Alaska was amazing! For 6 weeks I was an artist fellow at Chulitna Lodge. Located on the shores of Lake Clark in Port Alsworth, Alaska, the wilderness lodge is only accessible by plane and boat. There are no roads.
The plane sat 4 people and carried 2 Costco pizzas plus a box of moose burgers. We flew eye level with the mountain peaks. We took off in Anchorage and landed at Port Alsworth, AK. A boat transported us across Lake Clark to Chulitna Lodge.
It’s challenging to put my feelings into words. The environment and experiences are one of a kind and life changing. The love I have for the people I shared the space with is profound.
Depending on the week, the lodge housed 8-13 people while I was there. I was surrounded by likeminded, creative, kind people, all whom I miss dearly. You can read about the other artist fellows, staff, and the history of the lodgehere.
The scenes were the most beautiful views I have ever seen. I lived in a yurt, cozied up with my recording equipment and a bed. At the fellowship, I wrote and recorded 10 songs and filled a huge hard drive with videos and nature sound samples. I experimented with some new approaches and am ecstatic with the results. I will release the songs after they are mixed and mastered.
I went to the fellowship to develop a project that honors and explores old-growth forest. I wish to create compositions that encourage others to feel enthusiasm and love towards trees. I wrote 6 pages defining what that looks like. I will use the text for future residencies, to find support, and continue on my forest mission.
Chulitna Lodge is lakeside and the beach is beautiful. There are wild chives, fireweed, and other wildflowers growing among the beach rocks. Down the beach is a massive beaver dam. On the other side is a maze of water channels that flow through the forest. I went paddle boarding for the first time and explored for hours in the canals. The water was warmer than the glaciated lake and crystal clear. You could see moose and bear prints at the bottom imprinted in the sediment. Twisted pine trees surrounded us. It was incredible.
Although I didn’t see a lot of cities in Alaska, I had many adventures around Chulitna Lodge. Across the Lake is Mount Tanalian. We took a day trip and hiked to Tanalian Falls.
There are a few self-maintained paths around the property and in the National Park. Towards the end of the fellowship we hiked the mountain directly behind the lodge. They call it Mount George because it looks like George Washington’s profile. From the top of the mountain you can see Kijik Lake. I read the land around the lake was known as Qizhjeh Vena, ‘a place where people gather lake.’ The Qizhjeh (Kijik) area includes K’q’uya Vena (Kijik Lake). Qizhjeh Vena is the ancestral homeland of the Dena’ina people.
This hike was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I love nature and being outdoors, but I’m from flat Ohio and rent cabins. The other hikers were more experienced but they shared their knowledge and encouragement the entire way. I have never been on a hike where the trail was bushwhacked as we progressed. It was an incredible challenge and I am proud of myself for pushing through fear and hesitations. I sobbed gratitude and relief at the top. The view was breathtaking.
The midnight sun never let it get dark. During solstice, there was 22 hours of daylight. Even when the sun set the sky glowed. On the longest day of the year we made solstice tea with foraged wildflowers. We took the boat around Lake Clark, explored some islands and abandoned cabins. We saw bald eagles and baby moose. I love the photos from this day.
I had the best time and will be forever grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, Chulitna.
In other news, I am loving living in Maine. So far so great. I’m painting the studio next week and will be back to recording soon.
In addition to Uno Lady, I write compositions for other creative folks. I record vocal harmonies for people’s albums and arrangements. I make original music for virtual exhibits, art installations, meditation practices, and write jingles for businesses. Please consider working with me on your creative projects. You can hire me through SoundBetter, Fiverr, or message me directly at email@example.com
I had the honor of composing music for Massillon Museum‘s virtual tour of “A Thrilling Act: The Art of Anthony Eterovich.” Thanks Karen Eterovich, John, and Alex Coon at Massillon Museum for inviting me support such a lovely project. It turned out amazing! Watch it here.
A Thrilling Act: The Art of Anthony Eterovich was on display at the Massillon Museum from June 12—September 26, 2021. I was honored to perform at the opening.
