In March/April 2019, I was selected to be Desert Fellow at Blue Sky Center, a rural community development nonprofit in New Cuyama, CA. Over the course of my three-week residency, I was asked to provide a creative project that would thoughtfully engage local residents.
By offering screen print workshops, I was able to spend time with the local community from the get-go, learning about life in Cuyama through conversations that ran alongside our activities.
My project focused on found pattern in the Cuyama Valley, and we used it as a tool to explore and play, as well as to create curiosity and connection with the unique location. I created a Pattern Hunter zine that prompted kids to capture their findings through mark-making, we went for Pattern Walks with local residents, reframing the seemingly mundane details of everyday, and invited locals and visitors to contribute to a catalogue of #patterncuyama on social media. We used a colour palette throughout workshops that I’d collected using pantone swatches against local hues. Residents were generous with their time and hospitality, inviting me for dinners in their homes or ranches, and sharing stories with me.
To conclude my time in Cuyama I wove together student-drawn and community-collected patterns into a screenprinted zine, titled “Pattern Hunt / Buscando Patrones.” The concertina layout mimics the playful nature of our pattern hunting, and the poetic questions in English and Spanish prompt the reader to seek out their own adventure. You can find the zine at Blue Sky Center, Cuyama Library or directly from me.
With thanks to; Blue Sky Center, and all the wonderful staff I worked with, as well as the generous Cuyama Communities. Photographs courtesy of Blue Sky Center.