Soon I’ve picked every berry in the garden! So far we’ve made black currant cordial, red currant jelly with mint, red berry syrup and red gooseberry marmalade. The husband has made “No mango sauce”, a hot sweet fruity chili sauce with lots of canned fruit but no mango(hence the name), and the traditional thai garlic chili jam Nam Prik Phao. It’s like Santas workshop in the kitchen. I’ve also been baking loads of cakes. Every weekend during summer we keep the gallery open and soon it’s time for the yearly “Art wave”. The busiest weekend for us of the whole year. We’re planning on selling plenty of cakes, garden goodness and hopefully some of my photographs as well. I’ve invited another artist to sell her glass artwork in the gallery. She thought it would be fun to combine our products so we did a little photo shoot of her glass vases and some of the little chicks. What is it they say? Never work with kids or animals…well we had a lot of fun but it sure wasn’t easy! I made some quick prints in the darkroom before the weekend, now they say it’s gonna rain for a week so I’ll have lots of time to make more without feeling guilty about missing out on the sunshine. The youngest chicks got rained on for the first time today, they weren’t happy at all! They all let me catch them without trouble to go under the heating lamp in the basement. Growing fast I’m pretty sure they can stay out in the henhouse with the rest soon but I’ll pamper them just a little bit longer…
August is turning into a wet month… At the weekend all artists on Hönö and surrounding islands opened their studios or homes to the public. Konstvågen (the Art wave) is a yearly thing and this was the fifth year I participated. After the wet plate gathering last week I was really itchy to have some plates done so I gave my last plate holder a little seeing to with sandpaper and tape. It held for 3 portraits before it broke in two pieces. Doesn’t sound much but I was happy with finally making one! The day after I used the smaller camera and took a few more portraits of visitors. The weekend was great with loads of people braving the wind and rain showers. We sold lots of “fika”, hot sauces and pictures and postcards as well. I felt a bit blue on Monday, it was so much fun taking pictures of the public but with my equipment playing up I can’t do it. My husband finally had enough of my whining and told me to just buy a new camera so now I have! I can’t wait for it to arrive!
So I decided earlier this year that this would be a wet plate year, no actually, THE wet plate year. I also have a another great big plan but it’s too early to spill the beans… Anywho, I started out building my wet plate box with stuff I had but soon realised that I wanted the box to be long lasting, sturdy and nice looking so I took a bike ride to the wood shop. Bought big boards of plywood and while figuring out how to fasten it to my bike-trolly one of the guys working there stopped and asked if I needed assistance(the perks of being female is sometimes very rewarding). He was nice enough to cut the wood into the measurements I had in my head. I cycled back and started building. Only problem was the plywood was a bit bent but I just worked on feeling and didn’t mind the measurements too much. The chicks came to watch and then suddenly I see movement and look up, there’s a huge seagull there! Almost inside the barn. I followed it around for a while taking pictures and making sure that it wasn’t injured, it could fly so that was not the case, but it was not a bit scared of me or the hens. It got me thinking of the story my 96 year old neighbour told me about the seagull who used to steal peoples underwear from the beach, fly far out and drop them in the sea! I’ve spent most of my time lately working on the box but also clearing another wall in the gallery. Somehow I got that huge kitchen cabinet down and turned upside down, on my own, without being squashed. I do need some storage space so I’m keeping it but it needs a lick of paint and some textile where the doors were. As always when I get into these creative swirls there’s a moment where I stop and look around, thinking -did I create this mess?? My husband having a Frank Zappa-week has helped me heaps, forcing me outdoors. Oh well, tomorrow is the big day, trying out my new box!
The gallery was open at the weekend. 3 photographers and me had pictures on show and also selling cakes and postcards. I had put Christmas lights up on the outside and framed the windows with green branches. Thought to buy Christmas tree branches from the flowershop but realised that I had everything I needed in my garden. It looked so nice, cosy and Christmassy! Bloody freezing though. The temperature dropped to a few minus degrees(celsius) and there is no heat in the barn whatsoever. In the evening I walked around indoors wearing 2 pairs of stockings, a pair of trousers, slippers, hat, woolly scarf and 3 jumpers to warm up… Saturday we had lots of visitors but Sunday not many people braved the biting icy wind. The hens don’t seem to mind the cold. At one time they all came up to the barn, to peoples amusement. All in all a great weekend though! We sold my husbands sourdough bread and lots of jars with Nam prik pho and rest of the blackberry jam I made in autumn. I couldn’t help myself buying one of the other photographers photos so now I have a small collection on my wall(well two) and not only my pictures. I sold a few handmade necklaces as well as photos. A few weeks ago I started making them. The first ones looked fantastic and I was overjoyed for a few days, until a couple of days later when they had gone green. Panic! After lots of Googling I found out that loads of people have had the same problem. Now I’ve swapped glue and clean the glass, same as I do with the wet plates and it seems to do the trick! it’s so much fun making them and they look great. I don’t have to buy Christmas presents this year.
The paper promised 18°c and sunshine today and it was too good to be true. A very bright day but cold wind so now I find myself on the sofa warming up under a tonne of blankets after many hours outdoors. Successful and pleasant day though, I love giving workshops. You always learn new things yourself, today I learnt lots of Stockholm photography words which are apparently completely different from Gothenburg lingo. My Stockholm student had in his daze(having to leave for Gothenburg at 4am in the morning) left his negatives at a McDonalds in another town so we had to use whatever was nearby like feathers, plants and fabric. I had a short lunch break for newly baked sourdough bread, raspberry and pomme granat marmalade and cheddar cheese. My workshop participants where too busy to take a break. I know the feeling, when you are on a roll you don’t feel hunger. They made plenty of prints and were very happy and surprised how easy Cyanotype is. I’m going to make up a big batch next week and do some more myself!
Started this morning with grinding up the chillies I’ve had hanging in my window, in my husbands coffee grinder. Note to myself: Remember to wash it out carefully. The plan was chilli flakes but turned out to be a powder. Looks great and smells great! Note to myself: Do not stick your nose to close to the jar of freshly made chilli powder and inhale.
Went on to mix some chemicals for my wet plates. I haven’t done any wet plates in ages. Sometimes it’s nice with a break and now I start to feel my fingers become trigger happy and missing photography. So I mixed the Collodion and the salts I need and fresh developer. Also important not to stick your nose to close. I try to take every pro-caution I can, wearing a mask and avoiding the strongest chemicals if they can be swapped for something else. This time I decided to try out Frances &Scully Osterman’s recipe. The collodion looked like cloudy lemon juice when mixed but I’m sure it will clear eventually. I also did a light proof test with the few film holders I have left. They take such beating from the silver. The test showed I have two left to use which was more than I thought I had. Also light proofed the camera. The bellows are so riddled with holes it’s a miracle that I’ve had any plates done with it. Now it ain’t pretty no more but it will hopefully do the trick!