I loved writing songs specifically for the virtual exhibit. Inspiration for the songs were derived directly from experiencing Anthony Eterovich’s art. I love the vast variety of styles and the playful and vivid colors he uses. The paintings and sketches provided endless inspiration. It was wonderful to learn more about his life as an artists.
In other news, I leave soon for the off-grid artist fellowship in Alaska. I’m developing a project that focuses on the forests. I will be in the wilderness, without phone and limited email. I am taking a break from outside work and reconnecting with nature. if you’d like to work together on a composition in the future, I’ll be available to write again mid-July. Take care!
I have 3 upcoming shows. Let me serenade you. These are my final performances booked before I go to Alaska for the fellowship and move. Let’s celebrate together.
April 15, 8pm, $10, Cro Bar is a newly opened old dive that is really rad at 3244 St. Clair. Cleveland, Ohio. The show was organized by the amazing people with Emerald City. Twen (must see! seriously!) and Orefice Rothare also playing.
April 16, 7pm, $10- Dawn of the CAVE 15 Broad St. Akron, Ohio. This is the first show in this new DIY space. I’m honored to be a part of it. Sponsored by EarthQuaker Devices,UNO LADY, MOTH COCK, JEREMY BIBLE,STEMS, & DJ: HR3. Masks strongly encouraged. Extra KN95s and hand sanitizer provided. Street parking is available on the same side of the street as the venue. All ages. BYOB 21+; CAVE is a safe(r) space.
I’m going to Alaska! I have been awarded a fellowship at Chulitna Lodge, a historic Alaskan landmark in the center of Lake Clark National Parks and Preserve, one of the largest parks in the U.S. Chulitna Lodge is 180 miles southwest of Anchorage and is an off-grid living community. The property primarily runs on solar power.
My fellowship begins in May and is completely self-directed. I applied with a new idea that focuses on old-growth forests. I will spend my time developing a project that tells the tales of trees. I’ll also take videos and compose music inspired by my stay.
The fellowship covers my lodging and food expenses. I have to pay for a portion of my travel, cover my home expenses, and variation in income. I’ll come up with creative ways to help fund this incredible opportunity and keep you posted. You can always buy music through Bandcamp or pledge on Patreon.
Thanks so much to the Chulitna Lodge Research Institute for providing the time, space, and facilities for creatives to make and meditate. Some text and photo are from Chulitna Lodge’s website.
Rocky River Flows into Erie is a meditation piece that samples sounds from the Lake Erie region. For this project, I recorded environmental acoustics at five different locations. Wave sounds were sampled from Magee Marsh and Edgewater Beach. Bird, bug, and frog songs were recorded from Old Woman Creek, Rocky River Reservation, and Columbia Station Reservation.
The vocals were composed and recorded at the Foundation House residency in Greenwich, CT.
You can buy this on Bandcamp and hear on all streaming sites.
Feel the breeze blow on my skin gentle sweet kisses from the wind hear the bird song melodies of the air chorus of the forest show they care
Nature is my lover we look after each other
Feasts of plenty tasty terrain they flirt through the dirt with gifts of sweet sugarcane sunbeams gleam their love for me moonlight makes my heart shine bright
Nature is my lover we look after each other
How awesome the blossoms’ bloom presents of fine perfume
Nature is My Lover was written and recorded in this gorgeous retrofitted stable at the Foundation House artist residency.
The background melody came first. There are Lake Erie sounds, Connecticut swamp sparrows, and babbling springs from France.
This song was almost lyricless. I sat in the spacious yard, cross-legged in the grass, and reflected on what lyrics would serve the sound. In this pause, I connected my breath with the breeze, felt the wind on my skin, and the sun’s warmth on my face. I was aware of the ways nature brings me joy. I noticed the gifts I receive every day. What a generous and caring experience. Nature is my lover.
Thanks for listening. Warm regards, Christa
I’m sharing a video of a live performance of Nature is My Lover on Patreon.