SPACE: Tell us about your time at the farm:

Ashley Bell: Being on the farm has been a really grounding experience for me in many ways.  Being a complete and total city girl, this environment was completely new to me.  It’s almost so beautiful and expansive that it’s frightening. The only book I remembered to pack in my suitcase was a book of poems called “The Book of Hours” by Rainer Maria Rilke [it’s pretty much a staple of the Sycamores now, I’m sure], and reading that in the midst of this large expanse of natural life deepened the way I thought about life, nature and art. Also, the artists who came to farm helped solidify the fact that I really can be a working artist. Meeting people and hearing about all of their struggles that turned into huge successes has made me excited to enter my final year of college and chase after all the seemingly impossible ideas in my head. So overall, time at the farm has been pretty sweet.

SPACE: What are you studying in school?

AB: I am a double major in English and Theater at Skidmore College.

SPACE: How did you find out about SPACE?

AB: I was looking for theater internships so I went to the Playbill website and read a bit about SPACE. I thought, that’s cool but they probably have all their interns by now and they seem to require a driver’s license which I certainly do not have. Then, I went to the A.R.T. Internship fair at Parson’s and saw the SPACE table and realized that maybe I still had a shot. I chatted with Emily about Brooklyn, nature, and Williamstown, and a couple months later I was at Ryder Farm!

SPACE: Favorite part of SPACE?

AB: It’s a tie between the conversations at dinner that last for hours, and sitting out on Peach Lake at night during a bonfire. One was more social and allowed me to hear stories from people who work and play in the world that I’ll be entering as I leave college, and the other was more for my own personal pleasure. I also saw my first shooting star, and got comfortable playing with caterpillars and inchworms. All of it was awesome.

SPACE: Worst part of SPACE?

AB: The worst part of SPACE would have to be the unbelievable amount of spider webs that I walked through everyday. I looked like a crazy person swatting at myself every 5 minutes.

SPACE: If you had to come back as a farm veg. or animal, what animal or vegetable would you be?

AB: My immediate answer was a tree, but I don’t think that counts. So I would be one of the huge green crickets that I’ve seen here. While I was in the shower I saw one of them creeping along a shampoo bottle in front of me.  My first instinct was to jump out of the shower and whisper “oh god, oh god” a million times. Eventually however, I got the courage to finish my shower and found myself mesmerized by the cricket. It was paying no attention to me. It was just exploring the shampoo bottle. I remember thinking that it looked really classy.  I also like crickets because I hardly ever see them, but their sound can always be heard. They are an invisible omnipresence; and if one cricket stops singing, there will still always be music. That’s the type of person I want to be, a small part of a whole, doing my job until my job is done.