makerspace/ shared workspace


1. 2. 3. Weekend!

This weekend – WOWSERS! There is a whole lot going on and I’m super excited about all of it! 06.07.14 Potholder Rugs7

  1. Snow Farm over in Williamsburg MA (feels like driving to Grandmother’s house – ie: over the river and through the woods) is hosting a Potholder Rug weaving workshop where I will submerge myself and a sunny studio full of students, in the simply magical process of cutting up used clothing and making amazing rugs. This is a giant step in my mission to reduce my footprint in the Makerspace at Shire City Sanctuary. Lots of materials will be loading into my trusty wagon later today to be used up in a super productive manner.



2. Before that happens Ben, my awesome 23 year old son, and I will load the car with all of my latest work and head down to Basilica Hudson for the Farm and Flea show there this weekend. The show organized by the amazing marketing and production mavens from Hudson River Exchange. It looks like a fantastic mix of amazing makers, vintage treasure purveyors, and artisanal food producers – not to be missed. This is Ben’s debut in the booth without me. If you are in the Hudson area – go visit him. Booth 118 Saturday 10-6pm and Sunday 11-5 at Basilical Hudson 110 S. Front St Hudson, NY 12534


05.02.15 Food Truck Rodeo

3. On Saturday (as in tomorrow) Shire City Sanctuary is hosting the third annual Foodtruck Rodeo and 350 Massachusetts’ event called Live the Change. The Foodtruck Rodeo 11-5pm, is a benefit for The Giving Garden – a community garden that supplies our local food pantries to help our hungry neighbors. There will be live music, lots of food options, and micro brews, outside, while inside, 350 MA has put together a climate action and sustainability fair for 12 hours! Starts at 11am and ends with a dance party with beats by DJ BFG wrapping up at 11pm. During the day, speakers, vendors, and activities for adults and children are planned. We are so happy to collaborate with our like-minded organizations. Three cheers to all those who made this happen! If you are Berkshire bound this weekend, please do stop by Shire City Sanctuary 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield.


Spreading the Word - Permaculture at Shire City Sanctuary

My pattern of learning and accomplishment revolve closely around deadline and time constraints. Yesterday and last night I shot and made my first video ever. It was submitted today for a super huge and awesome grant right on deadline.  It was noted on the application that we are not being 'graded' on video production (PHEW!). Not only was the result of my pressured learning curve successful, the process was enjoyable and the tool so useful! Here is the fruit of my midnight oil. It is just a simple little visual tool for sharing more about our project proposal. Shot with an iPhone 5 edited with an app called Splice, and uploaded to Vimeo – all fist time experiences for me. The hardest part is remembering all the passwords.

Now here is a taste of what Shire City Sanctuary has in store.  Feels super positive and there is a strong sense of team spirit building in each of us working on this bright beacon.  Take a look.


And then stay tuned for teaching videos bringing my workshops and more to you wherever you are! Yay!

Carri Skoczek - Freak of the Week

Do y’all know about BINGO! Gallery? At Shire City Sanctuary there is a sweet little gallery space with all the professional accouterment to make it real. We call it BINGO! ‘cause it is located in the former bingo hall of this amazing building. Each month we feature a professional artist that ties into what we do in some way. This month, until Halloween, we are very pleased to be showing linocuts and original paintings by Carri Skoczek. She is New York City based and her work is truly, not to be missed. 10.22.15 Mistresses

Learn more about her here and then, if you are local, come take a look at her work in person while we still have it here to show off! She is my Freak of the Week, and if you are a regular around here you know that being Freak of the Week involves answering a list of questions via email.  In Carri's own words, here goes:

A brief history..

