A lot has happened in the past year, artwork has been created, travel has been taken, more ice has been seen.
I had been hard pressed to get Svalbard out of my mind, particularly when sweating through an ever hotter summer season. When I got married, my husband and I decided we wanted to go to Iceland for our honeymoon. Decisions were made, life happened, and we delayed, the trip became a maybe - immaqa.
We took a lot of time, remade and expanded plans, then finally experienced a wealth of demanding landscapes, glaciers, and icebergs together in Greenland and Iceland. It became apparent very quickly that the theme word for both Greenland and Iceland is: maybe. We heard it regularly through our backpacking expedition in Greenland and I recollected very similar experiences while on the Antigua in Svalbard. The landscape plans for you and can change its mind in the blink of an eye.
"We will begin our day at 9:30, paddle for several hours and then break -- maybe"
"The weather is looking bad, we may not be able to hike where we were planning -- maybe"
"Mashed potatoes for dinner -- maybe"
Our group, a peppering of avid backpackers and kayakers from around the world, heard this so much it became our joke and we needed to know how to say it in Greenlandic - Immaqa (imm ă ka, for pronunciation)
Once we arrived in Narsarsuaq, Greenland we immediately started our expedition, over water. Paddling through fjords littered with icebergs. Huge pieces of ice. 90% of an iceberg is submerged underwater, the visible portion of some of these icebergs were larger than apartment buildings. We paddled probably a bit too close, but they were magnificent. In our time in this area of Greenland we heard no shortage of ice breaking apart. I would be jolted awake in my tent to what sounded like explosions. A constant reminder that our world's ice is moving more rapidly and melting with a similar pace.
This trio of Northern locations, Greenland, Iceland, and Svalbard, were all rich with floating ice. All of the ice that I have witnessed has become part of our oceans. At this moment they no longer exist.
The Real and the Re-imagined
Since returning from Svalbard in 2016, I have wanted to tangibly re-create the ice I saw, touched, and paddled through. I spent quite a long time pondering the most successful way to make this idea come to life, including an intentional use of print. I thought and drew through armatures and molds - would I use glass? It seemed so close, but still not fully realized.
It was when I landed on the use of woodcut originals with encaustic paints that it all seemed to fall into place. Shout out to R&F Handmade Paints for their incredible materials (visit, take classes, experiment - it's worth it) I began carving an expanding set of unique woodcut icebergs.
The woodcuts are then cast into silicone molds. I can
now pull multiples by filling the molds with encaustic. The beeswax base to this material cools quickly, allowing me to make an abundance in a short time period.
I have an ice field in wax.
Hundreds of small replicas of the monolithic, melting giants. Their importance is magnified by the pure numbers in the installation.
Unlike their water-based companions Ice Field will not melt away before our eyes, but perhaps with enough sunlight...