Oh yeah, did I mention the artist residency ??! The Gullkistan residency is located in Laugarvatn, a small school village some 90 km east of Reykjavík. It is in an agricultural area, close to some of the most popular touristic sites of Iceland and close to the
highlands. The village of Laugarvatn has 250 inhabitants.
A large part of my interest in a residency at Gullkistan is to collect sounds from various bodies of water around Laugarvatn as well as Jökulsárlón.
I need to seriously study Icelandic! Part of the residency will involve a small exhibit of work created during my stay plus, I intend to ship certain pieces ahead that I feel resonate with the work ahead of me.
Thinking too that I might build a garbage-can kiln the first week of the residency so bisque work, Obvara and dried kelp and moss firings can take place! Speaking of Obvara… I have a batch that’s been sitting for the past 2 days- growing into what I am sure is a super sour dough! :) Tomorrow I plan to fire up a piece I sculpted some time ago to Bisque and dunk away! I will post images of what happens. Maybe I will document the entire ordeal.
Meanwhile, here’s a pic from my last Iceland adventure. Troll mouth. Somewhere along the western shores.
Clay. The concept of incorporating glass+clay gets me so dang excited!
I’ve added inclusions to glass in the past; copper wire, fine silver crocheted into balls, self primer, high temp wire, but NOW my mind is swirling with possibilities!
OK so, there are things I can’t do at home and things I can’t do at the studio (outdoors is necessary) and things I can do at home and things I can do at the studio! Raku firing the clay- I have to build a garbage-can kiln (!!!) and use this outside. Backyard, you now serve a purpose! I have a kiln (many actually) that will work for firing ceramics. One is my Paragon Caldera that I’ve used to pull murrine! This I can use for small to medium scale sculptures at the studio. The garbage-can kiln at home will be used for medium to large scale and I will then have another can full of combustibles for oxidizing the bisque! OMG so, excited. At the studio, while even with my hardcore ventilation, I still won’t be able to work with combustibles inside so, hello Obvara!! For the past three days I have been doing nothing more than reading up on Obvara firing (ok I’ve been doing other things like, showering, brushing my teeth, eating, playing with the cats, sketching and watching Peaky Blinders…)
Obvara firing apparently dates back to 12th century, Eastern Europe. Similar to Raku, bisqued work is brought up to 1650˚F removed from the kiln and dipped in a fermented liquid (sour)dough then dunked into water to cool the piece. The effect is STUNNING! Nothing less than amazing. Patterns range from lichen-like growth patterns, bands, stripes, all highly organic and entirely random!! People are mixing up batches of Obvara using yeast, flour, water and sugar. Other artists use honey and milk rather than water and sugar.
There are some Obvara ceramicists that don’t like using sugar as they feel it blackens the work too much however, honey/ sugar is necessary for the fermentation process- the yeast wants/needs it! What I find fascinating is the use of ‘food’ as a means towards creating work/texture.
Mud (Earth), Fire, Water and Air all combined in the process yielding gorgeous work. In the recipe (left) are links to Obvara fired work by Jane Jermyn and Marcia Selsor. There’s also a Facebook group on Obvara!
I’m considering trying the water and milk recipes then mixing up batches of my own devise ;) Kefir starters, cabbage(kraut) starters, maybe even Kombucha would work? I will post the experimental outcomes here.
Ultimately the bisques will be added to glass castings. While I won’t be water shocking my glass work I will be adding oxidation through combustible firings. Painting the glass old interiors with naturally coloured slip to add clay directly to the glass, in some cases.
OK. Now I am off to make up a batch of Obvara, which needs to sit for 3 days to start fermenting :D
Meanwhile, look at this boiling mud..
For the past few days I have been pouring slip. Slip casting, if you are not familiar (simplified) involves a thinned clay body worked into moulds in order to create hollow forms. These forms are later fired in a kiln (wood fired, electric fired or gas fired). The pieces I am working on will be electric kiln fired to Bisque. I am creating rough parts of Myself. The concept is to place myself within my work on a figurative level. Perhaps even bring these ‘selves‘ (or incarnations of self (there is an elf in self)) with me to various locations that hold profound meaning and quite literally leave a part or a piece of myself there. These clay forms are mixed with glass and cast within as well as act as a mould to hold the glass.
