The work on display reflected the pieces I'd made at Guesthouse 1x6 as well as a body of work I'd created in my home studio starting in January 2017 through March and brought with me when I was an artist in residence at 1x6 in March. It was such an honor to share my work with an audience in Iceland!
Our first stop was Esjan, which is the creation of Daniel and Linda, former owners of 1x6. Daniel's master woodworking is on display in each of the unique and artisan apartments at the base of Mount Esja. It is a deeply spiritual place and is absolutely stunning.
The main reason I wanted to go into the Westfjords was to see Samuel Jonsson's Art Farm in Arnarfjörður, which is located on the tip of the fjord in the remote Selárdalur, beyond Bíldudalur. Samuel Jonsson's story is a fascinating one - when the altarpiece he created for the local church was rejected, Samuel built himself a church and several concrete sculptures inspired by those found in Spain and Italy. He never left Iceland, and it's hard to believe that he created his work in solitude. After his death in the 60's, the farm fell into disrepair, but conservation efforts have been able to preserve these treasures. The road to the farm is again, a cliff-hugging, narrow, pot-holed, gravel road, and thankfully the rain held off until we could see the gate to the town of Bildudalur. We hung out at the Sea Monster Museum until the most intense rain had passed and learned about the sea monster sightings in the Westfjords.
In the morning, we made our way slowly, and with many stops for photographs, to Borgarnes, where we were destined to stay at a lovely homestay/coffeeshop/gift/floral shop for the night. Blomasetrid is a truly lovely place. Their waffles, drizzled with whipped cream, jam, and chocolate are quite decadent.
The following day we left for Reykjavik, and enjoyed all of our favorite places in my favorite city: the flea market down by the harbor, which is open during the weekends, Eymundsson bookstore, The Laundromat Cafe (where we drank good beer, coffee, and did our laundry), had a hot dog from Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (a requirement if you are going to be in Reykjavik), and enjoyed soup in a bread bowl for dinner at Svarta Kaffid. We stayed at the affordable and comfortable 101 Guesthouse for my husband's last night in Iceland. He flew out, my sister flew in from Portugal, and I unpacked my life at my second home: Guesthouse 1x6 where I got to spend a wonderful week with my good friends Andi and Yukiyo again.
That second week in Iceland, for me, offered a chance to unwind and create my artwork on the walls of 1x6. I took several of my photos, edited them, and had them made into transparencies by a local printshop in Reykjavik and burned my silkscreens using the sun's rays. One of the evenings that week, my sister and I attended a lovely dinner and cultural learning class at the Tin Can Factory, where we learned about and ate our way through the history of Iceland, and even got the chance to make Icelandic pancakes. It was an absolutely delightful evening to "meet the natives".
My sister left for the US, and I stayed behind to continue my work and to teach a workshop at Bokasafn Reykjanesbaer.
Each time I've taught a workshop, I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to meet beautiful people and share myself and my art with them. While we don't speak the same language, art IS the international language. Workshop participants made prints from my silkscreens and then turned their prints into their own unique works of art, which they then took with them.
The day after the workshop, it was time to leave, and I sadly said my byes (for now) to Andi and Yukiyo.
Andi and Yukiyo, I am so grateful for your kindness, patronage, and amazing friendship.
Now that I'm home, I've been listening to Asgeir's "Afterglow" and Moses Hightower's "Fjallaloft" while I make the new work in my studio, reflecting on my time in Iceland, eagerly awaiting the day I can return.