Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 4

Today was a relatively productive studio day. I made my mountain! Just a fairly quick test, as im used to moulding rather than modelling straight from clay. I think it translated my drawing quite nicely. 

Also had a plaster demo from Richard who seems like a bit of a plaster pro, excited to use a template on the whirler. After lunch Jess showed me the local second hand store... Complete with budgies in cages and run by an old couple, it's huge. Definitely somewhere I could get carried away, but I was very restrained and only bought a 78 for my gramophone at home, I have no idea what it is so that'll be a good surprise for when I get back. For dinner Roberta made the hugest (authentically italian) tirimasu I have ever seen and it was bloody delicious! Finished the day in the studio and with a chat with my friends Megan, Carly and Harry on skype.

 The Tirimasu!

Some more tests that went in the kiln today.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

3 days in

Its 3 days since I arrived in the small Harbour town of Skælskør in Denmark. I am settling in nicely.

My first day started with breakfast, then I headed out on a "research based" wonder before our introduction at 11am. I left without my phone or a map,
just a sketchbook which I made some bad, sketchy maps in as I walked aimlessly, but secretly trying to reach the harbour, which I did and was beautiful, with more of those characteristic yellow and terracotta houses on the other side of the water. I used yellow houses along with carlsberg house, dead fish and pile of acorns as landmarks on my maps. After admiring the harbour and soaking up some early morning sunshine I started heading back.

With about 10 minutes to spare before 11am I realised I was lost and asked an old man walking his dog. It took a while to establish that we could both speak English and that I wanted to get to "ah the ceramik workstatt?!" he told me he didn't know where it was but that he'd drop of his 'Hund' at his friends house where he was staying and then drive me in the car... I followed him round the street and got into his old red van which smelt like his 'hund' and took a few minutes to start. As soon as we got down the road I realised where we were and quickly directed him to Guldagergaard, dropping into the dinning room just in time for coffee, danish pastries and our meeting with Richard!

The rest of the day was spent with our introduction, tour of the studio, discussing our plans for our projects, another trip into the town where we explored the houses
on the otherside of the harbour and I gave myself such bad pins and needles drawing the melting ice on the water's surface I thought I was going to topple of the boardwalk into the frozen sea! Then another communal feast, some local beer (theres a brewery in the town) and a film.

Saturday was drizzly and grim and I spent the day thinking through ideas, got some clay and started some tests. I'm working with a red brick clay, inspired by the colours hear, to try something other than my usual porcelain and because its really cheap and most of the other clays are very expensive.

I've got in my head that I really want to make a ceramic mountain... think I may just have to make one to get it out of my head.

Denmark doesn't have any mountains.

Sunday began in the studio, making more test tiles.

After lunch I had planned to cycle to a nearby town to get the ferry to a small island to explore and maybe get in some cartography. Me and Jill set off on some of the slightly wobbly and flat tyred bikes towards the port. Turned out to be much further than the 10 minute cycle we'd been told and it was extremely windy, we realised it would be dark by the time we made it to the island and back and Jill was defeated by the wind and headed back. I carried on, past stretches of fields with the occasional house, stopping to photograph formations of ice in the ditches at the side of the road - frozen as abstract maps of flowing water, cracks and melted islands. After a slow 7km I cycled through a forest and to the sea, another beautiful sight, the ferry was just coming in. I sat in a tree and admired the view while eating my Danish pastry. I checked with 3 boat men when the ferry runs and picked up a schedule leaflet - my souvenir of the 14km wind beaten round trip!

Arriving in Denmark

Arrival in the plane to Denmark was exactly what I was hoping for... The view from the plane featured islands of ice in the sea, with lumps of snow floating around, curving rows of off shore wind mills and perfectly set out houses in neat rows.

Understanding the train timetable was a little harder than I hoped, but made it onto the right one in the end. Highlight of the journey was seeing two 7 year old Danish rude boys drinking cans of monster at the station. Snow and yellow houses with red roofs boxes have also been ticked!

I've now been here a grabs total of 7 hours, made it after a pretty uneventful bus journey, the bus was waiting for me as I got of the train and I still got off at the right stop despite drifting off.

I then trudge up the road round the corner and up the road again, dragging my suitcase behind me until I found Guldagergaard, the way shown by an official looking road sign. On arrival I peered in through the windows until I came across Paul one of the current assistants here, who showed me the house, which is huge, beautiful and very cosy then took me back to the studio where I met 'the boss'; Richard. Richard has suitably Scandinavian; arty thick rimmed round glasses which he wore on top of his head the whole time I was with him, and comb-backed silvery yellow hair.

After being shown my room, I took a seat at the large table in the kitchen and it was here I stayed for most if the rest if the night, i met Jessika and Miriam, the other 2 assistance and we sat and chatted while Jess and Paul prepared dinner (two people cook for everyone each night). Other people arrived in dribs and drabs throughout the evening, mostly entering with bemused faces through various doors into the house. Organisation us definitely not commonplace here and noone really new what was going on, but luckily Paul, Jess and Miriam were there to look after everyone.

I managed to stay up until the grand time of 9.30pm, by then 8 of us had arrived, with Helene the final project network-er getting here after my bedtime. There's 15 of us in the house in total; 3 guest artists, 3 assistants and 9 project networkers consisting of; 1 French, 1 Lithuainian, 1 Japanese, 2 Danes, 1 Israeli, 6 Brits, 2 Americans and 1 Finish.

Guldagergaard Danish Residency

So im heading to Denmark to do a residency at the ceramic research centre Guldagergaard. Very excited about going somewhere new, meeting people and having 6 weeks just dedicated to making work.

I've packed layers of thermals, got my sheepskin lined DMs, about 10 sketchbooks and 3 cameras and I'm ready to go...

I'll be making ceramic work looking at maps while im there - exploring how they offer a visualisation of space and show us connections and distances between places.