Fire and ice
I’m late writing my August blog as it’s already well into September; no weaving has taken place throughout the past month – but August has been filled with foreign travel and holidays. For now, my head is full of summer heatwaves and dramatic Icelandic landscapes. Words aren’t coming easily so I’m going to let the images do most of the speaking…
The gardens and countryside in the UK were tinder dry, the flowers struggling to cope and many already gone to seed. The sultry skies cast a heavy tint to my photographs, and the orange of the dahlias at Clumber Park zinged against their dark foliage.
By contrast, Iceland offered a welcome relief from the heat: with the daytime temperatures hovering around 12 degrees, coats and hats were the order of the day. Having visited Iceland in 2016, I’ve been longing to return and finally was able to realise this this year. Together with my family, we retraced some of our steps out of Reykjavik towards Gullfoss waterfall, passing by the Great Geyser at Strokkur on the way. After visiting Pingvellir and the intercontinental rift at Silfra, we headed over the Kaldidalur pass, essentially a mountain road through the Icelandic interior, passing a shield volcano, the Grimsnes glacier and through vast rocky landscapes on the way to our overnight stop at Husafell. The following day we continued on towards the West fjords, staying first at Drangsnes, with views out towards the island of Grimsey, and then at Holmavik. Travelling up the Strandir coast, the scenery was stunning, with mountains rising up from the sea, punctuated by fjords. There, we visited Djúpavík, with its remnants of the fishing industry: the now disused herring factory, an enormous concrete building, now home to The Factory and used as an exhibition centre and art gallery. This has to be one of the most remote exhibitions I’ve ever been to – ‘The water beneath’ (see below). We were lucky to see a family of minke whales in the fjord on the way to Djúpavík, and watched them for some time from the road. From Hólmavík we then travelled west, traversing the fjords to Isafjordur, from where we visited the stunning island of Vigur, a nature reserve and home to many seabirds.
Travelling further west, we visited the fishing village of Flateryi, passing open wooden structures, traditionally used to dry fish, and uninhabited cottages falling into disrepair, finally stopping a Hjontur, from where we visited the soaring cliffs at Latrabjarg and the 7 km long red sand beach at Raudisandur. The final leg of our round trip took us via ferry to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, with the most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufel, and the inspiring black pebble beach at Djúpalónssandur, littered with the rusting metal remains of a British trawler that ran aground more than 70 years ago.
Finally, after 10 days travelling in some of the most remote parts of Iceland, we found ourselves back in the hustle and bustle of Reykjavik. Time to sit, enjoy a coffee and take in some of the sights. Thank you Iceland, you are amazing. I hope to return again sometime soon.
The old herring factory, Djúpavík
Hidden away on the Strandir coast, nestled at the tip of a fjord on the eastern coast of the Westfjords, Djúpavík is a tiny fishing hamlet with a handful of houses, a hotel, and a huge disused herring factory, The Factory, that has been taken on by the Djúpavík hotel, and now hosts annual art exhibitions. The building itself is fascinating – vast and ravaged by the elements and time. History hangs heavy here; all around are signs of the building’s past. The walls are a testament to times gone by, and in themselves become abstract canvases to the imagination.
This summer, a number of artists have work displayed at The Factory forming the exhibition ‘The water beneath’: possibly the most remote exhibition I’ve ever been to!
💫 The Factory 2022 💫 – Undirheimar vatnsins // The Water Beneath
Participating artists: Aniara Omann (DK); Alexis Brancaz (FR); Björn Jónsson (IS); Christalena Hughmanick (US); Christine Nguyen (US); Halla Birgisdóttir (IS); Heidi Zenisek (US); Heinz Kasper (AT); Iða Brá Ingadóttir (IS); Kate Robinson (US); Melkorka Þorkelsdóttir (IS) ; Sarah Finkle (US); Simon Lambrey (FR)
Touching themes of water and ocean, the seventh iteration of The Factory acts as the allure of human and non-human beings living above and below sea level, displaying artworks wrapped in watery, and shimmery interpretations – all embraced by the heavy weight of the building’s moody concrete.
Until next time…
Thank you for reading this far, and for your interest and support! I promise that September’s blog will have more weaving related news – I hope to see you then. If you’d like to see more of my work and inspirations, I post regularly on Instagram @veronicapock and my work is available online at LiminalWEAVE on Etsy.