August 1: My dog has a propensity to need to go out into the garden in the wee small hours to check that the moon is still there. Once she’s confirmed this, she likes to bark at it. Incessantly. It is not her most endearing trait.
August 2: New trainers to replace a threadbare off-road pair, at the start of yet another phase of running. Who knows how long this one will last?
August 3: A test run for the new shoes on rainy moorland above my village.
August 4: A day of sewing – some new trousers, and a top that had been cut out but left languishing in a project bag for over a year. Both now complete and ready to wear.
August 5: Collecting Max the kitten from the vet.
August 6: This is a custard cream and there must be some reason why it was relevant to this particular day, but now, as I type three months later, I have no idea what that reason was.
edit: it’s come back to me – the biscuit was after giving blood for the first time in an age.
August 7: Garmin Connect map of a route round my village. To go anywhere I have to go up a hill, and as a beginning-yet-again runner I find this hugely frustrating.
August 8: A dog walk on Skipton Moor – one of my very favourite places for feeling a long way from anywhere, very close to home.
August 9: Transcription – the disconcerting sensation of listening to my own voice at 54% of its normal speed.
August 10: A day of heavy rain.
August 11: Leeds Print Workshop, where I did my fieldwork, are participating in a print exchange run by Manchester’s Hotbed Press, whereby participants give an edition of 25 prints that are 20cm square, any printmaking technique, and in return receive a selection of twenty prints from printmakers all over the world. After much dithering (and a bit if strongarming in the form of a Paddington stare from one of the LPW team) I agreed to take part.
August 12: My month in Aarhus looms, so today was spent zipping around in my little red car to get things sorted.
August 13: As I suspected might happen, my anxiety began to bubble up in anticipation of being away. Today was what I’d describe as spiky…
August 14: … whereas today felt more pingy.
August 15: Packing for a month away, when one has to take bedlinen and embroidery materials and fabric and towels and running shoes and drawing materials and electronic gadgets and all under 23kg – a seemingly impossible task.
August 16: A small plane for a big adventure.
August 17: Danish plug sockets have three holes, like British ones, but in Denmark the sockets appear to be smiling.
August 18: A view from the ‘rainbow panorama’ on top of ARoS art museum, on a very grey day.
August 19: I went for a walk round the old harbour, where many sailing boats are moored, and was very surprised to see a hare darting under a building. I live in the countryside and have only seen a couple of hares in the last ten years or so, so this one, in an urban/maritime context, was a rare treat.
August 20: I’m spending a month in the open workshops at Godsbanen cultural production facility, moving between the workshops and observing interactions between people. The ceramics workshop is always very busy, with people queuing up before it opens, so there’s a system to manage users that involves coloured perspex discs – yellow ones for experienced users, orange ones for users who might need more support from the workshop team.
August 21: I spent time in the metal workshop today, and discovered that ‘ambolt‘ is the Danish word for anvil.
August 22: Today marks 500 entries in this stitch journal, which I thought was worth an entry.
August 23: Today I’d been in the workshops in the morning, scooted into town to get a sandwich before a afternoon meeting, and as I sat on a bench in the park outside the Musikhuset to eat it, the thought came to me that I didn’t feel anxious. Not a bit. Not at all. I checked the corners of my head and couldn’t find a scrap of worry lurking. I’ve found Aarhus to be a calm place, despite being bigger than anywhere I’ve lived in a very long time – it feels more like a village than a city, and there’s a general feeling of calmness among people on the streets – a stark contrast with the increasingly febrile atmosphere in the UK at the moment.
August 24: A brief opportune conversation earlier in the week saw me spending today in the Spor6 darkroom, creating cyanotypes from images I’d hastily grabbed from the depths of my computer. I’d kind of forgotten how fun cyanotypes are, and how easy they are to make, especially in such brilliant sunshine as we encountered today. Barbara, who runs the darkroom, is also one of the members of Rum46, an experimental art space elsewhere in the city.
August 25: A walk round the city in the blazing sun. I had a coffee at the dome cafe by the docks and spent the day drawing buildings. Having nobody to answer to and no particular place to be takes some getting used to.
August 26: One aspect of dorm living that I find particularly challenging, after living in a house with its own washing machine for so many years, is navigating things like the shared laundry space.
August 27: Way back in May I’d submitted an abstract for a conference I was really keen to present at, but as the weeks ground on and I didn’t hear anything, I gave up hope and tried to put it out of my mind, thinking that it would be difficult to prepare a presentation while in Aarhus. Obviously this meant that the acceptance email arrived today, with around three weeks to go until the conference. I suddenly felt quite panicked, despite hearing the voice of one of my supervisors in the back of my mind, telling me that I didn’t have to accept, especially at such short notice. It seemed like a great opportunity and yet a source of worry too.
August 28: Lis, one of the textiles workshop team who is also a knitwear designer, invited me to join her women’s craft group for a presentation. I went along unsure about what I was letting myself in for, but while I couldn’t understand much of what was said, I found the presentation by Dorte Jensen, about her very fine applique portraits, fascinating nonetheless. I was able to talk to some of the women about my stitch journal and received generous feedback from very friendly faces, particularly Pelse, who runs an embroidery shop in Aarhus and is a hive of knowledge. It got me thinking about whether I should be brave and plan to meet my local Embroiderers Guild group when back in Skipton.
August 29: I went for a run round the botanical gardens; running seems to be going okay, so far.
August 30: A day spent making plans for an embroidery of the open workshops’ organisational ecosystem.