My First week at Herhús

I arrived in a snow covered Siglufjördur one week ago today. Driving in was a beautiful scene of snow and sea. Not exactly sure where the house was we stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some provisions and asked the clerk, he told us the street was 3 blocks away. The house is set back from the street a little bit but I recognized it at once. The front door opens onto a huge bright white art studio. It is 3-4 times larger than mine at home. There are 4 windows which let in a lot of light but the ceiling lights are also very bright and powerful. There are two big work tables, a desk, sink and a nice sitting/reading area. To the left are the stairs that are more like a ladder to the top floor living area. It’s about a quarter of the art size of the studio with a queen bed, wardrobe, and small kitchen area with a little table for two.

The whole place is really quite wonderful and I got settled in and ready for business pretty quickly. I set up my two work tables, one for photo weaving and one for encaustic as well as a little “office” area. I did have some problems with the power conversion and burnt out one of the adapters. Seems my encaustic tools, heat gun and hot plate draw a lot of power and the dinky converters I brought wouldnt work. I was very fortunate because Gundy one of the Herhús team members did a lot of work to help me find what I needed. She loaned me a hot plate and called around to several different towns to find me a heat gun. She was also able to find a man one town over who use to live in America and had a power converter to loan me. The people here are all so kind and helpful; they really go out of their way to help you.

I got right to work creating some warm up pieces just to get my mind and hands in the art making routine. I try to get out and go exploring while the sun is out especially if it is good weather and then work in the studio at night.

Friday we ventured out to see the Northern Lights, leaving the house about 11:30pm and driving out of the town to an area with no lights except the moon. The night was cloudy but we were able to see some of the green streaks coming thought the clouds. It was freezing cold out but I was out there with my camera on a tripod and 30-45 second exposures. It was an amazing experience. We were right next to the ocean, so the waves were crashing and the sky was sparkling. Even saw a shooting star flying across the lights.

I’m not having any problems with my motivation or creativity like I did in Costa Rica. I have more direction and focus for this residency. I also have several projects just in case one isn’t grabbing my attention. The one thing that is hard to get use to is the time difference from home. All my friends and family are in bed when I am awake. I go online (yes I am allowed to do that) and nobody is there. I miss you guys.

The Herhús team came by the studio last night. I shared what I was working on and discussed my processes and projects. It was a very nice visit; I always enjoy sharing my passion with those who are interested.

Today I made a time lapse video of me creating one of my woven photos, I have to do a small amount of editing and then I will post it.

I know there is a lot more to write about and share, I just hate for these posts to get to long and loose you. Also, I will also be posting a bunch of photos soon, it has only been two weeks and I have taken over 650!

Some quick observations:

It’s difficult to get up when it’s so dark outside

There is a school across the street and sometimes I use the recess bell as my alarm. Shhh it’s only 9:20 and I stay up late.

There are some crazy tunnels here that go right through the mountains. A couple of them are only one lane and they are dark and kind of scary.

It’s impossible to describe what a heat gun is to someone who doesn’t speak English. Searched the whole store to find it and it was sitting next to the front check out counter.

You really do get use to the cold after a while.

You can’t figure out what the traffic signs mean by the pictures on them.

All the toilets flush with a button.

The hot water smells like sulfur.

This place is wonderful, there’s magic flowing through Iceland ;)