Finally finished my piece which I have titled ‘Landslag’, the Icelandic word for landscape.
Inspired by the continuing changeable and contrasting landscape that appeared to go on forever. It depicts all the colours of the landscape I experienced from the black sand, rocks, sea, hot spring mud pools, glacial waters, snow, waterfalls, lava fields, lichen and mountains.
Made form Icelandic wool and mixed threads wrapped, embroidered and stitched together and will become a wall hanging as soon as I have the backing attachments in place.
It’s been over a year ago now that I spent a wonderful 5 weeks in Iceland 4 of which were spent at the Textile Center in Blonduos on the art residency. https://www.textilmidstod.is/en During the last few months, due to the pandemic, I have had the chance to spend time developing some of the work I started on the residency and have just started on the next piece which will continue on the same theme. I’m not sure exactly how it will turn out but I’m thinking it will be stitched onto 3 canvas’s. I will post another blog when it’s in further progress.
It’s been just over a year since our Textile Echoes art residency in Iceland and due to what has happened in the world I have finally had the time to make more response work. The residency was such a wonderful and inspiring experience and started me on a different path for a new body of work which I have been longing to develop for some time. Textile Echoes had hoped to exhibit later in the year with a collection of work inspired by our time but are now planning for next year when things maybe a little better in the world.
I just received my copy of the new Icelandic Textile Center Art Residency catalogue which we have all been featured in along with other artists from all over the world that spent time there: https://issuu.com/textilsetur/docs/catalog2019_online/1?ff
Looking at some of the other artists work filled me with enthusiasm and also the longing to go back.
So I went back to my sketch book that I had started on the residency and got out all the wool I purchased while we were there. The colours took me right back to that stunning landscape and I started to draw, developing the ideas I had previously had. My inspiration came from the continuously changing and spacious landscape, like no other landscape I had experienced before. I wanted to continue with this theme and designed an embroidery using wrapped lengths and stitching. I have several more layers of embroidery to add so it will change a bit but here it is so far. Once finished I will dip it into water and the backing fabric will dissolve leaving threads and spaces between the stitches.
I will continue developing these landscape artworks with wrapping, stitching and felting and as soon as I can get to my knitting machine, I might experiment with some knitted pieces too.
As soon as this piece is complete I will post an update here and show whatever I am making next. You can also see more images of my process on my Instagram:
Working with black Icelandic sheeps’ wool, I completed a couple of pieces of work about Thought and Memory while at the residency in Blönduós (referencing Odin’s two ravens Hugin and Munin).
The larger piece is made up of two separately felted surfaces to which I have added loose knitting and Icelandic horsehair. The two smaller pieces are similarly made but one with green and the other with white wool positioned convexly.
My own thought and memory, as mentioned in a previous blog, aren’t quite as well functioning as they used to be. Gaps and cracks occasionally appear in the progression from the brain’s initial intention towards fully conscious awareness and recollection. Communication and expression become at times a little disrupted and fragmented. There can be discontinuity and imbalance. This is seen in the holes in-between the two sections as well as on the surface and around the edges of the larger work. Even in the smaller pieces blank spaces are exposed in the networks that link our thoughts and memories.
Further work progresses now in the home studio using materials brought back from Iceland and will continue to feature the two elements of Hugin and Munin, Thought and Memory, in anticipation of an exhibition by Textile Echoes in the not-too-distant future.
Reykjavík, another place full of contrasts! Beside the Old Harbour is the spectacular architecture of the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. Henning Larsen Architects and Icelandic studio Batteriid Architects, in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson, completed the Harpa Centre in 2011.
A hive of activity and flooded with light from the basalt inspired hexagon metal structures which hold the clear and coloured, irregular glass windows. Henning Larsen Architects and Icelandic studio Batteriid Architects completed a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland, in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson in 2011. From the exterior the viewer could be reminded of the scales of fish, the industry on which Reykjavík was established.
The design of the interior allows the various levels to seen simultaneously as the spaces have been opened up, allowing them to flow both visually and physically as you walk down gradually sloping stairways.
At the other extreme, a short ferry ride away is the small Island of Videy. A beautiful unspoilt natural place inhabited by seabirds waders and geese.
The peace and quietness was a marked contrasts to the rowdy festival atmosphere of the Old Harbour area of Reykjavík the Sunday when I made the journey.
It is the perfect situation for Richard Serra’s Afangar (1990) Standing stones, nine locations – two elevations. ‘(Stations Stops on the Road, To Stop: Look: forward And Back,To Take it All In)’ … sign posts encouraging the walker to pause and look both ways – to become fully aware of their environment. Nine pairs of basalt columns located on the west of the island perfectly in harmony and useful perches for the fulmars.
Finally, The Nordic House by Alvar Aalto provided the middle way. Built in 19…. as a meeting place for the Nordic people provides classic Aalto modernism and details.
The large north facing windows provide a wonderful view over the city while the library is flooded with light and perfectly proportioned with cleverly concealed office space and well lit stair structure leading down to a cosy and inspiring children’s library.
These final days of our visit to Iceland have allowed me the luxury of a transition period to reflect upon how different life has been here. Watching spectacular sunsets at 11.30 pm and working, unintentionally, until 2.00am because it is still light outside was both relaxing and extraordinary. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like in the wintertime with only four hours of daylight. This experience will stay with me and continue to influence my practice. It has made me challenge the structure of how I work and opened my eyes to new palettes and remarkable colour combinations. I am looking forward to continuing to develop my ideas and incorporate this experience of Iceland into a new body of work to exhibit with Textile Echoes in the spring of 2020. My thanks to A-N for the bursary which allowed us to develop and extend our initial plans, access more opportunities for research and make full use of local resource.
Today we leave Blönduos after our months residency here at Textílsetur. We have met interesting people and made new friends, who are mostly taking their leave today but hopefully we will see them again, we shall certainly follow their progress.
It has been a wonderful month and my thoughts move from my discovered ‘leavings’ to what I am leaving behind.
Firstly, the birds. A wonderful surprise to have such a wide variety of birds arriving here during the month from all over the globe for the breeding season.( I counted 43 different species) I leave them to raise their young, to then start their long return journeys at the end of the summer. There are already a number of goslings being escorted by their parents on the river Blanda.
As we head for Reykjavík today we leave behind the landscape that has so influenced our work, in all it’s wide, expansive, rugged glory, the spring flowers erupting and grasses turning to green as the sheep and their young are sent out on to the hillsides for the summer.
I also have left behind some warp that I used for my Leavings III piece, tied up and ready for the next interested resident to make something of.
I leave the mesmeric view from my window which changes day by day, often hour by hour and has become part of a piece of work yet to be completed.
In passing through this wonderful place, I will be leaving nothing of myself, I have been no more than a shadow as it passes in the changing of light, but I am taking a very small collection of the smooth dark stones that made up a nearby beach. I had picked up a handful and arranged them in order of size on the studio table, as their shadows, thrown by the very bright evening sun appeared I was moved to make some photographs, inspiration for a new project. The arrangement, like me, was just passing through,
the stones were returned to the beach and I like the shadows they made, are no longer there.
What is still there, however, is one of my favourite gloves, which I must have dropped yesterday afternoon, if anyone finds it do let me know.