In the past two years, US artist Amy Tavern has spent much of her time working in Iceland. In 2013 she made Island of 14,264 Days, a textile work which took a month to finish and saw her stitching for hours every day. Here Amy shares some insights on the ideas and processes behind the island she created.
"Island of 14,264 Days is an imaginary place that represents my life. It presents my experiences as an independent landmass seen at once in a faraway and a close-up view. It is also as a self-portrait, an abstract interpretation of my persona and physical form.
"Making the piece during an artist residency in Iceland, I was constantly inspired by the environment, the weather, and the isolation of my location. The shape of the island was not predetermined. Instead, it formed intuitively, knot by knot, with needle and thread. I used an embroidered knot for its inherent texture, pattern, and layering possibilities to mimic lichen and moss, and to symbolise the act of not forgetting. I utilised only one stitch, the Colonial knot, as a way to create focus and add to the contemplative process.
"The island is white to reference Iceland and to symbolise solitude, honesty, and the beginning of something new - feelings and states of being that I was present with as the work developed. I felt it necessary to slow down and consider each moment individually and collectively. Embroidery was the perfect way to do this; it is an innately slow and methodical technique. The moments captured in the countless knots comprise the number of days I had lived when I completed the piece, as the island itself established a place of existence and home for me."
Earlier this year Amy returned to Iceland and produced a second piece, Island of 14.874 days. The work uses dark shades to reveal a near mirror image of its white companion. Both are shown in the gallery below, along with a selection of other works inspired by the artist's time in the land of ice and fire.
Visit Amy Tavern's website.
Amy Tavern is an artist from the United States. Her work is based on memory and, although autobiographical, refers to shared experience and universal themes. Amy has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo shows in the U.S., Belgium, and Sweden. She has taught and lectured across the U.S. and in Europe, and her work as a metalsmith has been included in numerous publications, most notably, the cover of Metalsmith Magazine. Through the creation of objects and spaces, Amy strives to make the fleeting more permanent, preserving her memories and connecting with her audience.