Building small ‘smoke ovens’ (or pit oven) in my backyard- the bisque work will be oxidized and patinated. I have no idea if these smoke firings will effect the glass but, am excited to find out! I am seriously hoping to build a small smoke/pit oven in Iceland and work with dried kelp, lichen and moss (found on the beaches), even sheep or Iceland horse patties – to see how these influence the clay! OMGods! Just writing that made me think about Mývatn and the mud there.. full of sulphur. Maybe I can use some of this volcanic blue mud, and red earth as a paintable slip?!
So, of course that’s not all! :) The body of work, The Air WE breathe involves sound sculptures/field recordings. Andrei and I have been building up our sound library. While Andrei primarily works on the synthesized portion I am collecting Field Recordings. I am travelling back to Iceland in 2015 with my audio recording device, wind socks, monitors and hydrophone! When I visited Jökulsárlón with Laura we felt the the lagoon. There was definitely something other than ice in that water… Prometheus aside ;) it was like an eighth sense.. primordial. Visceral. Slightly eery. Later, on the other side of the lagoon I heard a strange, sad melancholic (seal?) calling out over the lagoon. Naturally my phone didn’t work fast enough and I missed recording it. I have incredibly high hopes to locate that sound (that spirit?) again, upon my return.
While writing this I’ve been listening to Nature sound of NZ (on repeat):
Thanks for stopping by!
Traveling without moving. The lush, mystical field recordings take me to distant lands. Lately I’ve been hanging in Indonesia, Borneo, Fiji… I find the bird and insect sounds otherworldly and a HUGE inspiration towards my current work!
World Sound Map is a collaborative project founded by a group of professional nature recordists. The map combines satellite imagery with high-quality field recordings. Bringing together some of Nature’s most beautiful, interesting and inspiring sounds found on Earth.
World Sound Map also accepts submissions! They currently site
If you are interested in submitting a recording to the project, please visit their ‘Submissions’ page for guidelines.
October’s Blog-o-sphere Think Tank’s topic: “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?”
If you plan on reading this through please (!), listen to spacEKraft while doing so
I love Fall, and Winter and the beginning of Spring and Summer then, that’s it. Summer in Toronto is too humid for me.
But Fall? Sigh. Nothing I love more (than Pnut) are long bike rides through the city, through parks and down the Rail Path.
The trees are on fire with colour! While I occasionally miss the golden coin-like leaves of Aspen trees in the Southwest- nothing beats Canadian maples for fiery flaming orange and reds!
Picnics are still an option with warm blankets laid out, and we (Andrei and I) bring our sleeping bags! It’s lovely. The air is crisp and fresh. Halloween is near and if you’ve experienced Halloween then, ya know what I’m talking about! Plus it’s perfect weather for roasting marshmallows!!
and drinking hot cocoa. The cocoa shown is my own mash-up of Kakawa’s Mayan Full Spice (found here) some yumminess I brought back with me from my trip to Santa Fe in July. Mixed with SOMA chocolate‘s Malt dark chocolate elixir, and organic cocoa powder. YUM.
SOUPS! I love making soup during the Fall into Winter. Roasting parsnips and beets, cauliflower, brussels sprouts. The harvest.
A little sleepy, sometimes the skies darken early from rain. Winter is a magical time for me. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and never really knew snow (unless Mount Tam received a light dusting) until my twenties when I moved to Taos, New Mexico. Anyways, my experience with snow came from Moominland Midwinter and a highly active imagination! :)
Well, I will leave you with that for now :)
I’m off to make sugar skulls!! ;)
Please check in with my fellow Think Tank Bloggers and see what seasonal shifts they like (or dislike).
Cheers! and Happy Fall!!
Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com
Kathleen Krucoff: http://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/
Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com
Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog
I SO badly want to add audio to these beauties. Meanwhile, thought I would post because I love the greens! Don’t you?
Maybe watch these beautiful videos, subscribe to Microscopic World and listen to this (see below) while doing so. :)
Early Monday morning I awoke to anxiety. Dream after dream of volcanic eruptions and the possibility of THE super volcano going off, kept me up most of the night.
Over the weekend I started constructing a time capsule. I’m not someone who generally suffers from anxiety or fears of the unknown and death but, I am concerned.
Since 2010 I’ve been tracking earthquakes and volcanic activity towards a future body of work also, out of pure curiosity.
Was Eyjafjallajökull the beginning or the Chilean earthquake? All I know is when volcanic activity starts in Iceland expect earthquakes to circle the globe (similar to snapping a blanking out). Which, btw has been knocked off its axis several times since those fateful days in 2010 – how does this effect our environment? Well, here’s what kept ME up last night!!
