The weather has been pretty amazing, considering we were all expecting rain and gales. Bright starts to almost every day so far.This morning, it was not only bright but much warmer so I headed off down to the shoreline at the mouth of the estuary of the river Blanda, to check out the latest bird migration arrivals, just in case some Puffins had put in an appearance. In this lovely, quiet, unspoiled part of the world you cannot help but notice and be engaged by the huge variety of bird life that come here each summer to breed. Some of
them, like the 200 or so of Arctic Terns that arrived this morning have flown from the Antarctic to be here, a journey of around 12,000 miles which they will repeat, by returning there at the end of summer. They dive, flutter and squabble, dipping their bills and feet, deftly lifting fish from the water, true swallows of the sea. The tide was out and I could walk down to the waters edge where, minutes before a small flock of shore birds had been searching for food. I could not help but note the pattern of their foot prints intermingled with mine. A reminder that we all leave a mark on this planet no matter who we are or what we are about. In addition to the Arctic Terns, we have seen around 38 other different species of bird,
Raven to Redwing and Ptarmigan (Annette) and from our windows most notable and, it has to be said, most noisy, two pairs of Red Throated Divers and a large flock of bickering Black-tailed Godwits. Happy days!
The Textile Centre in Blonduos
The Textile art residency is held in an old girls’ school in Blonduos in the north of Iceland on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Within the building there is accommodation for residents, a kitchen, dining room, shared bathrooms, a large studio space for general textile work and, on the upper floor, a loom studio. The residency is right next to the Blonduos Textile Museum, which is open to the public during the summer but by appointment the rest of the year.
Views from the building look out over the town to the mountains in one direction and across the wide Blanda river to the sea on the other side. It’s a stunning landscape wherever you look!
After a couple of days of settling in and investigating the local area we have begun exploring ideas and materials. One of our first finds in the studio was bags of sheeps’ wool available for us to use; in one bag the blackest of black wool. Three of us are making use of this already! It is raw wool so has to be washed several times to remove dirt and the strong smell of sheep. But its colour is so reminiscent of the dark lava seen on a visit to nearby basalt rocks and our local black sand beach at Blonduos – it is so definitely a colour of Iceland
We come from different textile disciplines, but our work intersects with concerns about sustainability, the natural world and exploring cultural influences.
Jennifer Jones – Complex hand-weave structure and fiber combinations producing three- dimensional woven cloth, conceptually concerned with environmental destruction
Tara Kennedy – Constructed soft sculptures and hangings, expressing messages of empathy and hope emerging from cultural and religious differences.
Annette Mills – Exploring the concepts of emplacement and knowing through making – random weave, twining, looping and knotting.
Delia Salter – Expressing a personal connection to the land through stitch, felting and plant dyeing with a particular interest in ancient sites and how time links to place.