10.22.15 Carri portraitBorn in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1956. Many moons ago I’ve been drawing since before I can remember. Took art classes when I was a kid at the Milwaukee Art Museum. And ended up teaching kids classes when I moved back. Studied drawing and printmaking at UV Eau Claire. Helped start a "healthfood" (thats what they were called back then) restaurant there in the mid 70's.  I designed the logo and then became a waitress, baker, and food maker. One of the best jobs I ever had until it went bankrupt. Then I moved to Denver because I had a ride and a place to stay. Dicked around for a while then went back to art school. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design It was small and fabulous. Moved back to Milwaukee with the intention of moving to Chicago, but found the loft of my dreams..3500 sq. ft 200 bucks a month heat included, top floor, skylights, freight elevator . . . stayed for 13 amazing years, 84 til 96 when I moved to NYC after meeting the most incredible man from New York in New Orleans. . (long story, killer small world connections) and here I am, almost 20 years later. Painter, printer, costume designer and doll maker

10.22.15 Vert PortraitWhat am I passionate about? Art. Making weird hats. Theater. Music. Cooking. Mexico. Egon Scheile. Swimming. Chickens. France. Riding my bike. Good friends. Weird dolls. Shoes. Oysters. That truly magical 2 degrees of separation. My Cuisinart. Our killer art collection. Tomatoes. The Met. Voodoo flags. Reading, real actual books. BAM.

10.22.15 Egon SchieleMagical moments. My life has been so full of them! It’s all magical.

-That moment when I finish a piece and it makes me do the happy dance. -Selling my first painting when I was 12 to one of the judges in the competition. -Getting that killer loft because the owner hollered to me from the street, "did I know anyone who wanted to rent 3500 sq ft heat included for 200 bucks?" -Finding my first studio in NYC from a sign on a lamp post. -Every moment I've ever spent in New Orleans. -Becoming the costume designer for Theater X in Milwaukee with no theater experience. Being hired based on my paintings, -Building costumes in Trinidad for carnival with Peter Minshall's crew. -Riding the rhythm truck with The Laventile Rythm section. -Smearing my body with mud and dancing all night in the streets for Jouvay. -That moment right before dawn when all the rhythm trucks are gone and all you hear is the shuffle of hundreds of tired dancers. -Making dolls on the beach with kids in Jamaica from junk we found after 10.22.15 Bernice Fordthe reggae beach parties. -Trading paint for art with Reggie the Tin Man . -Skinny dipping in Monet’s lily pond in Giverny. -Swimming in the seine. -Winning the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. -Swimming in the Caribbean way out where the water turns from turquoise to violet . . . breathtakingly beautiful. -Having lunch with Willem DaFoe. -Dinner with John Waters. -Getting a thank you card from Harvey Keitel for the mermaid t shirts I painted for him and his wife, and the pirate sock monkey I made their son when they were king and queen of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. -Nick Cave installations. (the artist) -Bruce Springsteen performing at the first jazz fest after Katrina.10.22.15 snake lady -Eating my gramma's cheesecake. -My first oyster po boy. -The first time I ever had concord grape sorbet. -Learning how to " squeeze the tips and suck the heads" eat crawfish. -Firing a raku pot in the mountains outside of Puerto Vallarta. -Seeing the green flash at sunset on Playa De Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta. -Letting my students at the Milwaukee Art Museum paint my car. -Cate Blanchette in Street Car Named Desire. -Kevin Spacey in Richard lll. -Actually everything I’ve ever seen at BAM. -Seeing Kazuo Ohno (Butoh performer) perform when he was 90 with his son who was in his 70's at the Japan Society. -Meeting Iris Apfel and giving her the linocut portrait I did of her. -Meeting Gemma Cubero the film maker whose film Ella Es El Matador, inspired my my matadora series. -And meeting you Crispina! Finally live and in the flesh at Artists and Fleas, buying a pair of your undies. Our mutual friend Liz Olney singing my praises and you offering me the show at BINGO!!

I could go on and on, but I'll stop now. What a wild ride its been.

10.22.15 Studio Shot

My goal for the next 12 months? Quit smoking? Practice and improve my Spanish. I’m going back to Mexico October 25. To make art. Bigger and better paintings for my next solo show at Causey Contemporary in 2016. I’m working on a series of female circus performers and sideshow freaks.

