Lydia Rain ’13 Studying Abroad in France

Guilford’s own Lydia Rain has been spending her days in the studio, with the occasional break to take a walk through the woods. Seems like a story not uncommon for a Guilford art major, however, these are not the Guilford College Woods, and her studio is not Hege Cox. Lydia is studying abroad this semester at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in Brittany, France.

During her time in France, Lydia says she has been guided by two rules off of a list created by John Cage titled Some Rules for Students and Teachers,“Rule #4: Consider everything an experiment” and “Rule#7: The only rule is work.” Lydia considers all the work she is doing experiments. Something will happen whether she plans it or not, she explains, and “that thing will be good or I’ll work some more.” For her sculptural pieces, this manifests itself in small, wall mounted objects, shown below.

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Lydia is also taking two classes which incorporate a new element to this skilled sculptor: video. The performing arts and animation classes are different than what she is used to, but Lydia has been able to make the transition into this new media with help from the liberal arts education Guilford provides. Involving ideas and knowledge from other classes into her work is not something unusual for Lydia, and this habit has made the transition to new mediums a bit less of an ordeal.

Also helpful is the staff of professional artists there to assist students at Pont-Aven in what Lydia calls “the quest for good art in our own studios and lives.” Each semester the art professors working with the students studying at PASCA change. Lydia is currently learning from Jeffrey Gibson, Michael Hall, and one of my personal favorites, Rune Olsen.

Lydia also finds support in her host family. With the help of internet translators and gestures, along with what has been learned in French class, the language barrier becomes a small hurdle. Home cooked meals provide an opportunity to share experiences and stories, as well as chow down on what Lydia says is the best food she has had in Europe.

We look forward to hearing more stories from France, and of course seeing more of Lydia’s work. Currently the students are taking a break from the small town life and heading to Venice, Italy on one of two excursions (earlier in the semester they went to Paris). Unfortunately, Pont-Aven is going to be closed this coming Spring Semester, but they are looking to re-open in the Fall of 2012.

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