iceland – week one – first impressions

A week ago I arrived in Iceland and moved into my lovely little apartment. The next morning I started at my new school, at The Reykjavík School of Visual Arts. For the first weeks I will have a small insight into the ceramics department, from where I continue to the textile’s one. (The school also offers a section for drawing and one for painting and has a wide range of courses for children and people with special needs.)
The school is located in the western part of the capital, just next to the sea. The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly, everyone seems to know each other. Also everyone seems to like to be creative in many different ways: after class you can meet teachers, the principal, other staff and students working on different projects side by side.
Surprisingly I did not work with clay that much during the first week. I got to know several different materials such as concrete, plaster, glazes, but of course also clay and porcelain. The current course is all about seeing and experiencing the most important working materials differently, by adding other materials, by playing and experimenting or just by: “breaking the rules”, which the course’s slogan.
More about my experiments and work next week. This is the view from my working space.

Some random things about Iceland that really surprised me:
The supermarkets have walk-in-fridges. So instead of several smaller ones, whole parts of the shops are just cooled down. What a waste of energy. But Iceland has enough of it, so at least I have been told. No one turns the lights off or saves water…
By the way, about the water: well everyone knows tap water stinks like eggs. But what came as a surprise to me is that it actually feels different! So when you wash your hands and keep wondering why the soap is not coming off: it’s just water that feels like soap.
The weather! On Friday every single person that came across my way was warning me about the bad weather, as there was a storm to come during the afternoon. People were asked to pick up their kids from school early and preferably be at home for the rest of the day. Streets were closed and flights were cancelled. On Sunday people in the capital area were asked to stay at home again, this time with another reason. We woke up to a new snow record: 51cm of new snow covered all streets, cars, pedestrian strips, bus stops… The last time there was as much snow in the capital area, was in January 1937 (55cm). It took the responsible workers the whole day to clear the streets, but as it was a sunny Sunday, people seemed to enjoy the snow. I wonder what’s the next reason to stay at home! Although it seems no one really follows those advices…

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