I always think of what is ahead, the new challenges and how to solve them. There is a constant urge for finding paths I have not walked before. I am lucky, I have everything I need to create where I live. I have great studios, and I have peace and time to concentrate. The only thing I do not get is the access to new skills. Of course, today we can learn so much from the web. There are thousands of great tutorials just waiting to be explored. But still, the human connection, the dialogue between colleagues, the challenge of creating in a completely new environment is adding another dimension. Oh, did I forget to mention FOCUS? Here in Bergen I am getting restless when the sun is shining. Just in case we do not see the sun for a while….I think I have to go out, get some vitamin D, some good exercise by gardening. I love gardening, and I love staying in my studio. The problem is; I have to choose. Days with sun on and off, just broken by showers are the worst.
By working in another setting I am reset. I have a given amount of time, and I will have to use it for everything it is worth. No delaying, no excuses. Just attack! Thinking of the last years it has been a perfect mix of working in my own studio, and working in foreign studios. New communities, but always this connections through our common interest in the visual language, not limited by geographical or cultural boarders.
For many years I could not work with printmaking because of reactions to solvents. From my first meeting with printmaking in the seventies so much has happened. The consciousness of environment, including ourselves, has opened totally new possibilities. Around the world printmakers have been doing research for securing work environment, which has lead to new, exciting knowledge. I wanted to be part of this wave, finding my way back to printmaking.
I applied for a residency at Zea May printmaking in Massachusetts (se former blog posts). Spending one month there in 2015 changed my approach, and I was ready to go back home to adjust my studio and my rutines. Thank you Liz Chalfin, thank you Joyce Silverstone and Lynn Peterfreund, and the whole community for meeting me with generosity, sharing your long achieved knowledge.
2016 would challenge my artwork in a new way. I was invited to take part in a workshop on landart in Iceland, with four German artists. This would be my first meeting with Iceland, and I spent approximately 10 sec. to make my decision. Of course I had to say yes to this generous invitation (see former posts). It was almost related to being in my garden. Totally different of course, but still, in my garden I challenge myself on size, structures, contrasts etc – everything connected to art. Thank you Margret Schopka and the rest of the group for the invitation, and for the artistic journey we had.
Now we have 2017, and February was spent at Art Print Residency in Barcelona. I only visit “green” studios, no more solvent fumes for me!!! I have written about this studio in former posts, so I will not go in detail, but I have to say, nothing has been so important as this residency. Learning new techniques, spending time in a studio where everything is based on a lifetime of experience, combined with an open and playful eye for new possibilities. Printing on a wonderful press, coming back to my studio was hard. Hard work! My press was heavy to run, and my body begged me to stop this. Enough! This was the crucial point of change. Today I work with my friend Ferdinand ThePress, produced by Torculos Ribes and every print I take is a joy. The studio is changing, little by little, as this is what I want to do the rest of my life. Believe me!!! Thank you Jordi Rosés Pou, Clàudia Lloret, and Ariadna Abadal, and thank you to the great artists I met there.
2018 is waiting around the corner. Printing means I work with plates, and I need surfaces to where I can transfer my print. There are many possibilities, but I prefer paper as my medium. Thick cotton papers, either machine made in Europe, or Khadi paper handmade in India, or the wonderful washi from Japan. Thin and delicate, but still pretty strong. All of them are perfect for different purposes.
On the top of my wish list I have had one specific residency for a long time. In 2018 it will happen. March will be spent in the Awagami Factory in Tokushima, Japan. Yessss! It is happening. I will approach this residency with an open mind. They have, in addition to the paper production, a great printmaking studio and a lab for digital work. If I only could be three persons at the same time…My main focus will be on the paper, creating works with colored paper pulp. Maybe they will be just that, or maybe I will apply some printing on them afterwards, or add bits and pieces of prints to the pulp. It is tempting to make plans, to be efficient, but as my knowledge with working with the pulp is limited, and the process of creating art is organic and alive, I will keep my mind as open as possible, enjoying every minute. That is my plan for 2018.