Thursday ended up being my kind of stay in day due to a lot going on the following days and the weather I had been having. I did some cleaning and computer work that needed to be done before my appointments this weekend. After being in all day like I was I did decide to reward myself with a nice meal from the Burger Meester down the road. Once I was full and recharged I went back to work for a bit before trying to call it an early night.
Friday was an early and busy day for me. Around 9:30 I started out to meet with Hilde de Decker at her home in Alphen aan den Rijn Netherlands. It was the kind of travel day that I was thankful for in the end. Managing to just catch all of my trams and trains within moments of their departures I made my way there. After some confusion on my end about buses and trains Hilde’s partner picked me up at the station. I was fortunate enough to meet with Hilde for about two hours during which I got some helpful feedback regarding my work. She answered any questions I had before I really asked them, which was kind of nice. It reinforced some notions I had and some directions I was planning to move towards. I think this is a nice example of why I am taking this trip around the countries that I am. Even though I do not have my work physically with me, it’s good to show it and talk about it with other artists involved in the field. After chatting, coffee and a nice pastry Hilde helped me catch the right bus back in the direction of home.
Once there I decided to go visit Galerie Ra, a place I had been looking forward to visiting. I was right in my gut feeling that it was a nice space to visit. On arrival I was welcomed with information about the work on display and in the permanent collection. The exhibition included Marian Hosking’s vessels and Laura Deakin’s jewellry. Marian Hosking is head of the Department of Metal and Jewellery at Monash University, Melbourne. Laura Deakin was one of her students who then trained at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts. Its interesting that at both Galerie Ra and Rob Koudjis the work on display was by artists in residence along side students of theirs. One of the nice things about this was the difference in the work shown. It was not the kind of exhibition where they were shown together because they were similar in style or concept but simply by an affinity for the work.
After I had perused the work for some time I got to chat with the gentleman running the galerie. He offered me a book to look through called 30 years Ra, Radiant which he ever so nicely let me take home. The book consists of images of past and present works by artists who have shown at the galerie or are part of the permanent collection. It also has written sections about bodies of work and their makers. So, after a nice conversation and a coffee I found my way to the book section of the galerie where I was thrilled to find I could buy a copy of Gray Area Gris. The book is about a Contemporary jewellery conference held in Mexico City in 2010 which talks about not only jewelry but also culture and diversity.
As I said it was a busy day! Once I left Galerie Ra I went and ran some errands before going home for some last minute down time before heading to central station. Once at the station I went about getting a train ticket for going to France and then a snack while I waited for Carson to arrive from Berlin. Once I caught him we walked around the city for a while before calling it a night.
It was a pretty long but satisfying day in the end with so much more I could say.
Saturday- Carson and I decided to sleep in since we were both pretty tired from full schedules on Friday. Once we were up and moving though it was time for Pancakes! Something he has been missing in Berlin, they just don’t have them! Two full people later we went walking towards Foam where we were meeting Gesine and her family for an afternoon visit. Seeing as we were early we decided to run around town a bit. Making our way to Dam Square we ran into the Dutch Homeless Cup soccer tournament. Apparently its a big deal and I had seen it a couple of days before so I was glad it was still there for Carson to experience as well. After leaving Dam Square we ended up at the same market that I had been to with Jelka a few days before which was nice due to the good weather. We got some of the famous French fries that I was told we should try and then headed back to Foam to see the photography work there. It was smaller than I expected but still a good show in the end, which was followed by a stop in a café with Gesine and family.
Seeing as it was still rather early Carson and I took a break and then headed down to the red light district to see what was going on down there. So many people and so much chaos but I am glad we went. It was strange, disturbing, bizarre and entertaining all at the same time.
Sunday- Pancakes! Round two! These were from the famous Pancake bakery I had found during my first few days here and let me tell you they are pretty amazing. After we filled up on two pancakes and a giant omelet we decided to walk down town again. Now I had already been to the sex museum but Carson wanted to visit so I didn’t mind paying the four euro again. It was once again a fun experience to be had for sure. Seeing as it was a nice day we then headed down to Vondelpark near where my apartment is located. As expected it was a great park with lots of activity. We even played on a structure that was obviously for kids but definitely fit two decent sized art kids. Having worked up a good appetite once again, very easy to do in a walking city, we headed back to make some dinner. Sunday night was the night of over eating but in the best way. Good food, good deserts, good drinks and a movie on a couch with good weather blowing through the balcony doors. Can’t beat it really.
This posts photos deserve full color due to how great it all was :)
Being in Amsterdam has been really nice and relaxing really. I enjoy the fact that it is a city but it is not like New York or Tokyo for example. I have also figured out where all the tourists like to flock toward, thus it is easier for me to avoid them on a daily basis. Now that I kind of know where I am going I tend to walk even faster than I normally do and it gets quite frustrating when I am stopped by walls of people and maps. Though, I can't complain, sometimes I am still part of that wall myself.
So, Visitors! Monday morning I got the pleasure of welcoming both Jelka Quintelier and Younghee Hong to my apartment. Jelka was a temporary room mate of mine at Cranbrook while she interned for Iris for six weeks. Lucky for me she lives in Belgium which is very close to the Netherlands and permitted us an easy visit. Younghee has just graduated from Cranbrook and is spending about three months in Amsterdam to work with Ruudt Peters. To say the least it was nice to see familiar faces. Seeing as they have both been in the city before we had an easy time just hanging around town. Among all the dinners and lunches we had, since we slept in past breakfast, we did a little shopping as well. This sounds silly but I needed to find a jacket for this crazy weather that I was unprepared for, as well as a backpack to replace my duffle bag. My bad shoulder was just having too much of a hard time dragging that around with books and my laptop creating a good amount of weight.
