Winter in Iceland

restingmountain-blogWe’ve been here two weeks so far, our second journey into Iceland.  Only two weeks left and it doesn’t feel like enough.  A week of museums and swimming and soaking and meeting people in Reykjavik, and now a week in a long blizzard in Siglufjordur.  Anxious to get outside I made some photographs with some wings that have been in process for quite sometime.  Seagull feathers collected in 1999 in Seattle and dyed and made into a sculpture…the sculpture existed for awhile and then I decided to take it apart…and carry it to Iceland…logical.  Working on some things during the storm, we’ll see what happens as we move on tomorrow.  The blizzard felt like I was in a fog loosing my direction here…but I did need to work on things.  I just feel a little wilted if I can’t get outside everyday here and walk around.  One evening I when out in the blowing snow and made a snow dome or caldron as we called it.  We filled it with fire the next night and filmed it.  I don’t know what it’s for or why, but that’s what I do here…I just follow a long with impulses, use whatever I can find.

I want transformation…

Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible? Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly there’s nothing left outside us to see? What, if not transformation, is your deepest purpose? (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Stones and poppies

Stones and poppies

My heart open cracks….Pain, I guess, is what it takes to find a new way.  No wonder so many of us choose to turn to stone.

I am still stuck in a deep hole, but my work, even if playing with the petals from today’s flowers and tomorrow’s stones, and bits and pieces around the studio, and the backyard’s sun, it is still the way I build the ladder out of the hole.  Even if I cannot see the light at the top.  My persistence, even if blind….I cannot stop it.  And it will get me somewhere, some location I don’t yet see.  These petals, from Paul’s poppies, will rot, but today I saw every surface and treated them with care.  This light was mine, and something was completed.

Guest Artist Julia Harrison: mini-residency, artist talk, demo and show-and-tell, 8/29 11-2:30pm, 5-6:30pm

August 29th, Monday, Guest Artist Event, 11 am – 2pm; Mini-residency with Wood Sculptor/Jeweler and sweets enthusiast Julia Harrison, sharing with me some techniques to carve wood shoes!  Then at 5 – 6:30pm;  Julia does a show and tell of works-in-process,  images and conversation…and special treats!

When I began working with the idea of ‘A Stone Woman’ in mind for inspiration…a jumping off point, my mind went to Julia Harrison‘s incredibly detailed life-like carvings of elements of women’s bodies (and an assortment of other recurring forms that seem to have a connecting thread, a Julia-logic of sensuality).  She seems to do the opposite of my heroine in the A.S. Byatt story, rather than flesh turning into natural materials, Julia seemingly reveals flesh below the surfaces of wood…revealing a wood woman.

She is an insightful wit, eager to push her work into unknown territory through research, travel and writing, and share what she knows through teaching.  She also delves into our complex relationship to ingesting beautiful things, and has researched into the history of the Kashigata, a Japanese sugar mold, as well as writing about her own obsession with unusual treats.  Hearing Julia talk about how she strings all of this together (carefully and with great attention and skill…like her carved wood chain) should be fascinating!

Please stop by and visit , or join us for conversation, show-and-tell and treats!

Guest Artist Event, this Sat. 8/6 – Cameron Anne Mason does “low tech” dyeing demo, 11am – 3pm

Shibori - stitching before dyeing...

Shibori - stitching before dyeing...

I’m so excited, a messy, hands-dirty guest artist event will bubble over in The Project Room this Saturday with dyeing genius Cameron Anne Mason. Life seems just as messy and bubbling over with intense and sometimes difficult emotions, the chaos and uncontrollable forces of water, dye and hands creating the unexpected into pattern is a welcome reminder that things out of our control are not always to be feared!

I first met Cameron while I was working on Mater Matrix Mother and Medium in 2009, sitting in the middle of Greenwood Ave, during a street fair.  She came up to me with a little bag of blue scraps and a lot of encouragement for that brand new community project that had me a little overwhelmed.  From time to time, she has given me her fabric scraps, the edges of larger dyed panels she has made to create her sculptures.  Perhaps because they were tiny and so deeply varied with layers of what looked like splashes of volcanic lava, they were precious to me…I crocheted them into installations in places that I would remember.

While I have dyed fabric before, I have never explored the possibilities of creating patterns.  And with Solstenen, with no material budget at all, taking all the old white fabric I have and turning it into something intensely layered is very appealing, especially with my sense of a volcanic fluidity I get from Cameron’s patterns, and my fascination with the volcanic activity just below the surface of Iceland….I somehow make a connection.   I want to know how she does this stuff.  So she has generously given me a Saturday to watch her do some of these techniques, which happen to have a very “low tech”, jury-rigged, use-what-you-have approach (which I love!), and YOU and anyone who would like to watch her with me are invited to come!  Please join us this Saturday August 6th, 2011, from 11am – 3pm.  All the materials will be here, just come with your curiosity!

“Fiber Dyeing Demo: Low Tech Methods for Low Water Immersion Dyeing

Cameron Anne Mason will work in The Project Room with Mandy Greer to show methods to use fiber-reactive dyes to create color and texture on fabric. These simple techniques are easy enough to use in the home studio but are endlessly variable. Basic dye chemistry and shibori techniques including binding, pleating, and wrapping will be covered.”

Cameron will also be back to talk about her work and process…..

“August 11th, Thursday, Solstenen Guest Artist Event and Community Crochet, 5 – 8pm; drop in during Blitz Capital Hill Arts Walk for crocheting, and at 6pm join artist Cameron Anne Mason for a follow-up talk after her demo on the how and why she creates pattern in fabric