Ok so, the Haitian earthquake in January, Chilean earthquake in February (there’s an extensive list of high octane earthquakes here) then, Eyjafjallajökull from March-June. Circle around the globe some months later into the new year of 2011 and you have the catastrophe in Japan
Now it’s 2014. Certainly there’s been plenty of activity here and there around the planet since. To date the planet has been shaking and with Bárðarbunga going nuts over the summer well… Volcanoes have been erupting all over the place but, it seems most people don’t pay attention or even know what’s going on in other parts of the world. For instance, speaking to my mother the other day, in California. She didn’t even have a clue about what’s been going down in Iceland for the past months now!! What?! Anyways, volcanoes are massively erupting around us. Yesterday, September 28th Japan was surprised when Ontake blew up. As I write this people are still missing, and more found dead. :(
Today there’s a critical alert for Cleveland volcano in Alaska. The signs aren’t great fellow Earthlings. The Earth, it seems, is terraforming and current life forms don’t seem to be part of the equation. Sorry for the buzz kill.
(Taken from USGS website): Volcanic eruptions are one of Earth’s most dramatic and violent agents of change. Not only can powerful explosive eruptions drastically alter land and water for tens of kilometers around a volcano, but tiny liquid droplets of sulfuric acid erupted into the stratosphere can change our planet’s climate temporarily. Temporarily? That all depends on how many eruptions are taking place around the planet, at the same time!!! In short, if this ‘volcano season‘ continues plan for the oceans to heat up. When the oceans heat up life dies, and it is very possible the planet is gearing up for another anoxic event. Google that shit.
Volcanic Gases and Their Effects:
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)Sulfur dioxide gas reacts chemically with sunlight, oxygen, dust particles, and water to form volcanic smog known as vog. Research has also shown that the liquid drops of sulfuric acid promote the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S):Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong offensive odor. It is sometimes referred to as sewer gas. At low concentrations it can irritate the eyes and acts as a depressant; at high concentrations it can cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and, during long exposure, pulmonary edema. A 30-minute exposure to 500 ppm results in headache, dizziness, excitement, staggering gait, and diarrhea, followed sometimes by bronchitis or bronchopneumonia.
Carbon dioxide (CO2):Volcanoes release more than 130 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. This colorless, odorless gas usually does not pose a direct hazard to life because it typically becomes diluted to low concentrations very quickly whether it is released continuously from the ground or during episodic eruptions. But in certain circumstances, CO2 may become concentrated at levels lethal to people and animals. Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air and the gas can flow into in low-lying areas; breathing air with more than 30% CO2 can quickly induce unconsciousness and cause death. In volcanic or other areas where CO2 emissions occur, it is important to avoid small depressions and low areas that might be CO2 traps. The boundary between air and lethal gas can be extremely sharp; even a single step upslope may be adequate to escape death.
Hydrogen Chloride (HCl):Chlorine gas is emitted from volcanoes in the form of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Exposure to the gas irritates mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory tract. Concentrations over 35 ppm cause irritation of the throat after short exposure; >100 ppm results in pulmonary edema, and often laryngeal spasm. It also causes acid rain downwind from volcanoes because HCl is extremely soluble in condensing water droplets and it is a very “strong acid” (it dissociates extensively to give H+ ions in the droplets).
Hydrogen Fluoride (HF):Fluorine is a pale yellow gas that attaches to fine ash particles, coats grass, and pollutes streams and lakes. Exposure to this powerful caustic irritant can cause conjunctivitis, skin irritation, bone degeneration and mottling of teeth. Excess fluorine results in a significant cause of death and injury in livestock during ash eruptions. Even in areas that receive just a millimeter of ash, poisoning can occur where the fluorine content of dried grass exceeds 250 ppm. Animals that eat grass coated with fluorine-tainted ash are poisoned. Small amounts of fluorine can be beneficial, but excess fluorine causes fluorosis, an affliction that eventually kills animals by destroying their bones. It also promotes acid rain effects downwind of volcanoes, like HCl.
What’s my point? What’s my concern and why am I putting together a time capsule?!
Volcanic eruptions in Siberia 251 million years ago may have started a cascade of events leading to high hydrogen sulfide levels in the oceans and atmosphere and precipitating the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history,
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