Thursday, April 08, 2010

My first morning before 10am

There's lots of construction on a main drag that leads to City Hall, but this sign is also a good reminder to myself. I have been trying to take it easy and realized today as I talked to more people that as of tomorrow it will have been a week! One guy asked what I've made so far, and honestly, NOTHING--my studio has one piece of dirty plexiglass and two frames for a modified sugeta that I will likely not use. But I know I do not work well w/o heat and with cold hands, so I wasn't going to force myself to stay in a cold space. I was supposed to meet Holly to do galleries, but we kept missing each other so I ended up wandering alone, all downtown, very doable.

First, I went to the Linen Hall Library, which is delightfully cozy and has a cafe inside and a sweeping spiral-y staircase in the middle. Then I saw a photography exhibit by a man who has been going blind at P.L.A.C.E. I then tried to find two other places but failed, so instead I wandered up an escalator to a craft place, which was huge. It turned out to be Space CRAFT and I met Lotus, a jewelry artist who has lived in Belfast since she was 11, originally from Holland. I talked for a while with a wood artist (I already forget his name but know he lives and works in Newcastle) and got to see some of his work and talk about trees, which was eye-opening and heart-wrenching.

Lotus told me how to get to the other galleries I was looking for: Queen Street Studios and Catalyst Arts. The painter who was very patient buzzing me in at QSS was kind enough to open the gallery for me and then take me to the studios of the artists who were around. They were mostly painters but obviously hard-working as that studio also has no heat. When I walked around the block down an open alley to Catalyst, I knew I had trouble coming as a bunch of loud kids were hanging out. Sure enough, they yelled "Hong Kong" and what I guessed to be the Irish version of "ching chong" as I walked past. I was tempted to turn around and verify that they were trying to throw racial slurs, but figured it was best not to cause trouble in a pretty desolate area when outnumbered and not guaranteed that the man at the adjacent car park would actually come to my aid.

By then, I wasn't in the mood to venture further in the direction that had previously been pointed out to me as unsafe, so I went to the central library for research. I explained what I needed and that I couldn't borrow anything since I wasn't a Belfastian, and was pleased by the stack of materials that the librarian was so kind as to pull for me. I was looking at flax and linen history and loved comparing the engravings done in a very idyllic style with the photographs from factories, mills, and farms. I was shocked that they allow food and drink in the library but happy to be someplace warm and bright.

1 comment:

Frank said...

It sounds like you are having a good time exploring. I'm sorry to hear about the kids though. That really puts a damper on things and can make the choice for further exploration a stressful one to make. I had similar things happen in Korea (though it was much less menacing there) and it puts a damper on things. I think you were right just to keep walking--they were likely looking for trouble.