Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Big, Part 3

Island of 14,264 Days

My time in Iceland was huge and I am now, four months after leaving, beginning to realize just how huge. Those 70 days serve as a turning point for me composed of many singular moments bearing weight and lightness simultaneously. I started processing my trip in September when I finally had some space to think. Thoughts started coming to me in a sort-of rush and it was difficult to get words out of my mouth because they were in a jumble in my mind. Since then I have told a few people who are dear to me and through these conversations my thoughts have become clearer.

I will begin by saying a big shift for my work is stirring in me, a shift away from jewelry toward something else, possibly sculpture and installation. Iceland and my "Island" showed me I am capable of expressing myself successfully in techniques and materials outside of jewelry. They also showed me I am interested in expressing myself in other ways, too. I see now, first and foremost, that I am an artist, a title I have been uncomfortable with until recently. My "Island" is the best piece I have ever made and it's fascinating to me that it's non-functional and not jewelry. I think this is telling and I am trying to pay attention.  

I also realized in Iceland that my main goal as an artist is to communicate and connect. I wish to make things that reach a wider audience and are perhaps made in collaboration with people I care about and admire. I do not want to be limited by materials, technique, or scale.

a dreamlike first view out my bus window as I left for  
Skagaströnd and the Nes Artist Residency
I'm not sure of much else right now simply because it's all so fresh and I want to add that I'm not giving up jewelry entirely. I can say I want to take some time off to explore this shift, give it room to develop and make itself apparent to me. I want to go back to Iceland to do this and I am working on ways to get myself there in the spring. I might do another residency or I might just live in Reykjavík, creating a self-structured residency in an apartment. Either way I will take time to read, research, think, and write about my work and allow this shift, whatever it may be, to happen. 

My friend, Rebeca Mendez, took this picture the day I left Nes. 
The lava fields are perhaps my most-treasured place in Iceland.

And Iceland feels like the perfect place to explore this. I have never felt more at home anywhere and it felt like I was coming home when I stepped off the plane. I was incredibly excited but also sensed tremendous calm. I love Iceland and I miss it every single day. The vast landscape gives my mind and spirit space and is so beautiful and so unusual that it's still near impossible for me to describe. It is a work of opposites, too, something that resonates with me intimately, and I find myself increasingly drawn to it with each passing day. I feel kindred with it and I am absolutely compelled to go back.

Ache, an installation made before I went to Iceland

After my show opens in Sweden I will go to Iceland and live there until July.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Love your project as an artist. post pics pls. j.

Anonymous said...

The shift was inevitable. It was obvious in many of your recent works and more sculptural pieces. Follow your instincts :-)

Amy Tavern said...

Thank you so's really cool to hear that my audience sees the shift, that you felt it was "inevitable." So interesting to me. Thank you!

Joshua said...

Hey Amy,
This is Joshua Kuensting from Penland time. Just started reading your notes... Sound like you are doing a pretty big cosmic sort out. Good luck! I believe you will get to where you need to be and do great things.

Nicole Markoff said...

Yes, Amy yes! I think of all the changes that must have happened for you since the day we hiked past the lady's slipper on the fire trail in North Carolina. I wish you the utmost best, and am keen to reconnect in person out there, or close by. Best to you and keep on, Nicole

Anonymous said...

You have definitely made Iceland part of my bucket list. You've had such amazing adventures!

Amy Tavern said...

And to all of you how lest more comments, Josh, Nicole, Mountainista...thank you. I'm speechless. Your words mean SO MUCH to me. Just amazing. Thank you!

Diego Richardson said...

Simply brave.

john said...


Anonymous said...

I could feel this coming given the emotion-laden posts re:Iceland. I think it's terrific that you identify so heavily with this dramatic landscape and it will clearly cradle you in discovery. good luck, Amy…. - BC

Michele T said...

So proud, so excited for you. The new jewelry pieces you posted are void of curves and circles (how I best know most of your work, anyway) -- and even before I read this blog post I had thought those new pieces reminded me so much of the many simple yet complex photos you had taken of moments, blips, cracks, rust, humble, lush, full and big, breathing Iceland. Although we have not met in person (well, we have, I think, but in passing ... the eve of open studio night at Penland, summer 2010) but what I remember the most were the very curious, mundane objects you were making important (gawd I pray this person was you)... almost like everything on the wall and table of 'wearable objects' were hung and strung with "question mark push pins" just as much as they were hung with a conviction that they were right. The road was becoming clear. And now seeing angular, cold metal brooches (absolutely beautiful, BTW) juxtaposed with the soft, light, meditative fiber piece you made in Iceland all makes sense. Yes, you are an ARTIST FIRST. Your contemplation is so admirable, Amy! Your intuition is giving you permission and especially wings. I, too, feel the shift in you was meant to be. Follow it with your gift of curiosity and tenacity, Amy! I will be so interested to keep up with your Icelandic adventures. All the best, Michele T.

Amy Tavern said...

Michele…such an amazing comment. Thank you. Every word is special to me. I am humbled and moved….And it was me!

How are you, btw?

Anonymous said...

I have wanted to go to Iceland for many many years, but have never been able to afford. I don't know why I first wanted to go there, but I think you found the why. I hope to take a class from you before you go back. I love the idea that a place called Ice, is full of fire.

Roxy Lentz