Making art is the process of leaving something behind, to search for new knowledge, other ways of seeing, and challenges offering insecurity. Or frustration. Patterns of behavior are broken, and you find yourself in a limbo. Or at least that is how it works for me. And it works. One week at Awagami is worth a month at home, if I can count it at all. Actually, one month there is like a lifetime on it´s own. Three years in a row, and the pattern is broken. From 2018 I have spent March at Awagami, and the time in between has been kind of preparing for the go. A cyclus of creating, spending my time in Bergen alternating between my outdoor studio, my garden – and my printmaking studio. Sometimes like a natural flow, but also having a hard time choosing my arena. My garden has been a source of energy for years. The physical training, and the meditative flow at the same time, filling me up with gratefulness and joy. Reminding me of the simple rules of life, – the cycle of life and death. This is the backdrop for my artworks. My outdoor studio placed under roof in the garden is sheltered by the forest, overviewing the ever changing natural amfi with the lake. It is so perfect, and I spend almost all my time there. Living in a society I have to adopt to a certain behaviour – like socielizing 🙂 And I love that too. In short, I love life.
And some times I leave it all behind. In 2013 I promised myself to challenge my routines and search for new knowledge every year, and I have done that – even in 2020. So how about 2021? I have a few plans, but it is still too early for conclusions.
Right now it is time for a retrospective, so please join me in my summary of the years 2013 – 2020.
2013; the year of decision! Each year a new challenge, and I headed for Andalucia in Spain!
Because of the new non-toxic approach, I had taken up printmaking again. The solvents I had been using over years had been harmful, and there was a lot to learn. The Danish artist Henrik Bøegh had started Grafisk Experimentarium in Copenhagen and written a book about non-toxic printmaking. In the Andalucian mountains he has a house, from where he is teaching photopolymer plus other non-toxic approaches to printmaking. The place is spectacular!!
Samples of photopolymer prints from the week working in Henriks studio. For the colours I used washi/Japanese paper with watercolour.
LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS
2014; Leiden in The Netherlands: A workshop introducing the “simle” technique of “direct to plate photopolymer” by american Don Messec was announced in September 2014. Other plans were canelled, and I headed for the beautiful city Leiden. The course was meant to take us through the process, from making our matrix in the computer, to the finished print. Our plates would “simply” be printed, before exposure. Well, in art there are always surprices. Sometimes they lead us in new, exciting directions, while some surprices means we hit the wall. The participants came from Australia, Venezuela, Ireland, USA/Spain, Belgium, Sweeden, Norway, and of course The Netherlands. All eager to catch up with this new possibility thaught by expert Don Messec. We worked hard, and problem solving was high on the agenda, but time passed quickly. Finally, one of us could show a good result. I still have not been catching up with photopolymer.
ZEA MAY – NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA
2015: Zea May printmaking studio in Northampton, Massachusetts. What a treat! I stumbled upon Zea May on the web, and immediately decided to go. Still in the early stages of retraining myself, turning my back to the old toxic stuff, Zea May seemed to be the answer. Leaded by the owner Liz Chalfin they were in the front line of the non-toxic printmaking research, and I did not want to waste more time and money trying out materials not working. I had tried many different inks. Some dried on the roller, others did not give the right punch. See my blog posts from the stay for details. After one month in the studio, connecting with the community and the great artists Lynn Peterfreund and Joyce Silverstone I felt enriched and ready for bringing my new knowledge into future work.
Picture: top row: together with Liz Chalfin, founding director and Sheldon Carroll, responsible for the facilities. Visiting Lynn Peterfreund in her studio. Mid row: Joyce Silverstone is teaching several techniques at Zea May. Preparing for presenting one months work, and having the community visit for the show. Lower row: a medley of monoprints I made during the residency, and on the return to my own studio in Bergen.
2016: working with landart in Iceland: Invited by German artist Margret Schopka I packed my backpack and joined a group of four German artists to work in the dramatic landscape of Iceland. My very first time in the fairytale country. All senses were sharpened as we explored nature, and gave our response to the magic. It was a life lasting experience and challenge in all ways. Thank you to the wonderful artists Margret Schopka, Heide Schimke, Maresa Jung and Irene Eigenbrodt
ART-PRINT-RESIDENCE, CATALONIA, SPAIN
2017: Art-Print Residency, Barcelona: Family run printmaking studio attracting artists worldwide. Not to diminution of Clàudia Lloret, consultant Art Director and Master Printer, and Ariadna Abadal, Studio and Residence Manager , but I like to call it Jordi´s Cave after Jordi Rosés, Director and Master Platemaker. This is a studio revealing it´s potential day by day. By first glance it may look pretty narrow and packed, but that is so far from the truth. As you start working there, you discover that this place has everything you need, in the right place. It is all organized to support the process, and continously kept in a perfect state. Simply a printmakers dream. In addition to learning mokulito and working with caborundum, I brought back so much inspiration for organizing my own studio. Also, I found that I needed a new press ASAP, and ordered my dear Ferdinand from Tórcolus Ribes , also Barcelona. Never regretted that!
Pictures from “Jordi´s cave”. In the middle the powerful and never resting artist Aubrey Roemer, working on a series connected to the refugees stuck in camps. Beneath: Ariadna Abadal lifting one of my carborundum prints. Left: wooden plate lithography / mokulito.
AWAGAMI FACTORY, SHIKOKU, JAPAN
2018 – 2019 –2020 : And then AWAGAMI FACTORY “happened”. I broke the line of continously searching the world for new challenges. At Awagami I found it all, and for the next three years Japan took over my mind and my heart. You find many blog posts from Awagami, and I will soon finish writing about my latest stay, from March 2020 – and also catch up with the stay in 2019. Actually, I have been so busy working and planning, planning and working, there has not been much focus on writing. There is a time for everything. Stay tune.