We actually found the bag at the big market here in the city that my land lady had told me about. Having come in and seen my work table set up she noticed my samplings of leather that I had with me. She then informed me that there was a shop that sells leather by the foot at a very good price so of course I had to go see for myself! Being the crazy girl that I am I of course got some lovely pieces of leather to work with. Jelka also found not only some leather to her liking but she apparently has a great love for olives. The market has, as all good markets should, a great selection of everything from clothes, food, bags, jewelry, art, you name it and it was there. There was even a vendor that had other organic, bone and such, pieces that I would love to have. Sadly getting those items through customs would be a challenge that I don't feel like going through in the long run.
At one point we decided it might be fun to do something more touristy in the city so we headed further down town. We gave ourselves the choices of "The Amsterdam Dungeon" or the "Sex Museum".. we chose the Museum. We were not really in a scary ride kind of mood and the museum had some really interesting pieces inside. It is not like the Sex Museum in New York, with both historical information and contemporary exhibits that change. This one was mainly historical references using photographs, videos, objects and mannequins. There were of course some funny moments but I really had fun there in the end. Definitely work the 4 Euro to get in :)
Now I find myself in solitude again, allowing me to update my blog and do a little bit more work. Tomorrow I will go see Hilde de Decker and Saturday I will meet with Gesine Hackenberg again to see an exhibit at Foam. Also, my friend Carson who I stayed with in Berlin will be visiting for a few days on his way to visit Oxford. We shall have a good time running around the museums and such, hopefully with some good weather. Let today's sun shine stick around please!
During my first week here in Amsterdam I have been getting lost and finding my way around. The best way to explore really, especially with bipolar weather that involves rain.
On Tuesday I spent the afternoon with jewelry artist Gesine Hackenberg. After meeting her at her home for a coffee and some concept conversation we headed to her studio space. Located outside of the city it is actually in an old school building that has been repurposed. Some of her studio neighbors include graphic designers, photographers, puppet craftsmen, and a few fellow jewelry artists. The feeling I got from the area her space was in definitely reminded me of Detroit. Being an area that is trying to find itself again through the arts.
Wednesday I had arranged two appointments that sadly fell through due to illness on both accounts. Seeing as the day was then free I decided to wander again. This time the wandering did not involve so much getting lost! I was able to find Galerie Louise Smit and Galerie Rob Koudijs. The nice thing about Louise Smit is that I have 1. heard so much about it and 2. both Iris and a Cranbrook graduate from this year, Edgar Mosa, both have work there. Not to mention I was also able to attain a special edition copy of an artist book that I have been after for some time now. Gesine is who told me about the Rob Koudijs location. It was one I was not familiar with but very glad that I was told to visit. Not only is the space very open and welcoming but so is the owner. Very attentive and informative to those who are not familiar with where jewelry art is right now. I really enjoyed hearing him talk with patrons and also speaking with him myself.
The work on display at Koudijs involved a main display, and entry room display, a more permanent collection as well as a short term display from a Konstfack graduate. The entry room display was the work of Stefan Heuser called A master of self control narrated. This work involved a collection of rings, necklaces and three bust pieces. Following his work in the main area was the work of Karen Pontoppidan. This work was called Canvas. Its goal being to make a statement regarding fine art vs craft arts. The idea that paintings are considered high or fine art while contemporary jewelry is still considered solely craft still. Thus she made broaches of tiny mixed media paintings. Not only were the pieces clear in their statement but also well crafted. Pontoppidan is a professor at Konstfack University who helped form the artist in the short term display area near the permanent collection. This student being Yasar Aydin. Having seen his work before online I was thrilled to see it in person. Obviously I really fancy his pieces of jewelry. Utilizing some of my most favorite materials such as precious metals, leather, and porcelain. Please take a look at the galleries and their artists.
Finally, I have gotten to do a little work of my own today. I must say it feels good and refreshing to sit down and use my hands again. This weekend is kind of my 'art in Amsterdam' weekend due to having a few appointments during the next couple of weeks before going to France. So off I go to try and get some sleep before getting back to work tomorrow!
Well I am now in Vondelpark Amsterdam in the Netherlands for about two more weeks. Seeing as its a nice apartment I have space to really spread out and do some work between consultations and sight seeing.
Before coming here to Amsterdam I spent about a week and a half in Berlin and a weekend in Pforzheim Germany. Both were great experiences, spending time with other artists and beautiful cities. Lucky for me a friend from Cranbrook, Carson Grubaugh, finds himself living in Berlin for two months and allowed me to sleep on his couch during my visit. It was pretty great to have someone to explore the city with for a few days. We did a lot of restaurant and museum hopping while I was there as well as hopping into a night club to see if Berlin held up to its reputation!
After leaving Berlin I got to sleep in another living room at a group of students' home in Pforzheim Germany. While visiting I went to Hochschule University's exhibition that was up for the weekend. I must say that the metals design department really did impress me. Not only was the work interesting and well crafted but the groups of students who arranged the presentation also did a lovely job of showing off the pieces. One of the draws to Pforzheim for me was the chance to meet with Andreas Gut who is one of the department heads at Hochshule University. Once again I was impressed by his students and his work that I saw during my stay. A location that I saw his work at was the Shmuck Museum that is down the road from the university. I was also fortunate enough to see not only a great historical collection of Jewelry but also multiple contemporary pieces. Among them were three students from Hochshule, Andreas Gut, Monika Brugger and my very own artist in residence at Cranbrook - Iris Eichenberg.
All around Germany was a good trip.