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My intentions for this residency had been to be absorbed by the Icelandic culture and be inspired by these new surroundings. I wasn’t prepared for the impact this would eventually have on me.

It didn’t take long to settle in to the Textile Centre in Blonduos, our new home for one month and it didn’t take long for me to become inspired. Although initially my motivation came from the incredible land formations it became clear I had a need to reflect the feelings I was experiencing. The astounding feeling of space with the spectacular endless landscape had to be expressed. I set to work on a piece that reflected this continuous impression. I wanted to involve all the colours around me, the volcanic sand and sea, glacial rivers and valleys, lava fields, mountains, farmlands and plant life.

During my stay I read the book ‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent about the last woman to be put to death in Iceland after being accused of murder. It was a very haunting and descriptive book on rural life in north Iceland in the 1800’s. This furthered my understanding of the Icelandic culture and the changing nature of the landscape throughout the seasons.

From all this inspiration I created ‘Continual’, a piece using a wrapping technique with mostly Icelandic materials, including fish leather, horse hair, sheep fleece and many balls of Icelandic wool.

I felt I needed to take this piece to the beach where my feelings of space had been reinforced. So, on our last day after exhibiting it as a vertical hanging I stretched it out along the shoreline and took lots of photographs. Both these ways of displaying it were in contrast to each other but both expressed this feeling of a never ending space.

Unfortunately, Just as I am working out how to express my thoughts it is time to go home and I can’t help feeling I need more time. The work will obviously continue and hopefully develop from my memories of this unforgettable place. I have discovered a new appreciation for nature and am very excited to expand my knowledge, particularly with natural plant dyeing experiments to help express the essence of the landscape.

Tara Kennedy