WordSpaceStudios in conversation with past resident Martha Grover

What were you working on during your residency with us at WordSpaceStudios? 

 At that time, I was working on a graphic memoir about growing up as a homeschooler/fundamentalist Christian in rural Oregon. The project was about the nature of truth and spirituality. 

Why did you apply for our particular residency? What about our residency felt uniquely supportive to the project you were focusing on at that time?

 I applied because the location was ideal – I used to live in the Bay Area and know a lot of people there. At the time, I was living in a situation that made it difficult to do visual work – I had no space to work. Plus I loved the opportunity to do a reading and teach a class! 

Where are you now with this project?

 I’ve put the memoir aside for now. But some of the paintings I did while at Wordspace have since made it into my new book – an illustrated book of lyric essays and poetry- that’s coming out in November 2021. It’s called Sorry I Was Gone and is about a lot of the same themes I was working with while at the residency. With creative work,  I’ve come to know that the creative path is seldom straight and having time to generate a lot of new work all at once usually sparks many fires. 

What did an average day and/or your creative process look like during your time with us? I’d usually wake up early and enjoy coffee and the view for a while before getting to work. I would take a walk around the neighborhood every day. And then get back to work until the sun set.
What projects are you currently working on?

 The new book, Sorry I Was Gone, is at the designers right now. In April of 2021 I’m going to use a Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of the book. I’m also starting a store – which sounds crazy, I know. It’s going to be a tiny little book and curio shop in downtown Troutdale OR that will also serve as my public art studio. I’m really excited about it! 

Reflecting on your creative process concerning this project pre-WordSpaceStudios, what changes, if any, did you experience in your creative processes during your time with us? What elements of our residency do you feel were especially impactful in supporting these changes?

 Having the time to create new work and get feedback during the reading – that was invaluable. Spending the week on the memoir also clarified a lot of the obstacles I would face if I wanted to complete it. I also read four or five graphic memoirs while I was at Wordspace and learned a lot from them! I haven’t totally given up on the memoir but having the time at the residency helped me figure out how the graphic memoir would need to be illustrated in order to be a success.  It was definitely a useful and productive time. 

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