Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dutch travelers, Holland Barens, and the Genius Loci

Aafke and Bastiaan
I'm enjoying the company of two young Dutch artists, Aafke Ytsma and Bastiaan Epker who are traveling from the Netherlands to Cyprus for an artists' residency but they've turned the road trip itself from Holland to the Mediterranean into a separate project and have sponsors and patrons that are supporting their journey.  Aafke and Bastiaan are producing Mokuhanga postcards, one for each stop along the way that they're cutting and printing and then sending back to their sponsors.  Aafke is a painter and Bastiaan an oil-based woodblock artist but they're now using traditional Mokuhanga techniques on these mail-art pieces.

They're now in Florence I'm sharing my studio space with them so they can work out their next prints and hopefully will have enough time to imagine, carve, and print a new image based on their visit here.
The works and trip are based on the concept of the Genius Loci--the spirit or spirits of a particular place--and they're interpreting that individually, with each of them working and producing alternate prints.

I've been communicating with Aafke for a few months after she shared with me some photos of two barens she had made using my blog posts on making twisted-cord barens as a model.

Fine and coarse barens made from twisted, wax cords on a cardboard backing

A good tie-job but they're covered with waxed paper that isn't going to last.....
Finished Barens

She was happy with how well they worked but was having trouble sourcing a material in Holland for covering them. I was so impressed by her work that I sent her a few bamboo leaves from the garden so they could be properly covered and asking that she share with me her comments on how they perform.
And when I heard she'd be passing through Florence on the way to Cyprus we agreed to meet to share some stories and that I'd be able to have them as guests in my studio so they could have a temporary work space.  Today we spent the day in the studio looking at materials and I got to see their completed blocks and a few prints and they were able to get to work on the next ones.
I hope I'll be able to post photos of the finished print/s soon.
Tomorrow, since they're working on the local spirit, I'm going to try to introduce them to the Olive Trees and see if they also like picking Tuscan olives.