Crazy days. The journey to Bornholm took 50 hours exactly: 700 miles and 3 ferries. Not the easiest place to get to! But I managed to stop over in Amsterdam for a night, which was beautiful as ever, especially with the sun shining down on the canals and the wonky houses leaning towards each other.
Anyway after a long old haul I arrived on this lovely island in the middle of the Baltic. Ever since I lived in Copenhagen in 1997, I have been hearing about Bornholm. Danes always get that wistful look when they talk about this island, describing it as a very special place. So far I haven’t managed to see more than driving from where I am staying to where I am putting up my installation. I will be able to, but not until after this weekend, when my opening and the Ceramic Context Biennial openings are over.
It took me a day to recover, meaning I have only 1.5 days to get my installation on the wall. One day down, half to go and more than half the piece to still put up. The problem with this installation is, I am not using the same method I have always used in the past, which was to apply the ceramics to wood and hang the board. This is because I cannot hang heavy things from the wall in the library.
The library itself is a rather sleek and stylish white brick modernist building, apparently modelled on the wonderful Louisiana gallery of modern art up the coast from Copenhagen. This library, like Louisiana, has vast expanses of glass walls facing on to green landscapes and long white walls, one of which is my site. At first glance, it looks like a fabulous space to hang art on. Half way through putting it up, I am wondering if the very obvious and regular grout lines may dominate and detract from my piece somewhat. Such is the problem of not being around to take time and get to know the space and design something for it. I have the work already, but I am essentially designing a new piece for this space, and it’s not easy in such a short time. Also it has not been easy getting the work on to the wall, and making sure that it is removable and will stay up for a month. I tried to research this, but it was impossible not having the wall in front of me to see how my pieces would react to it.
The first stage in designing this new piece was to decide on the shape. The wall is about 10 metres long, which gives me the flexibility to make a very long, sparser design, with the pieces spread out more than before in versions I and III. This time I have all the pieces from Botanical Structures II (the oxidized version) and III (the soda wood fired version); a huge number of pieces and a vast array of colours. I thought long and hard about which colours to keep in and which to reject, namely those that jumped out and caught the eye too much (in this case the bright greens and blues). So the whole piece is harmonious, I have to keep the palette sympathetic to the more earthy wood fired glazes, which are more understated. I like texture, so many of the glazes I have developed for the electric kiln (oxidization) are similar in depth and tone to the wood fired glazes anyway and work well together.
Anyway it’s looking good so far. Fingers crossed everything will be ready for 4pm tomorrow!