10.22.15 Carri HandPrized possession? My eyesight.

If I could spend the afternoon with anyone?? That’s hard. No way I could pick just one. So I guess it's gonna be a party. A picnic. On a river or near a pond, so we can swim. With fabulous food and wine . . with Frida Kahlo, Diego, Egon Scheile, Louise Nevelson, Manet, Lautrec and his dancers from the Moulin Rouge, Hemmingway, and Manolette the bullfighter, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Deren, Julia Child, Tennessee Williams, The German Expressionists, Puccini. The list is actually endless. . . This would be one hell of a party!

Ok I think this covers it.

Cff:  Yes!  I think it does too. This girl knows how to live and make awesome art. Come see. Tuesdays – Saturdays 11-7pm 40 Melville Street in Pittsfield at Shire City Sanctuary's BINGO! Gallery.

10.22.15 Carri finale

September's Free Give Away Been changing it up lately and digging right into my screen-printing roots. It has been super fun to screen print art posters for our Shire City Sessions – our free music festival in its first year. In addition, there is our annual Dolphin Studio calendar in the works for 2016 and a collection of kitchen towels coming together from The Dolphin Studio for the holidays. Stay tuned.

Here is a little history of Shire City Sessions - a collaboration that effortlessly fell together. Kathy Lloyd, of How We Roll, headed up the Foodtruck aspect of the super successful Spring Shindy at Shire City Sanctuary last May. People kept asking if we could do more events with food trucks and music. Kathy and Alan Bauman of CompuWorks were walking their dogs one morning and began chatting about the idea. Alan, a longtime Pittsfield entrepreneur (and musician) was interested in a sponsoring a community event to bring great music to our city and build awareness of his business CompuWorks. Kathy, Alan, and I met for the first time in late June and hosted the first of our series on July 20. We had lots of help from Josh Be09.10.15.5nnett of Pittsfield House Concerts, Darren O’Brien of Encore Audio, my sweet hubby Chris Swindlehurst, and lots of others. We screen printed t-shirts and each of our three Shire City Sessions has a correlating art poster. We printed, and band members signed a short run of four-color prints for each of our three events. We gifted our talented musicians a copy, had them for sale at our merch table at the events and we have few stashed away for the archive.


Our final show of the season is coming right up this Monday, September 14, 2015 5-9pm and its FREE! The Novel Ideas open for The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow. It is going to be a fun night. A movie will be shot for The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and there is an afterparty at Hotel on North in the works that promises to be memorable. Come join us and see what an amazing community is gathering here in the heart of Pittsfield.   The party starts at 5pm with food trucks, craft beer, and pretty awesome live music. Bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket. Come inside and see our Makerspace including a commercial kitchen, industrial sewing room, screen-printing shop, technology studio, cyber office, and BINGO! art gallery.

Oh and remember, enter to win!

Share this post, hashtag it ShireCitySanctuary, leave a comment below letting us know where you have shared and you will be entered in a drawing for a set of 3, 18"x24" signed poster prints. The drawing will be on October 15.

Free McQueen Adams

08.04.15 McQueen Have you ever heard of this guy McQueen Adams?  I realize that compared to most I do live under a rock. I don’t watch television, read the paper, watch the news, follow sports, or go to the bar.  A whole lotta people follow him.  He’s worked with Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and toured with Radiohead.  He has dazzled the UK and is signed with Live Nation UK and will be touring Europe next spring. McQueen has filled the house in NYC, LA at the Ace Hotels performance space. He just completed his Ginger Corvette Tour to rave reviews and is going on his Fever Dream tour this September starting in Chicago and playing all over the Country.   Last week I had the good fortune to be introduced to McQueen by a mutual friend and fellow rebel, Aura Whitman of nAtURAlly Catering.

