Thursday, October 27, 2022

Art Making in Lakkos

 Now that I am firmly into the residency here in Crete, I am beginning to look at the end next week..and lest you think I am just touring around and checking out the museums and ancient sites I thought I’d catch you up on some of the work I’ve been doing. And a bit more about the other artists…

But first let’s talk about food! I have been to a few Greek restaurants at home in Canada, usually have the “combo” platter or something and never realizing how amazing the real food can be…

Now that’s a shrimp!

First, its fresh….as in the “catch of the day” is brought around on a platter and you can choose the piece that gets cooked up for you. Or you see the little truck delivering the veggies from the farms…and I know that’s not uncommon in many countries, but less so at home where consumables are packaged and shipped across the continents or oceans…

Second, it’s healthy…lots of fresh, enormous salads with incredible variety of veggies. Last night (Greeks eat late so it was about 9pm) DH and I shared a salad which was probably the best I’ve ever had! Beetroot had been cooked gently so it was very tender, along with small carrots, roasted walnuts and some sautéed green spinach leaves and a light but sweet balsamic dressing and it was placed on a bed of Sumac Labneh, which is a strained Greek yoghurt to make it even thicker and powdered Sumac added….amazing!

Orange Pie! It looks like cake but made with phyllo…google it!

Third, its generous. Portions are larger than we are used to so we have learned to share dishes and apparently that’s a common thing to do here….order several appies and share it all.

Fourth, no one is in a rush…at home, we go out, we eat, we leave. Not here, take your time, food is not pushed quickly, no one is waiting for you to pay the bill and get out. Take your time, visit with your friends, eating together is a social event so enjoy!

The best potato salad with lemon and dill and lots of olive oil!

Lastly, if you don’t order dessert you always get a small plate of something at the end. Often it’s yogurt with Cretan honey (dark and thick) or some small pastries and a small bottle of raki with little glasses. Raki is a potent alcohol that is said to help with digestion…hhhmmm…it’s not my favourite but DH has my portion!

Baklava, like you’ve never experienced before! Tender phyllo with pistachio purée and honey drizzled over top…. 

So, have I convinced you to visit here?

Now, what have I been working on? I admit the first few days here were a bit of a struggle, trying bits and pieces, flitting between ideas and not really settling on anything. My subject area was too broad and not focused at all….

When I was at the residency in Iceland I worked out tons of samples, lots of small pieces that lead to larger ones at home…and that worked well, I had a whole month so I could afford to spend the time with a wider range.

But here I wanted to go deeper into a tighter focus…it took a while but working on a shape and then building the shape into a stencil gave me the subject I wanted to explore. I began with a simple vessel shape that I have seen in the residence courtyard, the shops, the museums …its sort of ubiquitous to the Mediterranean! And I tried different media, sizes and eventually developed it into a few different shapes.

This was the first ‘aha’ seeing the vessel shape appear and using the overlapping shadow

A small 6” x 8” collage with painted paper and fabric

This one is about 14” square and is just an arrangement of different elements of the vessel shapes. I will fine tune this a bit more and work into machine stitching at home.

Painted canvas background with more paper and fabric collage. Definitely like the  contrast of shapes!

In all of this exploring with the vessels…I’ve been thinking of the vessel as a female form, voluptuous, fertile, and then that brings me back to some images that DH took at the archeological museum:

And the vessels that contain, hold or store….back to the concept of the female as the receptacle of life. So much more to think about than just a nice vase!

Here are some more art making images, some just as fabrics and paper being painted, prior to being cut up and used…

Part of my practise here is keeping a daily journal, most times its just a couple pages, sometimes some thoughts or plans for the day or reflections on what Ive done the previous day. And it can also be “rejects” glued onto the page, maybe its just too nice to throw out but not good enough to use….

And finally a photo of my workspace…dusty walls and bits of plaster! 


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful learning experience! Thank you for sharing. Your creations of your “vessels” are so inspiring!

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying all of your journey - food and art. Great photos.
Val Tucker

Karen Selk said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. It is wonderful to see your struggle and successes and of course the food and culture. Karen Selk

Susan Purney Mark said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments, it has been a wonderful and challenging adventure. I will be thinking and reviewing all of this for some time to come…It doesn’t happen just at the residency but long afterwards as well.