Monday June 01, 2015 - I spent part of the morning getting the blog up and running (and messing with our various tech/electronics - and we didn't even remember the swanky cannon rebel until Wednesday). Meanwhile, Laura and Ojars were working on updating the Pedvale image galleries on Facebook [here's a link to opening ceremony images https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.905358882858211.1073741861.100965273297580&type=3
and the delivery of the metal church roof (among other images of works at the park and behind the scenes stuff) are under the "photos" tab https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pedvale-Open-Air-Art-Museum/100965273297580?sk=photos_stream&tab=photos_stream] - internet was running a little slowly with all of us on at once!
An essential task for Monday was the inspection of the facilities and equipment for the various projects. Carl will be running an iron casting event and needed to inspect the furnace (which is in better shape than expected, thankfully). He is in communication with George Beasley about the requirements for his mold, but we're confident we have enough iron on hand (just need some Pedvale workers to bust it up for us).
We discussed the size of the concrete pad we'll need to print the large-scale woodblocks with a steamroller - blocks are 1 meter by 2 meters (I know metric is easier but I always have to remind myself what the sizes would be in feet and inches - 3 by 6 feet give or take). Another concern, as always near Midsummer, is wind and rain - so if we can't print outside there is a large workroom with a new concrete floor we can use (all we have to do is remove part of the wall to enlarge the door to accommodate the steamroller!) Looks like we have enough space to roll up blocks with ink AND run the steamroller inside if need be - of course, everyone wants the inking to take place inside and the printing to happen outdoors - we're hoping to attract an audience!
At the end of the day, Ojars ran us to Sabile quickly for food supplies. [He has a solo sculpture exhibition at the Synagogue building at the moment - really impressive wooden pieces - abstractions of different aspects of nature and weather, somewhat similar to some of his stone images, but these are also painted.]
Tuesday June 02, 2015
Ojars spent the day in Jurmala, working on a commission. He asked me to help Laura Miglone with a biography he needs to submit for an event in Scotland in September. As a result, I learned a great deal more about our amazing host. (The park is magical and amazing - but that is only part of Ojar's remarkable story.)
When Ojars Feldbergs was born, Latvia was under the control of the USSR; he attended vocational construction/builders college (his brother runs a monument and commercial stone carving business today) and did compulsory military service before attending the art academy's sculpture program (he graduated in 1976). He bought the Pedvale property in 1991 and has been organizing special events and symposia here since 1992 (he's published a book about the first 20 years of Pedvale's history).
In January 1991, the Baltic states were trying to achieve independence from the USSR, and the military moved in to intervene. After seeing the Soviet tactics against Lithuania, people in Riga erected barricades to block tanks from accessing primary targets (like the Parliament House, media broadcast buildings, etc). Ojars built one of these barricades with large stones from his Riga studio - and was later awarded a medal for his defense of the barricades. Info and images available here https://latvianhistory.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/386209_big.jpg
Ojars' other awards include Pedvale being honored with the UNESCO Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes in 1999 - http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/514
as well as being named an Officer of the Three Star Order (the Three Star Order is the highest civil distinction Latvia bestows; the stars are a reference to the three stars on the Freedom Monument) - http://www.president.lv/pk/content/?cat_id=1279&lng=en (and unless the internet is lying to me, Hilary Clinton was made a member of the Three Star Order [for her work as Secretary of State] in September 2014, she visited with Bill Clinton, first US president to visit a free Latvia, in 1994).
SO - I've had scotch poured for me by a freedom fighter and cultural hero of the Latvia people - not too shabby!
Wednesday June 03, 2015
A big day for me, especially - we traveled to Riga to get crucial supplies for the large-scale steamroller woodblock printmaking event. First, we met up with Laura Feldberga and went to a felt factory in Riga. Beautiful old machinery for making felt! Laura F. and Laura Miglone helped translate for me so we could find the right size and thickness - we got two pieces of felt, each should last for multiple uses (in the hopes that our event is successful and can be repeated easily in future). Next we went to the art academy (a truly beautiful building) to buy fabric from the art supply shop at the school. We got a lightweight canvas - more light gray than white, but not too heavy!
After lunch we saw an amazing exhibition at 5th RIGA INTERNATIONAL TEXTILE AND FIBRE ART TRIENNIAL -