Rounding out the work I made as a response to 2014’s Light Grey Art Lab Icelandic Residency was a little accordion book that documented a few moments and thoughts from the trip. Pulling this book together was challenging and went through a lot of different iterations (first it was a Risograph* book, then a longer accordion book); with every compression (refining that puffin coupled with balancing freelance, teaching and mentoring duties ate up such time!) it began to be trickier to pick out moments to show. Again, when you pack dozens of amazing experiences in a handful of days, how do you pick and choose which were most meaningful?
Including my sketch on the first page (which admittedly is way more refined than my actual sketchbook!), I focused on six moments from the trip– from exploring the fields near our farmhouse with the most fabulous Icelandic horses to leaping gleefully across huge squishy moss fields to one of my most quietest moments on the trip, focusing on the rock cairns I found myself fascinated by and would later build. To tie it all together, I decided to hint at a subtle horizon across the pages– it starts with the shadow of my trusty backpack and invisibly connects across rocks stacked in a cairn on the last pages. The pages flit between autobiography and fiction, as initially I didn’t really want to illustrate any of our group. But a couple of photos in Sólheimajökull (one of my favorite spots on the trip) really struck my fancy, seeing my backpack and pink hair light up against the grays and blacks of the scene. So I knew that I would wind up inserting myself into that image. That moment I chose to take a longer breath across two pages for visual punch– that dose of wonder as you round the corner and see your first glacier.
There are still lots of things about Iceland I’d like to explore, so while this book is a finished object for now, I’m not done ruminating about it and thinking about what else I’d like to add. I guess that’s the fantastic thing about travel! My many thanks to Light Grey Art Lab– I have felt really lucky over the years to be able to take part in so many experiences with them, from gallery shows to workshops to now travel. To many more, my friends.
You can buy Explorer’s Log and all the other art from the exhibition (including my dear puffin friend!) at LGAL’s shop! Don’t miss out!
*I probably still will make that Riso at some point, or maybe after a couple more travel experiences and residencies so I can talk about travel! I am hooked.