I’m in Blönduós, in the northern part of Iceland. In an internship shared with Lisbeth, I’m staying at the Textílsetur Íslands with a view directly to the Norwegian Sea and to the most fantastic sunsets colouring the sky deep yellow, red and orange – and that at 10 or 11pm; we’re only 100 km from the Polar Circle, so the sun is gone only for a few hours. The Iceland sky is, even in daylight, quite special – constantly changing with low-hanging, fast-moving clouds and only minutes between sunshine and snow, or heavy rain.
Among our daily tasks as interns is updating the Textílsetur website and Facebook page. I have tried to do this by slightly reorganizing the website’s content and writing small presentations of the textile artists in residence, the Australian Judy-Ann Moule and Liz Pead from Canada (oh, yes, and of Lisbeth) and by posting photos to Facebook.
We have also initiated an “Open Textile Day”, which will take place Saturday 24th of May. On this day, all the institutions in the multipurpose Kvennaskólinn – the former women’s school where we live and work – will open their doors to the public. More info on textilsetur.com – and if you’re in the neighbourhood, drop in for a bolli af kaffi!
Blönduós Have More Fun
But: There is also time to work with my own art – which is one of the basic ideas behind the internship program (top image shows my work place in the studio). My work here so far consists of two (still very unfinished) series of collages – one using materials found in the nearby surroundings or on the shelves of the school, or cut out of local newspapers and/or tourist materials. The Icelandic language uses some special characters like the eth: Ð/ð and the thorn: Þ/þ as well as a huge amount of accented letters – like ó, í, and even ý – so these will be in many of the collages. I love type with personality!
Here are three examples of the collages from the “Blönduós Have More Fun” series (working title), each ca 16 x 12 cm:
The Blönduos Relocation Series
The other series of works are also collages – or rather, digital montages based on photographs I have shot in Blönduós and the area surrounding this small town, which has both a well-equipped library, a Salmon Museum, a Textile Museum and a busy sports center with a.o. four naturally heated swimming pools, the coldest one 28° C, the “hot tub” an amazing 41° C. Hot!
The photomontages build on the idea that when in a residency, you have relocated – you are the same person as at home, but in a different place. In the photomontages I move – relocate – buildings or locations into new surroundings or place street signs from far away near a well-known house. Like in the physical collages I work with a masking and cut-and-paste technique, using elements from two or more photos in each image – a technique, by the way, I have applied to lots and lots of newspaper illustrations since the mid-1990ies. What a wonderful feeling to use this hard-earned skill now also in a personal project.
Here are some of the first works in progress in the “Blönduós Relocation” series: