To flip is to flop
One pair of flip flops is all this artist needs. If I didn’t love the polar north so much, my toes would always be exposed in the only shoes in my closet. One pair, no choice, no problem.
Having choice is one thing, but having to choose is quite another. As much as I like to believe in the power of choice, I also recognize that I prefer fewer options, thus making the selection process quick and easy.
So, in a world where there are endless possibilities, why are we asked to pick a favorite, to choose one instead of the other?
I ask this because in the world of art specifically, I can’t choose, and quite frankly, I don’t want to. It’s the one area where I want to try everything (ok – maybe not realistic figure drawing!), and for once, the more options I have, the more my creativity can thrive.
2D+3D=5D. Now that is math I can get behind!
Wait…there is one more area where I long for a ‘sky’s the limit’ kind of choice: Travel!
No surprises there. When Chris asked where he could take me for my 50th birthday, the list of options, places high on my bucket list, was lengthy. In the end, the choice, Lofoten, Norway, wasn’t difficult because I still have so many amazing landscapes to discover. There is time and it will never be too late.
And these words perfectly describe how I feel about my creative journey. Yes, it appears my passion has led me to installation, filled with all kinds of delicious sculptural material to build, but the photographer in my DNA is itching to compose a still life of my creations. Not sure what the painter in me thinks about all this craziness, but she’s okay to fling some color around in the meantime. There is time.
Even with the wanderlust and countless corners of the globe to explore, I seem to choose Iceland again and again, just like those worn out Havaianas. This time (February 2019 to be exact), however, I decided to return to that enchanting island near the Arctic Circle to explore my love of the fifth dimension.
For my first artist residency, I proposed to dive deep into extracting organic dye from the land and sea of Þingeyri, Iceland in the Westfjords. With these colors from nature, I would experiment across mediums, and one might even accuse me of stepping into the craft side of the arts’ universe: Dyeing fabrics, installing the frozen liquid across the village and pouring it on paper to see how seaweed, lichen, cabbage and kale would soak into washi. Is she a cook or a seamstress? A forager or a printmaker? What is this artist crafting now?!?
Ten days in a remote fjord in the middle of winter was the perfect setting for limited choices. It was exactly the wildly windy silence I sought to focus exclusively on creative expansion. Choosing only four organic substances for extraction also felt comfortably restricted. My reward in the sparseness was a beautifully abundant color palette only Mother Nature could create.
From simplicity came the complexity I seek in my art practice, a choice I may never have made on my own.
Any doubt lingering in my mind about a need to choose just one discipline continues to dissipate. What my Icelandic residency gave me was not only a deeper understanding of organic dye, but a sharpened curiosity of how I might use it’s subtle beauty across varied platforms. Iceland also gave me some amazing artwork!
Letting it slide
One pair of snow boots is all it takes to keep this artist’s toes toasty in the Arctic chill. Four times over eight years, no change, all good.
In February, I also brought a pair of slides to Iceland, my winter version of flip flops. As we made our quick exit to beat the blizzard winds threatening to strand us another day in the Westfjords, I accidentally left my slides behind.
Note to self: I only need one pair of shoes wherever this journey takes me.
Kisses - Byrdie