Artist Residency at the Icelandic Textile Center 01.10.2021 - 31.10.2021

Scarcely out of pandemic travel restrictions, I left Canada and arrived in Iceland on September 28. 

Oct. 01 driving to Blönduós, from Reykjavik - the weather changed every few minutes this day making for lots of roadside picture stops!

Driving from Reykjavik to Blönduós (4 hours) the weather changed many times and offered numerous photographic opportunities.

Returning to Ós Textile Residency - (named for its location on the banks of river Blanda, overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean; "Ós" = Icelandic for estuary) in October 2021 I hoped to pick up my plant dyeing, and continue until the snow started flying. I had no idea the dyeing season would continue to the end of the month and created 52 shades of glorious plant colours from plants on the precipice of decay, along the riverbanks. 

Holding many strands of white yarn over a sink, washing the wool in preparation for dyeing.

Tuija Hansen washing and preparing Icelandic wool yarn - lopi, for dyeing with regional plants at the Icelandic Textile Center, Oct. 2021. Photo credit Susan Kendal. 

Daily walks along the riverbank offered a chance to see the autumnal change in realtime: observing the later sunrise and earlier sunsets; Rowan, Birch, and Willow leaves letting go from their branches and gathering on the ground; the Angelica and lupin leaves withstanding the cold but not the frost, and so on.

A vibrant orange and yellow sunset in Blönduós on October 11 2021 

A sunset over the river Blanda viewed from the Icelandic Textile Center, October 11, 2021.

The Icelandic Textile Center has a wonderful dye studio “Shed” - where I managed multiple dye pots and modifiers on a rotating basis. Before months end I’d created most of my 52 ( ! ) shades of plant colour on Icelandic Wool for weaving with.

Multiple skeins of wool yarn in shades of yellow, green, and brown hang in the dye shed on a white wall.

Dyes from locally foraged Rowan, Tea-Leaf Willow, Birch, Dock, Lupin, Poplar, Angelica, and Yarrow leaves, Bog Bilberry stems, and Larch cones on Icelandic wool hanging in the dye studio, October 19, 2021. 

This month I had the pleasure of residing with 7 other textile artists from Canada, England, Scotland, Sweden and Lithuania, and on the heels of many lockdowns we were ready for in-person connection, learning from each other and sharing lovely family-style dinners! 

Auste Jurgelionyte-Varne leads a flower-pounding and lantern making workshop for community members and artists-in-residence at the Textile Center, October 6 2021. 

A group gathers around a white dinner table in a white room with a sunset in the window.

A family-style dinner at the Icelandic Textile Center with fellow-artists in residence, October 11 2021.


Four artists-in-residence pose behind a large red heart with the words #loveakureyri in Northern Iceland.

Tuija Hansen, Susan Kendal, Fern Pellerin, and Hector Dyer in Akureyri on October 16 2021.

Four artists-in-residence enjoy a natural hot spring in Northwest Iceland.

Artists-in-residence Susan Kendal, Pam Cottrell, Auste Jurgelionyte-Varne, and Tuija Hansen enjoy a natural hot spring 45 minutes from the Textile Center. 

Kálfhamarsvík at Skagaströnd. Kálfahamarsvík is a small inlet in the north of the Skagi peninsula. A lighthouse, built in 1933 and rebuilt in 1939, is located on the small peninsula, Kálfshamarsnes. October 24, 2021.

8 artists gathered in front of a workspace with colourful textile examples behind.

Artists-in-Residence: Deborah Gray, Susan Kendal, Auste Jurgelionyte-Varne, Hector Dyer, Fern Pellerin, Pam Cottrell, Stina Edin and Tuija Hansen at the exhibition opening October 25, 2021. 

Tuija Hansen overlooking the Skagafjörður facing the town of Sauðárkrókur, October 27, 2021.

Some of us are leaving the residency at the end of October and some of us are staying on for November as well. I feel truly grateful to have met these lovelies and am looking forward to staying connected and watching their work and process in the future.