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Friday, January 30, 2015

Textílsetur, Part 3

mountains and hills on a snowy day in Vatnsdalur 

I have gone on a bunch of day trips and little outings in just the last two weeks including a tannery in Sauðárkrókur, a drive through Vatnsdalur, and a tour of the wool processing factory here in Blönduós. I have learned a lot of interesting things and seen some really cool stuff. The director of Textílsetur ÍslandsJóhanna Pálmadóttir, has been very generous to drive the January interns and me all around while sharing her extensive knowledge of the area. From getting acquainted with 250 sheep to hearing about how fish are being studied at a research lab to the undeniable landscape that is all around, I am inspired in big and small ways. 


the vault of Þingeyrarkirkja with 1000 stars, 1877, Vatnsdalur

hanging out with a lamb on the farm of Jóhanna Pálmadóttir

close-up of Kattarauga (Cat's Eye), 
a deep, warm-water pool with two floating islands, Vatnsdalur 




See more pictures on Flickr.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Textílsetur, Part 2


Since my arrival I've been working on a black version of my white Island of 14,264 Days. I'm using a similar process as before with a few changes and will be sewing my last knots on the new piece in the next few days. The piece is about darkness, the sadness and heaviness of life, the difficulties and challenges, the other half... I wanted to be here in Iceland in the winter in the dark to make this piece and the season and lack of light has proved very inspirational. I'm not ready to go into greater detail or show images right now... I want to keep this one to myself for a little while longer. However, I'm happy to share some of the things I've been listening to, looking at, and reading over the past month including a few podcasts about different kinds of darkness, some articles, a map, and a beautiful poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:







-------------------------------------------------------------------

A Psalm of Life by Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 
        Life is but an empty dream! — 
    For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest! 
        And the grave is not its goal; 
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, 
        Is our destined end or way; 
    But to act, that each to-morrow 
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting, 
        And our hearts, though stout and brave, 
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating 
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world's broad field of battle, 
        In the bivouac of Life, 
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
        Be a hero in the strife!

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! 
        Let the dead Past bury its dead! 
    Act,— act in the living Present! 
        Heart within, and God o'erhead!

    Lives of great men all remind us 
        We can make our lives sublime, 
    And, departing, leave behind us 
        Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another, 
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main, 
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing, 
        With a heart for any fate; 
    Still achieving, still pursuing, 
        Learn to labor and to wait.


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Textílsetur, Part 1


So much has happened since I arrived at Textílsetur Íslands, so much that it's been hard for me to keep up on the blog between working in my studio, taking my long walks, and going on day-trips. Over the next three days I will attempt to share some highlights, and today I want to begin with the space itself...

As I mentioned a few weeks agoTextílsetur Íslands is located in Kvennaskólinn, a former women's school, situated at the estuary of the Blanda River and Húnaflói Bay. The second floor of the building is dedicated to the residency and includes private bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, bathroom with laundry, and two large shared studios, one for weaving and one for other textile arts. There is such history here and I love the feeling or the energy that immerses all the rooms. Photographs of classes from years passed line the walls and the original furniture is still in use. I have met many women who went to school here and also met a former headmistress. I have my own private room and studio and feel being alone in this small space has been beneficial to my work. I have needed the silence and solitude for this piece specifically. (More on that soon.)









Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My View


A few maps, my plane ticket and the ticket from Park Avenue Armory when I saw tears become...streams become just before I flew here, the pattern and photocopy of Island of 14,264 Days, a postcard from my friend Dan's upcoming solo exhibition...

And then there's my view outside, which changes often as the sun moves, as the wind blows, and as the clouds roll along...


Thanks for reading.




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ice


This week I'm going to post an image each day of something that is currently inspiring me... the inspiration can be seen in my work, but it is also a force, something that drives me to work. Each inspiration gives me pause and can send me into deep thought for hours, as well. Today I share with you an image of ice. Ice can be found in so many different forms here and every day these forms change.

See more photos on Flickr.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Guest Star Friday #142... Louise Bourgeois

Untitled, sewn work

I only started studying Louise Bourgeois about 9 months ago. I probably saw Maman before, but honestly, I knew nothing about Louise until my French friends at SÍM mentioned her last year. They said my work reminded them of her. Then I was gifted The Secret of the Cells for my 40th birthday and I began paying very close attention. (Thank you, Elsa!) 

Right now what I am most interested in are her sewn works because I'm working on my own sewn work at the residency. When I made "Island of 14,264 Days" in Iceland in the spring of 2013, I knew I was doing emotional repair. I was very aware that with every knot I stitched I was trying to make sense of life and trying to sew together all sorts of different experiences. When I began my new work here at Texílsetur, I stumbled upon a Louise quote that hit me hard,

“The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair.” 

I was just floored. She put into words some thoughts I had floating around in my head that I had not yet articulated outwardly. In another article I read,


I find these ideas very inspiring, and also very comforting. Louise used memory and emotion in her work, too, as well as other themes that she could illustrate very specifically because they are part of her personal history. Now, I don't love everything she created. I find some of her pieces difficult to look at both visually and conceptually, but even that is interesting to me, and I certainly don't avoid trying to learn from them. I like studying all the different aspects of her work because it's really helping me sort through some of my own thoughts. 

He Disappeared into Complete Silence

Blind Leading the Blind

The Couple

 loose sheet

Untitled

See more of my favorite Louise works on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Grass is Always Greener, Overseas...Schmuck!


