Thursday, March 26, 2009

A month and Copenhagen

Well... where have I been?

Besides escaping for my end of the day bike rides, I've been squinting impatiently over inconclusive evidence in the studio! (Some blustery yet clear days here have been letting me catch a rare bit of color over the sea at dusk.)

I'm still trying to decipher the mysterious process of printing with gum bichromate. I have had some successful tests, but the results seem ephemeral... hard to repeat and I am still working. So many variables!... how strong to make the potassium dichromate solution, proportion of gum arabic to dichromate, length of exposure on the light table, quality of negative, better results on porcelain or earthenware?, fired to what temperature? how long to develop image in water bath, how hot to fire, how long.... EEK!!!

I finally threw some small bottles the other night, working on the wheel. I was vexed by my printing project and needing to do something easy!!! (The bottles are destined to become small "canvases"- I've altered them so they are square/flat-sided... to facilitate printing with cyanotype on each side after they are bisque fired.)

And then: I took off to Copenhagen on Saturday, realizing I needed to clear my head after 30 days in the studio. Caught a ride with UK ceramist Paul Scott, the author of Ceramics and Print (ironically, I have been using a tattered photocopy of his book for reference and "how to" info... for 2 years!). He was on his way to Sweden, I needed an escape and voila!- a ride and some good conversation/"shop talk" to boot.

My mission was to visit the Statens Museum for Kunst (Art), in central Copenhagen.... a city that despite it's 1.5 million inhabitants is surprisingly tame, manageable- and perhaps even quiet? Very pedestrian and cylclist friendly. (Wish I'd taken a pic of the bike lanes there, which are as wide as curb-side vehicle parking!)

(Outside central station, where I would later depart via train for Skaelskor.)

I spent my time browsing the permanent collection, mostly on the second floor with both contemporary works and historical works dating from 1300-1800. The painter in me was delighted by this opportunity, and it was so refreshing to get away from my own work, the myopic world of my light table, dark room, kilns and chemicals.

I thought about so many things that afternoon at the museum.... why art calls us, moves us, calms and shocks us- and also seems so necessary. Wandering around this city far from home, again the streets and shops lit and labeled in a language I don't comprehend, the sound of inscrutible dialogue all around me: I don't understand.

The museum was what I needed that day.
The universal language of art. I understand.

No comments:

Post a Comment