Life in Blönduós is slow. It is such a different rythm to what I am used to; it is both marvellous and destabilizing. I have this urge to feel stressed, to be productive. But really, life is so simple here. My daily routine consist mostly of eating, sleeping, walking and going to the pool. There is a lack of stimulation; or rather a lack of over stimulation.
Here I reconnect with naps, with taking my time and breathing in this beautiful place. Bizarrely, I have not been very productive; I haven’t felt the need to create. My head is buzzing with ideas, with projects and how this residency could influence my work in the future. But, I don’t feel the need to make them all come true this instant; with haste before I leave. Like I said, life in Blönduós is slow and we always have time.
I want to bring this slowness back to Montreal and not be swept by a torrent of people and events and the pressure to produce and excel. I wonder if this slowness is a by product of endless days and a short fleeting night? Can this unhurriedness only exist in Iceland ? Time will tell …
For now, lets savour this time, where even when our exhibition and departure dates rapidly approaches, there is always time for a nap.
Blönduós is a small city in the northwest of Iceland. The name Blönduós translate to “the mouth of the river Blanda” and aptly describe how the city encircled the meeting point between ocean and land.
Iceland as been known to be an architectural melting pot and Blönduós perfectly embodies this idea. I found this city to have interesting and varied architecture; very colourful and full of textures. I have found myself enjoying my walks through the city as much as those through the beautiful Icelandic landscapes.
Frugality and practicality has defined Icelandic architecture since the time of settlememt; both informed by what is available to them and also what will withstand the Icelandic temperamental weather. There is a mix of old and new; we can see the signs of time and repairs, as a chronological journal of the city.
The architecture has very clear and colourful influences of Scandinavian design. Personally, some of theses buildings remind me of the Quebec architecture from the 60’s and early 70’s, either because of their design or colors.
I’ll keep walking and exploring … and writing and sharing this small town with you all !
Before arriving at the Icelandic Textile Center (Textílsetur Íslands) in Blönduós, I did some research and was elated at what I read and the images that I saw; not only was the location ideal for working with textiles and learning new skills but also for getting inspiration. My expectations were as high as my excitement. The image of Iceland as a country
“where the past meets the future in an elemental symphony of wind, stone, fire, and ice” (Parnell, Presser, & Bain, 2013, p.3)
lingered in my mind. Luckily, upon arriving to Reykjavík, I was greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors in both the sky and land. This was only the beginning of a journey of discovery and awakening. These initial images that I took as my journey from Reykjavík to Blönduós began were only the tip of the iceberg; what was yet to come was beyond my imagination.
While my first impression was a great one; the rest of the scenery that I began to see as my trip was unfolding was breathtaking. My view was not blocked by big buildings and polluted air. I was able to see mountains and blue skies with land that stretched beyond my immediate vision. As I took a breath, I felt the air fill my lungs and my eyes began to see more beautiful details at every turn. As an artist and researcher, this was the perfect location for inspiration.
As I began to get ideas from the different shapes and colors as well as the amazing natural vista, I took out my sketchbook and began to draw. The more I looked around, the more I wanted to meet people and learn about them, their culture and connection to the land. Our connection as human beings to the land and how we treat it has always been important to me and is a consistent theme in my artwork, and I felt that this connection is also present in Iceland as nature is clearly protected and preserved. I am looking forward to the rest of my experiences in this breathtaking country.