I am excited to announce my work is going to Schmuck in Munich, Germany in March! Schmuck is an international, city-wide show of design and jewelry and I have wanted to be a part of it for years. I'm so pleased my work has found its way there! The pieces you see here, all from "I Live Here Now," have been chosen for the exhibition, "The Grass is Always Greener, Overseas," by Platforma and Platina Gallery. Platforma is the curatorial project of Ruta Reifen and Bella Neyman, while Platina is owned by Sofia Björkman in Stolkholm, Sweden. This exhibition features the work of American and Swedish artists:

Robert Ebendorf, Sondra Sherman, Jamie Bennett, Seth Papac, 
Lola Brooks, Arthur Hash, Tara Locklear, Lauren Tickle, Matt Lambert, Amy Tavern

Christer Jonsson, Margareth Sandstrom, Peter De Wit, Agnieszka Knap, Jenny Edlund, Hanna Hedman, Catarina Hallzon, Annika Pettersson, 
Li Liang, Tobias Alm 

Forget Me Not with detail

We Walk on the Same Ground

I am with You, You are with Me

Silently (I Saw a Robin Today)

This is a wonderful opportunity and I'm honored to be among this incredible group of artists!

The exhibition is open from March 11-17, 2015.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Sweetest

just some of the ladies at my lecture last night

I'm pretty sure I gave the sweetest lecture ever last night, or at least to the sweetest audience in the sweetest environment. I spoke to a crowd of Icelandic women during their monthly knitting club night as well as the four other resident artists, all textile artists from Denmark. Jóhanna Erla Pálmadóttir, director of the residency, translated for me as I showed my images, and while all those ladies knitted. As they worked, they would look up at the screen, look to me, knit, nod their heads, and occasionally say já, Icelandic for "yes." I spoke in a simple way so that Jóhanna could translate easily, which was also good for me. I tried to find just the right words, to say the most important stuff. When it was over, there were some questions and comments and I enjoyed connecting with them a little bit more. Jóhanna told me that even though some of them couldn't understand everything, they could feel my emotion. They said they could tell I was giving them a lot. This felt amazing and made me a little bit teary. Then I grabbed my own work, the embroidery I'm working on here, and sat with them for about an hour, all of us working on our own projects and chatting. We talked a little bit about the volcano that is erupting right now and about Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2010. I was congratulated on how well I pronounced it and then was taught to say a few more things in Icelandic. I was also told my new embroidery reminds them of lava, and I took that as a very high compliment.

Last night is now among my favorite moments in Iceland.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Little Studio



Just a few images of my little studio at the residency, my first stitch on my new piece, and the view one afternoon last week... I feel pretty fortunate to be working in this space with this view. My work is going well. I work in one or two hour increments and take breaks in between to move my body and use my eyes in different ways. I usually take a walk at some point, do some reading, or work on my computer. I often work in silence, which feels luxurious, but sometimes I listen to music or podcasts. The days go by in a quiet way and I am enjoying every moment.





Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 9, 2015

8 Days


"In Between" has been up at Veður og Vindur-Wind and Weather Window Gallery in Reykjavík, Iceland for just over a week! I do hope you will visit the exhibition if you live in RVK or check out Window Gallery Iceland on Facebook or the Wind and Weather Window Gallery website

If you do visit at some point in the next two months, please take a photo and send it to me at atavern@gmail.com. I would love to collect images of the piece at different times of the day and night over the course of its two-month run. The limited and changing light will effect the work in different ways and I would like to see what happens.

Thanks to RX Beckett for this first picture!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Where?!

view from my studio 11:04am today

Yesterday I posted a map of Iceland on Facebook to show everyone where exactly I am. Blönduós is located in Northwest Iceland, population 881. It is not far from where I lived the first time I came to Iceland, Skagaströnd, which is about 9 miles farther north. Blönduós is situated on either side of the Blanda river which flows into the sea. Right now, the horizon starts glowing around 9:30 or 10 as the sun begins to rise. It appears around 10:30 and rises just a little and then starts to set, maybe around 2.  It's dark by 4. It's much brighter during this time than I thought and often everything appears to be bathed in blue. The weather changes frequently, and quickly, and within the span of an hour there might be gale-force winds, stillness, a near white-out, pink clouds, bright sun, and a complex blend of periwinkle, slate gray, lavender, and robin's egg blue in the sky. Sometimes the sea is lighter than the sky, while other times it has an orangey-pink tint, reflecting the sunset above. I've been lucky to see the Northern Lights a few times already, too. I walk every day despite the cold and wind, just wearing extra layers as needed and maybe walking not as far due to strong gusts. I cannot imagine not being outside every day so I will continue to venture out as much as I can.


Blanda river and snowy mountains at 12:20 today

blue light at 3:02 a few days ago

sea and sky and some of that orangey-pink tone 
around 1:30 on my first day

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Texílsetur Íslands


Currently, I'm living and working at Texílsetur Íslands, the Icelandic Textile Center, in Blönduós, Northwest Iceland. Texílsetur is housed in Kvennaskólinn, a former women's school, situated at the estuary of the Blanda River and Húnaflói Bay. It occupies the top two floors where there are private rooms and two large shared studios. I have a private room and studio and feel very fortunate to be making my work in such a special place, a transitional place, where the river meets the sea. I have long been fascinated by estuaries and brackish water, and given my most current work, In Between, which is about transition, being here at Texílsetur seems very, very appropriate. I'm also curious about the history of the school and like thinking about the years of women who lived and learned here, too.


I will be here for a month and will be creating a black version of "Island of 14,264 Days," something I've been wanting to do since I first made that piece in May, 2013. I came up with the idea then, to make a companion during the darkness of winter, the opposite of when I made the white version. I began working yesterday and will complete the piece by the end of the month. Other plans include walking and documenting my observations outside, but also studying the interior of this building and taking pictures of what I see inside. I also have a lot of reading to do.

the view from my room on my first day

Thanks for reading.