At the same time with me at North Lands Creative there were two other guest artists/designers from Berlin, Romin and Hanna. They explored the behaviour of glass with such techniques as pate de verre and sand casting. Observing their experiments was also enriching. I enjoyed a lot getting to know their practice and spending time with them.
An important moment of my residency was the long walk Romin, Hannah and me took along the coast from Lybster to Whaligoe Steps, following the John O’Groat Trail. In total we walked 17,8 km in 7 hours.
Besides the mesmerising landscape, the beautiful and diverse local fauna that we discovered during this walk, what we realised was that humans in different corners of the world are not that different and that sometimes we do not realise how precious and fragile our environment is. Litter is a problem all over the world. Becoming an accidental witness of bad environmental choices provided me with another source of inspiration. I tried to integrated some discarded objects I found during these walks into my work. Here is a work done with colourful strings collected from discarded fishing nets.
One of the meetings that shaped the experience of this residency was the one with the amazing Julie Ross and Merran Gunn from the Community Design House. Their program, through which they encourage the development of creativity, cohesion and social interaction in the local community is very inspiring, as is the way they introduce the international art world to the local community.
For one of their meetings with the local ambassadors for this program, I received a studio visit of the group and did a short presentation of my practice and works.
One of the things that I wished I had more time to do is a workshop with the members of the local community. A wish that will hopefully materialise in future programs.
Meeting other emerging artists like Emma Baker and Emma Goring was equally refreshing and stimulating. They are beautiful people with very interesting artistic practices, focused mainly on the technique of blowing glass. By merely observing and talking with them I feel I have learned many things.
It was amazing to be exposed to so many different artistic practices and to get to know so many remarkable people, among which Karen Phillips and Joanna Garret.
For an emerging artist this type of residency is essential because it offers the time and the support needed to detach from everyday worries and focus entirely on one’s own practice and work. It feels like taking a big breath of fresh air.
The main reason I applied for this residency was to broaden my horizon which, in turn, would allow me motivate and guide my students. As a young assistant professor I think this is crucial. I feel that this residency provided me with the skills and experience needed to inspire my students and to further their interactions with the world of glass. The artists I met during my stay at North Lands Creative are people I would gladly work with on future projects. By having the time and the support to focus on developing new works and explore pending artistic ideas I feel I managed to infuse novelty and excitement in my artistic practice and to grow both as an artist and as a person.
Thank you, North Lands Creative! Thank you, Berlin Glas eV! Thank you Creative Europe, for supporting this type of programs! It makes all the difference in the world!