The last weeks have been a huge upheaval! Not just for me – but for people all over the world. Coronavirus has spread The situation is profoundly serious and no longer something that only happens in a remote province in China. On the contrary – this is a worldwide crisis.
We are hit in different ways. Some to a mild degree, others in fatal degree. The various natinal governments also handle the situation very different. Typically by closing the public space and suggesting self-isolation strategies. We’re encouraged to stand together – by standing alone
I feel incredibly privileged to live in Denmark and to have come back from Asia just before closing time. My workplace has been shut down for the past 3 weeks, like everyone else (except for the essential jobs in healthcare or with supplies of groceries etc) – but at least I still have my job. Not everyone is so lucky. Many are and will become unemployed, companies close for good. The Danish government is trying to mitigate the worst economic collapse with various grants and support schemes, so there is also a working life to return to when we return from isolation. Fortunately, it seems the infection numbers have come under control. So much so that we now expect we can slowly and gradually return to “normal” life after Easter. It’s really gratifying to see some light ahead.
One should not conclude too quickly. The situation is still mega complex. However, for me there is no doubt this is a huge wake-up call to all of us: We have gone too far in our lifestyle, our consumption, and yes, by the way the privileged classes (myself included) happyly and carefree are travelling around the world for our own pleasure. The globe can’t bear it!
The happy news is, that these weeks give us, yes even force us, to slow down and contemplate our values, dreams, desires and hopes. At the same time we experience a huge power and willingness among people to change habits and behavior in order to overcome this pandemic. That gives me so much hope. And we need that. Because I have no doubt that this is just the beginning as the next (or rather the other) major crisis we’re facing is the climate. But there is hope! That we can actually change the situation – when we decide to go in the same direction. Let’s see this as a most needed time of rehearsal.
I feel so blessed having experienced 3 wonderful weeks traveling with my daughter to Uttarakhand, the foot of the Himalayas, to enjoy an extensive days of trekking, yoga, meditations and spiritual lectures in local ashrams.
I was introduced to the area 3 years ago, when I travelled here with a group of Scandinavian artists on a silent retreat – and since I always longed to come back. This time I even had the blessing to do the journey together with Emilie, who is a really dedicated and skillful yoga practitioner and teacher herself. It has been fantastic to share this!
It has been the most intensive and inspiring weeks. We have been living close together in a daily practice of early mornings, 3 simple but nourishing vegetarian meals a day, hiking along the Ganges, meditating, attending yoga classes and spiritual lectures. Sharing the every day of a simple yet very fulfilling life. Something we haven’t done for almost 10 years – since Emilie left the nest/home. In so many ways it has (re)vitalized our relation .
First week we had signed up for a yoga-course at the peacefull Phool Chatti under the guidence of Lalita Ji, teaching traditional Indian yoga and ashram life.
After that we moved to Parmarth Niketan attending the International Yoga Festival 2020, a huge event with more than 1000 participaters, teacher and spiritual leaders from all over the world. A lot of people, still less than the previous years, due to the emerging Corona pandemic (more about that later).
We’re now back home again safe and sound – and full of peace and inspiration. Just in time before the total Lock Down of society – not only in Denmark – but worldwide.
Outside: The storm and I prune the garden. Inside: The pottery workshop seize my day(s). Working with imprints in the soft clay. Boards and tiles keep emerging. Still new colors and shades see the light of day.
And behind the sceenes: A lot of reflection, planning and dreaming’s going on. In short: Buisness as usual.
Recent experiments making tiles of porcelain went so well, I decided to go on and also make some for the Artmoney Spring Exhibition in Paris.
I have become almost obsessed with this fine-grained delicate white material. I’ve worked with ceramics for years, but have never really been interested in porcelain before. Funny how one’s preferences can suddenly and unexpectedly change.
I often feel an urge for “cleanup” and “renewal” in the wake of year-end. It’s time for making status and sort out what old, enduring issues, things and relationships that are no longer rewarding and have to be left behind to make way for new seeds.
Of course, not everything old has lost its value – it might just need a bit of cleansing, repair or renewal.
I’ve always had a great deal of pleasure in patching and repairing things. As an example see how a favorite shirt – or jeans can be revitalized and last yet another season.
I love creating new – but to the same extent, I feel the satisfaction to revitalize things that are worn out but still have quality and sparkle joy. Patina adds character. Darning and mending is a question of skills and point of view. Buying new is easy. Everybody with enough money can buy new things, no offence, while mending is a skill you have to highlight and nourish. A surplus gesture in future.
Recently I was in London to see my family before Christmas and even found time to get around Loop, one of my absolute favorite stores in Islington. A super inspiring needlework universe, with yarns, knitting examples and loads of patterns and recipes. Couldn’t resist but gave myself two books on the art of darning and patching. Hannah Lamb: Poetic Cloth and Hikaru Noguchi: Darning – repair, make, mend. Finally I subscribed myself on a list of upcoming courses – for further inspiration – as I realized it’s more than three years since I attended a Slow-stiching class with Claire Wellesley-Smith. It gave me so much joy and inspiration I still feast on, so I think it’s about time to look out for some new “slow” inspiration.
Happy 2020 – a new year – even a new decade. Wish you all well.
Maybe you think it’s a little early to plan your summer … however that’s what I’m doing at the moment. Plotted 3-4 courses/ workshops into my 2020 summer holy day calendar. Two Sketchbooks and ScrapBooks workshops, where I teach simple bookbinding techniques and artists’ books – and a graphic workshop with close colleagues – all in collaboration with Kunstø Samsø. See the programme here.
The courses take place in picturesque surroundings at the beautiful green island of Samsø. The bookbinder workshop will be in an old traditional Grocery Farm next to Ballen’s beautiful sandy beach – the print workshop in Langøre rowing club – with the sea and the small port as the nearest neighbors.
What I want to tell: Kunstø issues gift cards. The prefect Christmas gift for a creative soul – it could even be yourself!
Finally, I can recommend a week of music & visual arts at Testrup Højskole. Want to know more, please, ask me or go here