Book Iceland 2018

BOOK ICELAND _ JUNE 18 – 29,  2018
Application Deadline: February 1, 2018


It’s a rare visitor who is not touched by Iceland’s natural energies and diverse landscape. It’s this land of extremes that has shaped its people & language, and has inspired this workshop.

Now more than half-filled, but space available for those interested in exploring Iceland’s
landscape for content— for two book structures that you will learn in the class: the drum-leaf binding and a coptic-bound cover book (examples below).

Drumleaf binding book structure

Drumleaf binding book structure

Coptic-bound cover book

Coptic-bound cover book

The workshop is for artists of all levels interested in exploring the book form and learning
about Iceland, its book culture & history, weather, and diverse landscapes.

For specifics, check out:

*This will be my fourth trip to Iceland.  I recently reviewed some old blog entries with early impressions.  Thought you might be interested in what I wrote:

“What a deceptively still place with its vast expansive open spaces—panoramic views of horizontal blue ribbons of sky and sea. I sometimes found it difficult to discern the horizon between the two. And I was struck by how much of the land is barren with minimal traces of human habitation.

Iceland is a small country but full of geological wonders that gave me a glimpse of what the earth might have been like when it was newly formed. Everywhere I looked I saw evidence of the new with it lava beds, glaciers, ice, geysers, craggy scree slopes, natural waterfalls, basaltic columns, black sand beaches and glacial carved rocks jetting out from green grass covered mountains. Surreal. I have experienced few places in the world, like Iceland that offer this unique kind of space. Surprisingly serene on the surface, especially when one realizes that it is a land of the verb with underground rumblings of the wild that can spew out at any time as steam, lava or rock through pockets of the earth.

I met a few Icelanders and if they are representative of the whole, then I am impressed. So much open space, yet their connection to their land is intimate. I saw this in the way that they name their places; names with endings like vatn, foss, vik, and jokull that offer clues about the landscape. Their connection went beyond words, however. I witnessed many who embraced the land with vigor and pride, some easily scrambling up a hillside of scree, hiking on the vast lava fields or up a mountain between 1am and 5 am, or swimming in the ice cold waters of lakes and sea. And I identified most with those who relaxed and socialized in the geothermal heated pools, found throughout the country.”

Art in Iceland

  While in Reykjavik, I toured some of its art galleries and museums.   Some highlights:

Hanging in the entry at Hafnarhus was The Icelandic Love Corporation's "Sokkabuxnavehur"/Tights-web.

An inventive use of panty hose!


There was also a wonderful installation "Knitting House" by Elin Ruin and the New Beauty Council.

"Knitting House" recreated the most common type of apartment in Husby, a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. The apartments were a standardized prefab housing project built  in 1974. Women knitted an exact replica of the apartments at 75% scale.  Visitors can walk inside, stepping over a steel support structure to enter all of the rooms.  Wonderful details and textures that include stains, wallpaper patterns, tiles, knobs, fixtures, all in muted hues.


On Viðey Island,  I visited Richard Serra's "Milestones". I felt like I was on a pilgrimage as I walked from station to station, once again tracking the walk using my GPS.

"Milestones" also called "Áfangar",  spans the entire western part of  Viðey, an island in Reykjavik's bay. The piece comprises nine pairs of basalt columns, a reference to the geology of the island.

The columns are placed at the same elevation on the periphery of the island: one column of each pair stands nine metres above sea level, the other at ten metres. One pillar of each pair is four metres in height and the other three metres, so that the tops of the pillars are at 13 metres above sea level. The distance between each pair of pillars depends upon the gradient of the ground.  All the pillars are visible from the highest point on west Viðey, at 18 metres above sea level.


Also on the island is Yoko Ono's "The Imagine Peace Tower" conceived as a beacon to world peace. The work is in the form of a wishing well on which the words "Imagine Peace" are inscribed in 24 world languages.  Out of the well emerges a strong, tall tower of light.

On Oct 9, 2007 the work was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, on his 67th birthday. Every year the Imagine Peace Tower is lit from October 9 (Lennon's birthday) to December 8 (the day of his death). In addition the tower is lit from the winter solstice to New Year's Day and during the first week of spring. The electricity for the light comes entirely from Reykjavik Energy and is generated from geothermal power.


On the Snaefellsnes peninsula, I visited Roni Horn's installation, "Library of Water" in the coastal town of Stykkisholmur. It is located in a former library building that stands on a promontory overlooking the town and ocean.

The "Library of Water" is a constellation of 24 glass columns that contain water collected from ice of some major glaciers around Iceland. The glass columns reflect and refract light onto a rubber floor embedded with Icelandic and English words that relate to weather.


And finally back in Reykjavik, the i8 gallery (my favorite gallery in Reykjavik)  featured the work of artist, Egill Sæbjörnsson who experiments with elements of sculpture, animation and sound that interact in a playful and inventive way.