Iceland: Fire, Earth, Water (2016)

In September 2016, I visited Iceland – the most extraordinary place I have ever seen. While driving around the whole island, we saw an incredible range of landscapes and natural colour. Visiting Iceland was like visiting another planet. The landscapes are shaped by the forces of nature which has remained unspoiled until the present day. The whole experience was magical and I have so many memories that I know I will always look back to.

I chose to shape the Colour Project around my experience of Iceland, but it wasn’t long until I realised how difficult it would be to choose from so many beautiful landscapes and colour palettes. After three weeks of experimenting and creating, I realised I was working on three separate mini-projects. Even though this was not a long term project, I decided to continue working with these three projects, and not choose only one.

Iceland: Fire, Earth, Water (2016)

While in Iceland, we visited a glacier called Vatnajokulspjogardur, in the south. The glacier has been retreating and becoming thinner because of Earth's climate becoming warmer due to human activities. People from Iceland care about the nature and it is clear that they are trying to protect it. There are signs around the glacier explaining the change, how the glacier used to look a few years ago and how they think it will look in the future. 

The experience of seeing icebergs and glaciers was breathtaking. The different hues of blue, grey, green and purple and the shapes and patterns on the icebergs were beautiful. I took a lot of photos and then created digital prints which I printed on different silk fabrics. I then dipped them into melted wax, trying to recreate iceberg shapes and structures, playing with the transparencies of the fabrics. 

While driving around Iceland, we visited a lot of caves. I took photos of the rock formations found in different locations. Because of the island's volcanic activity the structures and shapes of the rocks are unique and vary depending on location. In order to recreate the textures of the rock formations, I experimented with clay. 

Looking at the colours of the seaweeds found in South Iceland, I painted on acetate, capturing the texture, colour and transparency. I then photographed the pieces of acetate together, by layering, and decided to use a digital ceramic process to print the photos on clay pieces. I digitally printed on both flat and textured ceramic pieces. 

For me, this project was about colour, materials, but also process. Rather than having a finished piece, I tried to express the variety of what I saw and experienced in Iceland by endless experimentation.

Icelandic landscapes are shaped by the forces of nature and remain mostly unspoilt and untouched as the island is barely populated (there are more sheep than people living in Iceland). Iceland's nature is breathtaking, varying from deep fjords, to volcanic deserts, through to colourful marble-like mountains, astonishing waterfalls and glaciers. The next photo was taken at a mountain called "Brennisteinsalda" in the South of Iceland. The mountain created a landscape with one of the widest spectrums of natural colour I have ever seen. The name of the mountain means "Sulphur Wave" and it comes from the sulphur spots which have coloured the sides of the mountain. 

Iceland: Fire, Earth, Water (2016)

Visiting Iceland, one of the most mesmerising places was Hverir, a geothermal field located in the Northeast. Solfataras, fumaroles, boiling mud pots and sulphur crystals of many different colours were surrounding us. Due to the volcanic activity, you can see black and blue colours from the lava and the ashes, green from the moss, red from the iron and yellow/gold from the sulphur. 

Trying to convey how chemical reactions affect colour, I experimented with copper sheets and copper mesh and their reaction to ammonia. 

Iceland: Fire, Earth, Water (2016)

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