Joya: AiR / writer in residence / Renée Wilson / Canada


Of Awe and Minor Despair

‘The journey to Joya: AiR was a compliment to my current projects in ways I only experienced once my time with Simon and Donna was over. This is to say, like all things beautiful and rare, only its absence can its true worth be felt.

And absence describes Joya: AiR egregiously well. There is an absence of all the distractions we seek to escape from, as artists trapped in the mundane. The absence of noise, of clutter, of unwanted human contact. There is no water to be wasted, and hardly any shade to take for granted. In removing all I sought to shed myself of, I found my heart and mind stripped to their bare, dry innards. Excuses and distractions dried up in much the same way the sun pulled up water from the arid ground on which I stood for a week. I was left with nothing except wide, wide space.

Joya: AiR is filled with seemingly quiet space. The people around me, busy at work with creative projects of their own, created within Joya: AiR an air of manifestation; unconsciously, sitting or walking anywhere, you know something is being made. Passion for making and creating burns at Joya: AiR. It’s in the kitchen and the art studio, in the bedrooms and the gardens. It’s on the hilltops where we sit to talk and watch sunsets, and growing slowly in the hulls of almond seeds on trees stretching upward and onward over sprawling hillsides. Even the solitude breeds something new; connection. I met the most inspiring people during my stay, and heard stories from which I’m branded. I’m bringing home the scent of rosemary and dirt, and memories of lovingly crafted meals and conversations. I carry with me new blossoms of things which grew in the spaces emptied by the Spanish sun and strong mountain winds.

From  Joya: AiR, I sought an absence of all things which held me back from creating, and found myself drowning in everything newly growing inside. All I needed was wide space to soak up the sun, and grow.

I thank Sam and Katie, Fionnuala and Dayna and Diane, for sharing freely with me all they were willing to give in our quiet, providential conversations. Simon and Donna, there’s more adoration and respect in my heart for you than I could ever hope to aptly express. «Je ne suis rien, je le sais, mais je compose mon rien avec un petit morceau de tout.» – Victor Hugo

As I grow, you are all strong branches of this tree I’m slowly becoming.”

Renée Wilson