I've been here almost two weeks and it has definitely become clear that I need to rethink my residency goals. I had three main objectives for my time here: weave with local fiber, dye with natural materials, and participate in rettír. Rettír is happening and the local one will take place a little less than a month from now (yay!). Weaving and dyeing, however, are both clearly better achieved back in my studio.
Right before I arrived the dye kitchen was moved from a lovely fourth floor space with windows into a sealed garage space with no ventilation or even windows that open. Plus the door is on the other side of a wall. This is extremely unsafe for synthetic dyes, and also not a healthy set up for natural dyes either. I'm considering moving the setup outside on a lovely day, if it is possible, but otherwise natural dyeing will have to wait until I return home.
It took me the longest to come to terms with the fact that the looms are simply well past the time when they were fully functioning. While they're all beautiful and historic, they certainly can no longer do many of the things a loom needs to do. Luckily they've been updated enough by recent residents to weave simple projects on them, but it is certainly neither an efficient nor ideal set up. After spending time with all fifteen looms today, I have accepted that weaving on a loom all the time as I dreamed will not be the best use of my time here in Iceland. (Although this makes it super tempting to spend my time here continuing to repair and update the looms...)
With all that in mind, I'm trying to figure out how to best use the rest of my time here. There is a wonderful Louët spinning wheel in great shape, so I will absolutely be doing more spinning. I also just received my first batch of raw Icelandic wool (and there is more on the way and I just discovered another source as well)! I will absolutely be able to work with the fabulous, local fibers from happy sheep. I am definitely going to use my time to develop the ideas, concepts, and sketches for larger pieces, and maybe even weave small studies for them as well, but I'm going to weave these projects once I return home to my lovely, old, new-to-me loom.
Now I just have to plan how to restructure my time and goals to maximize my productivity. It is going to be fun and really impact my work regardless, just in a different way than I planned. Perhaps that's even more exciting. Maybe I'll even develop some fiber work off the loom. Plus it's impossible to not be optimistic when looking over a spectacular fjord.