Arriving at Ós Textile Residency, Iceland, February 1 2023.

I arrived at Ós residency housed in the Kvennaskólinn building at the Icelandic Textile Center in Blönduós, Iceland on February 1, taking the bus from Reykjavik, north. The bus had not run the previous day due to winter weather and storms, a frequent and expected delay in the winter months, so I was thankful for the clear, although cold - 6 degrees celsius, morning! Taking Straeto bus #57 on the first of the month means sidling up to international artists not only heading to Ós residency in Blönduós but artists heading to NES residency in Skagaströnd as well! On this day in particular artists traveling from the Netherlands, Canada, Scotland, England, and Australia headed northwest to their residencies. 

An orange sunrise on a snowy white and blue horizon.

Watching the sunrise from the bus window heading north from Reykjavik, February 1, 2023.

The bus ride is about 4 hours, with a few rest station stops in between, and the ever-changing landscape makes the journey fly by. I saw many snow-covered fields, snow-covered lava formations, and rivers of floating blue ice. I also saw brown grassy fields, with no snow at all, and of course, picturesque mountains filling every horizon. The scarcity of natural forests here is even more apparent in the winter months.

Hugs and smiles awaited me at our next stop as Textile Center Staff greeted us upon our drop-off at the gas station, and helped us bring our luggage to the center.  Being here again in winter, almost feels like I haven’t left at all. The scenery hasn’t changed that much given the time of year, as I last left Blönduós in November 2021, and am now arriving in February 2023. (I’ve been told that the summer is nice!)

Tuija, a white woman in winter outerwear on the right, and a large white building on the left.

Arriving at the Icelandic Textile Center in the Kvennaskólinn building on February 1, 2023.

Nothing feels so relieving as arriving at your residence for the foreseeable future and being rid of your luggage! I left my house in Thunder Bay on Saturday and arrived at the Textile Center on Wednesday, needless to say it was time to unpack. The first thing I noticed was the textile bird collage created by friends who were here in 2021: a good omen in my books! The second thing I noticed was the lovely view from my room. I haven’t stayed on this side of the building before, and the riverside rooms offer ample opportunity for watching the weather change and daylight shift day to day. 

A grey room with a window on the left, and a stitched, collaged, textile bird on the right.

The view of “old town” and the River Blanda from my room at the Icelandic Textile Center, and a fabric-collage bird left in this room by my friend Susan Kendal in 2021 on the right.

As soon as I was half-unpacked I headed to the Textile Lab, a separate building 150 metres from the Textile Center where I’ve rented a TC2 loom for the month of February. I’ve practiced using this type of loom a few days at a time at Artscape Daniels Launchpad in Toronto, but I am thrilled to have a whole month with it to myself here at the Textile Center! 

A large weaving loom in front of grey skied windows.

The Thread Controller 2 or TC2 loom at the textile lab, Icelandic Textile Center, Blönduós, Iceland.

Capping off my first day in Blönduós: a trip to the local outdoor swimming pool (always a social event, maybe even the only social event here!) and an evening display of northern lights to welcome me back to Northwest Iceland!  

A sunset over a glassy river.

The view of the 6 pm sunset over the river Blanda from my room at Ós Textile Residency, pre-swim, February 1 2023.

2 green bands of aurora borealis move diagonally through the night sky.

Two bands of aurora borealis begin the dance of northern lights as I exit the pool and walk back to the Textile Center. 

Aurora dancing over the River Blanda and the North Atlantic Ocean, in Blönduós, Iceland.

My walk back to the center allowed me to follow the Northern lights and view their reflection over the River Blanda, where it meets the North Atlantic Ocean. February 1 2023.  

It’s never guaranteed that you will see Aurora Borealis when in Iceland, but viewing this spectacular show on the first night back feels like a “right time, right place” good omen for the month ahead for me! 



I would like to thank and acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada , in this research and practice. 

Canada Council for the Arts