I’ve been checking out his site and videos and McQueen Adams is a super creative genius and F U N N Y! Part comedian, part projection artist, part DJ and a whole lotta performance artist

Just back from his first tour, his agent at William Morris Endeavor needed a live performance video for optimal marketing.  McQueen wasn’t into the whole corporate status quo comedy club in NYC, which is how we got to meet.  It’s the magic of owning a space like Shire City Sanctuary, mind-blowing creatives are drawn in and you get hangout, collaborate and feed each other the elation of creativity.

So, McQueen Adams is making a video in our downstairs stage area tonight.  It’s free and we can accommodate a small audience.  You, as a reader here, are invited to join us 8pm. Let’s be clear, there is no social networking or other promotion of this event at 40 Melville Street in the heart of Pittsfield. Looking forward to a memorable evening.

Pittsfield's Permaculture Oasis

07.30.15.Black Eyed Susans My hubby and I own a former Roman Catholic Church we call Shire City Sanctuary.  It is a Makerspace.  A Makerspace is like a gym for makers. There are day passes and monthly memberships. Members get a key and are welcome to come and go whenever they want. Equipment and workspace is shared. Lockers, Tubs, Shelves, and Studios are options for those who need storage or desire private workspace. There are classes and weekly public events. Oh and an AhhhMazing Event Space that anyone can rent. There is an strong community of collaborators gathering here that is super exciting!

07.30.15.ShadeIn addition, Shire City Sanctuary is residential. Four apartments are complete and inhabited (with two more to come) in the former rectory, next door to the church. We bought the buildings from the diocese in 2006 and moved in so we could slowly but surely turn the building into truly beautiful, ‘green’ apartments. Lots of reused marble from the church, moldings made with lumber from pews, no VOC paint, blown in cellulous insulation, were used to a make apartments where we would want to live. (Oh, and we did live in every corner of the building while we renovated.)07.30.15.ChurchThe two buildings, church and rectory, form a campus-like feel and are surrounded by amazing green space. This spring Chris and I hired Matt Lamb and Jay Allard of Berkshire Earth Regenerators to transform the yard into a beautiful space for us, and our tenants, to spend time. 07.30.15.MattOn Earthday we had seen a screening of Inhabit hosted by Matt at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge  The subject matter was pretty enligtening and Matt’s enthusiasm encouraged us to consider how our city and specifically our greenspace at Shire City Sanctuary really needed to be overhauled becoming organic, low maintenance, productive, biodiverse, and useful space.07.30.15.Hoogle Bed Matt was really excited when we approached him with our idea to Permaculture-Up the grounds at our center-city property and he set right to work. He walked the property, and assessed what we had growing there. He cleaned up trash, turned the neglected compost piles, and walked the property more, observing all the while.  Next he arranged a tenant meeting to establish how this greenspace should function to best serve the people who would use it most. After some careful thought and deliberation, he formed a solid plan for the space with stages of installment.  07.30.15.BlackCapsThen Berkshire Earth Regenerators showed up with a crew of the most amazing helpers and worked HARD for about a week. They planted a hugle bed, buffering noise and creating privacy. They built a beautiful shade structure to hang out in, created a swale to conserve and use rain water most efficiently. There are walkways, flowers and food growing. Soil is being nurtured with cover crops. Butterflies are fluttering, children are playing and our family dogs are finding shade.  07.30.15.QuinnIn just 6 weeks our property has been transformed and we have just gotten started.  We are really excited to keep the project going. Now that we have our first stage at the rectory solidly underway, we plan to encompass the church with permaculture and spread it as far and wide as we can. Ideas include lots of food and flowers right in front of the church, a rainwater catchment system (off a very large slate roof), fruit and nut trees that overhang our sidewalk with produce to share, a driveway changed from asphalt to pavers that allow drainage and greenspace, bunny tractors, bee hives, and chickens.  All in the heart of a predominantly asphalt covered small city in western Massachusetts. Feels like we might just be part of the solution and THAT feels really really good.  Thank you Matt Lamb and Berkshire Earth Regenerators!