Sketches From Holland
I flew to Renkum Holland for a 2 month artist residency on April 1st 2012. My life for the previous years before that had been moving all around me, sometimes right over top of me and I was ready to be the one in control of it. I wanted to physically take myself out of my comfort zone and fly to another country. I wanted to leap, jump, glide, summersault, dance, turn, and twist on my own terms. I wanted to look and watch things move and fly - like wheels and wings. I wanted to see things change slowly like metal rusting.....I wanted to see things move gently like a feather falling. I wanted to capture this idea of change, transformation, leaping, and flying in the work I would be making in Holland.
I took with me only hand tools, rolls of wire, fabric, and photographs of birds, wings, and flying sculptures. I had a small butane torch to use there, but no other tools. I started twisting wire and making wheels, wings, and rolling hills. I started wrapping wire around my finger and making these little tornados that spoke to me.
Then I started doubting what I was doing........wondering if I "should" be trying to create a new sellable wearable line while I was there. Or "should" I have a plan for the pieces I was making once I returned home. I received an email from a friend back home and she said, "think about the pieces you are making as sketches". I liked this idea. I was being exposed to so many new things while I was there. I saw quite a bit of Holland, I visited Prague, Berlin, and Brussels. I was constantly taking photos and feeling my heart leap out of my body with excitement for all of the beautiful inspiration my eyes were taking in.
Early on in my time there I saw that there was a lovely white stack of small sheets of paper left behind by another artist. I started each of my days off by drinking coffee at my work bench which faced a big window, and sketching just one part of what I saw out of the window. When I arrived in April it was wet and grey and the garden outside my window was dull and almost bare. I would quickly sketch a tree branch or a leaf and then hang that sketch on my inspiration board beside my work table.
In early May half way through my time there I realized that the garden outside of my window was taking flight, transforming and changing all around me. The very idea that I was exploring was happening in vivid colour right outside my work bench. Things were moving, changing, leaping, and dancing and I had been sketching them and capturing the changes each day. I took some of my sketches off of my inspiration board and I started stitching wire tornados and wings onto them. By watching and sketching that garden I started to understand how dynamic life is. My life will always be changing and I can't stop that. The sweet moments will always be fleeting and the challenging moments will always come again......but the sweet moments will come back in another capacity. My residency experience was filled with a thousand sweet moments which will always be inside of me and some of those really sweet moments have been able to surface through my work since being back.
These pictures are of the body of work I created while I was there. They are my "sketches". I've also included some photos of what my eyes were soaking in while I was there. There are photos of my garden, of Holland, Prague, Berlin, and Brussels. At the end there are pictures of my No Mud No Lotus Necklace and Quite Contrary Brooches and Earrings, which I have created since being back that were inspired by the sketches of ideas I gathered while I was there. These ideas are still taking fruition in new work and likely will be for quite some time. The last 7 photos are from the Selfie Project, which I joined in January to give me the kickstart I needed to finally feel ready to document this body of work. xo pkk