Friday, February 20, 2009


Yes, but where to begin?

On my second sleepless night here in Skaelskor, Denmark...

I haven't begun working in the studio yet. Since my arrival yesterday afternoon, I've been trying to adjust to the eight hour time difference ( I lost 8 hours somewhere en route from Durango, Colorado to Scandinavia!) and manage this feeling that is more or less like this: oh my god i am here for three months am i crazy.

Think of now. And what needs to happen now.

And catch up with myself. I remember that I have just spent a number of harried days (weeks?) tidying up my life in the States so I could depart. (No easy feat, for anyone!) What is still fresh on my worn out self: the flights from Durango to Denver to Chicago to Copenhagen, followed by rail, bus and foot to the door of this old manor house on a fjord somewhere between the Baltic and the North Sea.

A great relief to arrive at this place that has lived only in my imagination since last September (when I found out about the residency award). I am still overwhelmed by all my impressions! There are three other residents at Guldagergaard right now, so the studio and grounds are rather quiet. The mist of the harbor, and general murk of Denmark, seem to create a hushed silence about everything. Life here happens at a slower pace.

I wandered around the town today on foot, looking for a sense of mooring I think, along with an ATM machine (danes use kroner though the country is part of the EU), and market for food. Struggling with my inability to read Danish (signs are all in Danish of course, no english), and having some comical interactions with the locals as a result! Soon (like, tomorrow) I will learn to ask in Danish, "Do you speak English?", and promptly do my part to debunk the "ugly american" stereotype!

Skaelskor is indeed very quaint.
Two things I love so far: People ride bikes everywhere, in all kinds of weather.
And the bikes are left unlocked all over the place. So much trust. No one steals bikes here and I think that must be a sign that the Danes are doing something right. (More on that later...)

Okay. A third thing I love so far: no big box stores, only small markets in a sensibly-designed, pedestrian and cycle-centic downtown. Skaelskor, with it's 12,000 or so inhabitants is quaint and at once very chic. From small retailers stocking the latest in shoes and fashion accessories, to sophisticated boutique galleries featuring hand-made Danish design (ceramics and glass abound), somehow it's all here, in this sleepy town which rolls up at 7pm.

I am dying to know what these folks do at night.

I, for one, seem destined for late night solo-ing with my strongest attachment: the wifi here in my room beneath the eaves and gables. For now, I will cozy up with some back issues of Ceramics Technical. (Guldagergaard has a library rich in ceramics volumes and art miscellanea- akin to some kind of pornorgraphy if you've got a porcelain fetish!) Give in to the seduction of sleeping with the help of Tylenol PM, even though it makes me feel sluggish and stupid the next day?

It's after 2am now. It's just not ok to sleep til noon again. Wish me luck.

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