Iceland + Community: Part IV by Leah Pantea

July 26:

Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t nee a lot of money to be happy- in fact, just the opposite.
— Jean Vanier
Photo: Andrea Kennedy

Photo: Andrea Kennedy

In the bustle of our lives, it is hard to connect with people. Most of us already have deep and established bonds in place, which, unfortunately, cause us to connect less with new people. We just don't need them! With these established ties into our longstanding friends, it is not that we are opposed to make new connections, it is just that we are less inclined. Why bother when we are already fueled socially? It is so much work to meet and make valuable connections from scratch!

As I have said before (here, aloud, in my head, filling any quiet moment I'm sure...), I want be open. Openness for me is the foundation in which I want to develop all things on. It breeds vulnerability, honesty, humility, connection and humor.  When I arrived at NES, I had carefully propped my fragile little heart's doors open, calling to any and all. And the most amazing thing happened. Partly in response to the new location I'm sure, but mostly due to my openness, my heart strings tangled with other's who were seeking the same type of open connection.  It was simple, smooth and even efficient bonding with people who were open for making friendships. 

Maybe it's silly to talk about friendship, but I'm going to anyway! Particularly artist friendships. I have found in these artist friendships (and this artist community! I share a workspace with thirteen other artists!) a dynamic that is deeply nourishing and inspiring. I am encouraged and supported in chasing down trails of curiosity where as, at home, I would likely have talked myself out of it, feeling as if I were "wasting time." After a month of external positivity, I am beginning to preach to myself the same things that I have been hearing. "It doesn't matter if I don't finish," "I love that I'm exploring something new," "It doesn't matter if it doesn't tie into my paintings," "conversation and exploration are pieces of a productive creative day." 

Within a community we can find the external support to pursue ourselves introspectively. 


Is anyone in San Diego or LA reading this? I want this community at home! I want to feel nourished for my uniqueness as a creator within an open, thoughtful, and talented community! I want to be open, not competitive, and allow ideas to flow in and out ourselves, trusting in each others individual purpose and how we are suppose to tangle ourselves together. 

Iceland, Experiments and the Stars: II by Leah Pantea

July 18: 

At least once a day it is brought up that time doesn't mean anything here. With the sun only now beginning to set (sort of, my app is saying that the sun rises at 3:16, but the first light is at 1:27... mainly it just gets a little dusky out and then gets light again) it really doesn't matter when you go to bed because its always day time. You will never lose day light. I have discovered that my schedule, if light and duties were no object, I tend to wake up around 10-10:30 and go to bed somewhere between 12-2:00 (much different than my San Diego schedule of rigidly 6:00 am to 10:00 pm).

Interestingly enough, since time really is nothing, I have noticed with myself and the other residents that when we have one non-creative item on the agenda (i.e. coffee + cakes, art movie in the fish freezer, festival in the next town over...) we all nervously joke, "But when will I get work done?" "What about lunch?" It's like our old selves, over worked and over scheduled, seep though our lips trying to find normalcy. We laugh afterward about how silly it is that we were even thinking it. Time is just a word here. 

July 20:

A lot of my works these days have included "stars" and/or geometrics that look like constellations. 

Our human need for connection is just astonishing and lovely. We, these vulnerable creatures, pull the universe around ourselves like a blanket. We see our faces in houses and our pets in the clouds. We look to the stars and tie them to each other, even though they are trillions of miles away from one another, and then tether that chain of cosmos to ourselves. We are a resolute, reaching and lonely tribe.

Native Icelandic bouquet

Native Icelandic bouquet

July 21:

Experiments:

I have been so inspired being here by all of the other artists I share a workspace with. One of the artists here, and at the textile residency (about a 30 minute bus ride away) have been working with the native plants here for dying and crushing. Totally in awe, I began collecting flowers to crush (with a rock I found) into little pieces of watercolor paper. As if that wasn't satisfying enough I have begun to stitch minimal ghost buds and stems onto the marked papers. 

This stitching with white is intended to pull the color out where it is placed. It is a new medium of practicing the same themes I am thinking about in my current collection: adding material (in this case thread) in order to take away.