Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beginning of the second week

Beginning to get somewhere with experiments—covering rocks with paper and using iron patinated stones along with graphite to rub in the details of the stone. I’m also taking active, bubbling red algae from the rock pool where I’ve chosen to work and spreading the algae over wet paper. As it dries it does very interesting things and I’m documenting everything. Unfortunately, when I brought the piece into the studio it stank to high heaven and now it's ouside in the rain getting even smellier!! We have three days of showers ahead so I will work in the studio wrapping complete stones.
On Sunday, Steinunn took the five of us on a road trip to Akureyri, the second largest town in Iceland, north west of Baer. The lighting was spectacular all day and we had many stops and photo ops. The buildings are clad in corrugated steel, painted very bright colours. With a backdrop of ever changing colour and spectacular atmospherics the coloured buildings work amazingly well. We went to a very interesting historical herring museum in Siglufyiordur, an old fishing town that has been isolated until recently when tunnels were built through the mountains. The tunnels themselves intrigued me. They curve through the mountain and somehow have an ethereal quality. Hewn out of the rock, narrow, with high arches and beautiful proportions you really feel you are traveling in a parallel world. One of the tunnels is single track where one direction has priority and oncoming traffic has to pull into alcoves. With no traffic lights to control the flow visitors have to work it out but I think ones intuition has the space to develop here. There is nothing to break the continuity.  
Akureyri, a very colourful friendly town has a good bookshop, art supplies, an art museum and a 100 year old botanic garden where the plants are even more vibrant that they are in Edinburgh. 
We got home about 10PM and of course as it doesn’t get dark I went down to my cove to check things out and actually did some work! It is very difficult to go to bed and even more difficult to get up in the morning. The Icelanders are active round the clock in the two months of summer and sleep more in the winter. The body must adapt to this rhythm whereas we guests are just lacking sleep!
End of Tuesday 17th.
We’re all busy and creative now. It’s interesting working in such a social situation. We share ideas but we’re all doing our individual thing and come together for lunch—the biggest meal—and tasty dinner of transformed leftovers! The food is amazing and I’m getting inspired to expand my jaded Boulder Creek repertoire by getting an Icelandic cook book—I’ve never eaten so much fish in my life! Our young photographer, Mark Hartman is a vegetarian but is certainly enjoying the fish! Baer is planning a cook book........
I’m spending a lot of time working outside in a small sheltered rocky cove near Baer where I’m wrapping the rocks with mulberry paper. I can spend 3 solid hours there and then I go back in the evening to check things. So far the work I’ve done is small scale. I would need extra hands to maneuver big pieces of paper and I think that would be a project in itself. Eventually, taken from the rocks to the studio they become 'impressions of Iceland' and look like 3D maps spaced off the wall with long pins.
This open landscape and the constantly changing light and colour is a gift for photography. The sun on its low circular trajectory draws a ring around the land and the shadows are very long all day. I’m incorporating this into the work as it evolves.
I seem to have forgotten about video after the first few days here and am concentrating on photography, and hands on work. I’ve been feeling the need to return to this sort of work for quite a while an am really enjoying it. 
It is completely experimental so there is always that edge of not being quite sure of what one is doing. We have to present our meanderings at an open day in two weeks time. It will be good finally to have to pull things together. 

Wrapped stone 2
All night ever changing sunset at Baer
Atmospheric Baer
Siglufjordur fishing village - Tove with wooden figures


  1. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! The dramatic landscape and connection to other artists seems to be liberating for you and your creativity. Fantastic. Great writing. Keep it up. We're enjoying your trip immensely, thanks to your photos and words.

    Love, Mark and Taffy

    1. Hi Mark and Taffy,
      I just picked up your comment on the blog, thank you.
      It's stormy today but will still be venturing out. Amazing food here and am eating huge amounts but none of us are putting on weight. My theory— the food is so lacking in toxins and is high energy that we are using it rather than storing it? Will be cooking Iceland when I return!!! Lots of fish.....

      xxxx Diana