Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Milking Cows/Amsterdam

Hej Hej,
Jah, it's been a little while since I have updated. So much has happened in such a short time that I will split it up into 2 posts. Last Lördag-Fredag (Sat-Fri), I went to the Netherlands, primarily for a five day experimental/group therapy-esque/other? jewelry workshop in the idyllic Dutch countryside, put on by my professors (Karen Pontoppidan and Ruudt Peters), with all the Master-level students, years 1 and 2. All together we were 17, and I think one of the objectives of the workshop was to break down our personal defenses and get to the gooey mess inside, and from that mess, start making objects ("from the guts!" was a frequent refrain). The theme of the workshop was "Fuck You", which, without thinking too much about it beforehand (a problem I have a lot), took it as a light subject. In reality, it dredged up a lot of repressed thoughts and feelings from everyone, I think, which was good to acknowledge, and cathartic in nature to be a starting point for making. We began with taking our pre-assigned seats at tables made of doors on wooden saw-horses (for those of you that have participated in MAKER, I don't know how to convey the amount of dread I felt looking at those things, although they are like flimsy popsicle sticks compared to the indestructible yellow beasts and 80lbs doors we use). We were each met with a large quantity of material specifically tailored to something we would never work with, given a choice. So what was I given, you might be wondering. I was given a huge pile of balled up thread-thin natural fibers. ummmm...yeah. They got me! They really knew what I wouldn't choose to work with. It was a great experience though, that first exercise, and the rest of the workshop. Every morning we rode cute bikes to the studio, about two miles away from the farmhouse we were staying at, on the flattest roads I've ever seen, worked till lunch, had lunch, sometimes a short break, more assignments till dinner, then dinner, than sleep. Ruudt Peters, whose studio we were using, hosts a similar workshop every summer. If you have the means, I would try and take it, it's a once in a lifetime experience. Did I mention that there's a sauna and outdoor shower there as well? That was a highlight for me. Also, I got to help milk a cow at the neighboring dairy farm, possibly one of the cows pictured above. Oh, and we took a little day trip to a very famous metals gallery, Gallery Marzee. That was both inspiring and too much for me at the same time. There was just so much stuff, and I got overwhelmed and queasy with everything towards the end, if that makes any sense...

Now for the photo tour of Amsterdam! Saturday I arrived a day early for the workshop to hang out with Feiko, (see first photo in this post) the red-haired viking as some of you from California may refer to him, and some ladies from the Master's group .We meandered around town and talked and ate good food, first from a grumpy man with a chip on his shoulder and a mullet on his head (i saw TONS of mullets in Amsterdam, and un-ironic mullets at that, what's the deal??), and then, from a guy who was so hospitable it was a little awkward. We walked around a lot and Feiko took great pleasure in all my wonderment and photography of things he usually took for granted, like the amazing buildings, tons upon tons of bikes, and all the beautiful waterways.
Central Station, Amsterdam:2. This is a nice view, ishn'tttt it?I'd live here:
Bikes bikes and more bikes:
Metal Geek Moments (crucial!):When I got to Amsterdam, I found this crazy event taking place: Yes, it is the homeless world cup. football teams are formed in various towns by homeless people, and this is their moment of...glory? Those crazy Dutch. Loved the flags though. I wonder what position he plays: Tulip Market. I could live here too:

When the workshop was done, I had big chunk of a day left to do whatever I wanted. I met a really cool person at the workshop, Matt Stone, who had been at Konstfack last year as a "special student" (kind of like an extended artist in residence) and is now an MFA student at the School of Visual Art in New York. He wanted to do the workshop again so much that he came again this year, which says a lot about the workshop experience, I think. Since he was staying in Amsterdam for a few extra days, we decided go see the opposite of what we had just done and witnessed at the workshop. We wanted meticulously crafted, academic, ultra-traditional Masterpieces, and we found all we wanted and more at the AMAZING(!!!) Rujksmuseum. I have never seen Vermeer, or Rembrant paintings that close-up. Or all the elaborate metal work, woodwork, and most of all, ink drawings-on-oil-painted-panel of English-Dutch navel battles. Those navel battle scenes, on that scale, with such perfection, took my breath away. I think you could spend your whole life doing just navel battle scenes of that magnitude, with that precision and beauty. Screw jewelery, screw sculpture, screw comtemporary art. I just want to draw navel battles. Epic navel battles are the new tennis!! I'm back in Stockholm now, and next post will cover a night out on the town...Miss you all.
P.S. I GOT A BIKE AND IT'S A CUTIE!! photos to come soon.


celestifesto! said...

OMG! Love the metalwork on those gates! And the Homeless Cup...awesome!

akriedt said...

Sounds like a great learning experience you had at the workshop in Amsterdam. Wish I could have been there with you... can't wait to check out the link to the gallery you included, I am so curious about the metal work field of art works, after reading how much it inspires you... I love taking pictures and will be getting a new camera this weekend, and will send along some of my pics to you so that you can get a taste of my art... you can also visit the "My Art" album on my MySpace Website, for me: it's a start!!!

akriedt said...

*you had*, you seem to BE HAVING a great time in Amsterdam!! *could have been there* wish I COULD BE THERE.
Anyways, I'm glad you are finding new interests ie. Naval Battles- good choice. I can't wait to see some of your sketches, and perhaps sculptures and creations too!!!... I get a thrill out of taking pics of nature, and people. I'm not going to tell you all my secrets, but I like to go for a "Hard and Soft" theme, where I find contrasting elements in nature and capture the beauty in it... will be sending you pics, promise... but you have to send me pics too!!! Can't wait till you post your next blog entry, you are so blessed to be having all of these great experiences, serious AND fun!! Perhaps in your next blog you can refer to the night lifes of Sweden and Amsterdam... feel free to write me at any time!! ps. I loved Your pics, especially the Amsterdam cows, can't believe you milked one: it all sounds fun!!