting new residents to the now-clean rooms, taking in that new energy; throwing out a past that I hadn't cleaned up yet, so walking into my studio no longer felt like walking into a past that no longer fit. I needed to build a creative space that could house my present, that has room for my future. I swept brick walls.

Honestly, I was terrified to pick up my palette knife and put it to canvas. What if I'm no good anymore? I'd think. I dabbled a bit at first, but it was so uncomfortable, like trying to pull off dry skin, and I found I was painting in a style that reflected my previous design work, and it didn't say much about anything. So I turned to textiles, block printing on them, and the repetition and easy-to-resolve start/end period gave me gratification. Now my eyes are open to new canvases, and my palette is more colorful than ever before.

Two and a half months ago I resigned from my position as curator and director of design and marketing from a young gallery that I helped build for four years, and that I, too, had grown alongside. It was a project that I loved very deeply. But this also means that after three years away from the studio I established seven years ago in Burlington's ever-evolving South End Arts District, I return full time to spend my last year in Burlington exactly where I first started it. I'm eager to see what comes out of these brick walls, after so much time away!