While in Akureyri we met with a felter that I'd been in touch with about teaching here, Anna Gunnarsdottir.
I've known her for her lovely sea-inspired sculptural shapes that are also exquisite as lights/lampshades. But our visit also made me aware of her love for leather work too! Particularly with fish skins - she showed me 2 dresses and a jacket she had designed and sewn from fish skins for a show recently.
And so EXTRAORDINARY were 2 bags she made from leather she tanned herself (but I didn't get photos - sorry) . What was unusual was the source of the leather she used. She went to the slaughterhouse and got the stomachs of a cow and of a sheep. She tanned the stomachs and then cut/stitched them into bags.
As she said thru a grimace remembering her slaughterhouse experience - we try to use every aspect of what we have. What was so interesting about the bags was that the stomach has a hexagonal (or maybe it was pentagonal?) structure to it (I didn't know this since I don't eat tripe). Particularly the sheep's stomach had very pronounced hexagonal/pentagonal cells that were quite deep and this gave a very interesting design/surface texture to the bags.
These are some photos I did ask permission to take to share - the one above shows Anna standing in her gallery in Akureyri . beneath some lovely light fixtures she has felted and one to the side here is of another wall hanging she made which I originally mistook for bolts of eco-dyed fabric! You can see more of her sculptural work on her facebook page here
It was at first surprising to hear from Anna that there isn't really a big community of felters in Iceland. But when you consider how few people there are (under 350,000) and how spread out they are (remember the 2 square kilometers per person from a previous post!!!), I guess it is inevitable. I guess it is also the reason why yarn is sold in grocery stores and grocery stores sell horseshoes too!
Tomorrow....some handknits for Vigdis!