Tulip, tulip and tray, 2017
I feel like I wish there was some neat little story to tell you about the week, but really it’s been a whole woosh of intensities everywhere.
There’s been intense client work and intense thinking thoughts and intense preparation. I gave an ‘Artists Talk’ today and I have been preparing and getting ready for it.
I’ve been more in the inner world than the outer world, just popping up occasionally to breathe and think ‘Hooray! snow!’
But while it’s maybe looked a bit chaotic and unknown, there have been beautiful moments punctuating the mysterious bits. There have been cosy lunches at the Blåhus cafe with other artists. There have been quiet moments pondering in the cafe in the botanical gardens. There have been street-lit walks between dinners and home. There have been silences over breakfast, and running in forests, and walking between buildings at Konstepidemin to do my washing, or to recycle or to throw rubbish away.
All the in-between times…
It is very easy to notice thing-time and to miss in-between time. Perhaps one of the very greatest pleasures of my time here in my residency is the quality of the in-between time. There is a richness to the cosy artist community lunches between morning work and afternoon work. I love my red bike so much that every single transition from place to place is a source of joy. The lack of private laundry facilities means that every time I go back and forward to the washing machine or tumble dryer I pass artists studios too many to count, and every time I am a little bit more filled with wonder. Even the walk (or bike) up and down the hill to my studio requires a kind of slowness and concentration which separates home and city life.
Architect Christopher Alexander says that one deep pattern of buildings conducive to human flourishing is that as well as ‘strong centres’ they have ‘thick boundaries’ (think walls, hedges, doors) which themselves become features, albeit unobtrusive, in their own right. Somehow the patterns of life for me here create these strong boundaries, and I can feel some kind of extra settledness in myself as a result.
Today in my artists talk, my favourite part was the questions and answers. I enjoyed speaking too, but it’s so magical to be part of an exchange. This too is a kind of boundary place – the space between my ideas and your ideas, my feelings and your feelings, my vulnerability and your vulnerability; the place of interchange and connection.
There are a lot of in-between times in life. It’s easy overlook them, rushing between the last thing and the next thing. This is something for me to ponder more.