Planting seeds, planting trees

Village houses in Skaströnd

Village houses in Skaströnd

In Skagaströnd there are not many trees. No forests or big timber. The sea wind is strong, the hills are bare. There is an uncanny beauty in these muted palette hills. It is a small village of maybe 500 inhabitants, a supermarket and a petrol station where you can buy some takeaway food and hangout.

Yet every month there is an intake of artists at the NES artist residency which washes in an influx of new people, artists who spend a lot of time walking around gazing at the sky, the houses. the beach and the small Icelandic horses grazing on the bare fields.

NES artists are welcomed into this small community because they bring new ideas and the passion to carry them out. One of these is the Rekavidur project devised by artists Ines Meier and Inka Dewitz to highlight the use of driftwood as the main timber source in Iceland. Each driftwood piece they make and sell through the tourist outlets raises funds for tree planting. This timber originally comes from the Siberian forests and has been preserved in ice which melts and the timber drifts down through the northern oceans to wind up on Icelandic beaches.

The other day I watched school children marching down to the little plot of land near the NES artists studio shed and collect small trees to plant. These tiny saplings are the beginnings of a little grove which is growing very slowly between the Spákonuhof Museum of Prophecies and the metal tree sculptures on the foreshore. Seeds of community projects, art and Icelandic culture all nestled in together hunkering down against the wind.

I have been here for not even a week yet love the strange pared down beauty of this place. Sharing a house and working in a studio with other international artists feeds my creativity. It is a different way of looking at life, where every walk reveals new inspiration and from these seeds of creative energy, trees of one kind or another will take root and grow. I’m going to use my pieces of Rekavidur as covers for a small artist book, to contain all of my drifting thoughts.

The two beautiful Rekavidur covers for my as yet to be made artist book.

The two beautiful Rekavidur covers for my as yet to be made artist book.