Artist Residency Recap: ISLAND's Hill House

Last August-September I attended the Institute for Sustainable Living and Design (ISLAND)'s Hill House artist residency.  Located in a fairly remote area of northeastern Michigan, Hill House is a solo residency for all types of artists and designers, from musicians to photographers to architects. 

I intended to write and arrange a psychedelic baseball album. As soon as I arrived (to a bottle of red wine and homemade cookies) I knew I needed to mostly disregard any preconceived plans. The energy was wild and demanding, yet tranquil and inviting. 

The experience continues to resonate with me. I know that much of what I gained from those eleven days can't be put into words, but here are some highlights from that journey. 


Started all 9 songs for a psychedelic baseball album

Listened to many great records: Isaac Hayes, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Wonder, Beethoven, Leon Russell, to name a few

Watched most of Archer (had started before I arrived, but damn if I didn’t finish here)

Watched A League of Their Own and Bad News Bears (1976)

Drank beer from Short’s Brewery (Pontius Rd.)

Played songs at Short’s Brewery, got two more growlers and an e-mail requesting I mail a CD to Traverse City

Used a tube pre-amp for the first time

Used the tube pre-amp to record a Kickstarter reward song

And a song for my nephew’s 2nd birthday

Washed my feet in the Jordan River, and wrote a song about it

Took many walks/hikes/runs , and even a couple bike rides (I love that Schwinn)

Got chased by big dog Maddie almost every time

Made bread for the first time

Got very lost on the way Hill House, went to Brad & Amanda’s house

Interactions with Wal Mart: pisses taken in- 2, parkings lots slept in- 1, dollars spent in- 0.

It was my first time to sleep in one of their lots and I loved it--my mini van, Ludwig, is cozy

Read much of Make Art Make Money, a book that uses Jim Henson’s career as a business and life model of sorts for artists

Watched The Muppet Movie (1979) for the first time ever

Ate, prayed, loved