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The Ground Shots Podcast

Aug 3, 2019

Episode #21 of the Ground Shots Podcast

This episode of the Ground Shots Podcast features a conversation with Alicia Toldi, who currently lived in Oakland, California. Alicia co-runs Piney Wood Atlas. 

According to their website: 

"Piney Wood Atlas is a collaborative project between citizen artists Alicia Toldi and Carolina Porras and was formed out of a desire to help spread the word about the magical world of artist residencies.

Through a series of regional road trips, we travel across the country unearthing small, emerging and unconventional artist residencies. Visiting is essential in absorbing the atmosphere, embedding into the space as if we were residents ourselves. We share meals, conversations and experiences with facilitators and artists. So far, we have visited around 45 residencies across 15 states and plan to visit the whole country in the next two years, representing alternative residencies through annually printed regional guidebooks, online content, and workshops.

Alternative residencies offer individual character, personalized experiences and room to experiment. Featuring these kinds of spaces allows us to connect creative thinkers with places where they can become visionaries, unlocking fresh ideas that only come from being in a new environment, and thus engaging in a symbiotic relationship between the artist, the residency locale and the outside world.

Piney Wood Atlas’ intention is to bridge the gap between residency databases and word-of-mouth, ensuring that attending a residency is an attainable, productive, and fun adventure for all."


We did this interview in Alicia's art studio in Oakland, California this past Spring after we both completed a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Occidental, California. I first met Alicia when I stumbled upon Piney Wood Atlas online. We have communicated online about the project over the past couple years and both decided to sign up for the Spring PDC at OAEC without realizing the other had also. It was a sweet surprise to finally meet Alicia. She hosted me a bunch this Spring as I came through the Bay area for interviews and meet-ups with folks. I appreciated being welcomed by Alicia and her partner and able to fit my big truck camper home in her tiny driveway by the freeway in the heart of Oakland.



In this conversation with Alicia, we talk about:


a little bit of the story of how Alicia co-found Piney Wood Atlas


the nature of artist residencies and how they can be designed in many ways, including their ability to be accessible to everyone


some of Alicia's favorite residencies featured in the PWA zines. So far the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest zines are out, and the Midwest themed zine will be out soon


adventures in road-tripping for the PWA project


Alicia's personal story of living in different places as an artist on the east and west coasts, and coming back home to the Bay area


a few of our post-permaculture training reflections


Alicia's relationship with spoon carving and making things


We're giving away one copy of the Piney Woods Atlas 'Southwest' zine to a Ground Shots Project Patreon subscriber. Comment on the post for the giveaway to be entered, here.




Alicia's personal website:

Piney Wood Atlas' website:

Alicia on instagram: @t0ldi

Piney Wood Atlas on instagram: @pineywoodatlas

Email Piney Wood Atlas:

Sierra Nevada College low-residency interdisciplinary MFA program and where PWA received a grant

Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, Colorado


The interstitial music for this episode is 'Mojave' by Marisa Anderson

Marisa Anderson on bandcamp:


Jim Croft's 'Old Ways of Making Books' class in Santa, Idaho where I taught hide tanning and visited during the month of July 2019. This is where I mention I edited and recorded the intro/outro for this and the next few episodes of the podcast:

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Theme music: 'Sweat and Splinters' by Mother Marrow

Additional Music: 'Mojave' by Marisa Anderson

Marisa Anderson on Bandcamp:

Produced by: Opia Creative