I recently returned from Austria, having spent time in three cities (Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna) and in the beautiful mountains of the Tirol. As an artist it is impossible to 'switch off' and not be excited by new experiences and fresh horizons. Needless to say there was much to see and explore. So now I am home I need to reflect on all of this and consider what parts stand out and how these might filter through into my work. As the momentum of work in the studio had already been 'interupted', I have decided to give myself a few extra days to 'revisit' and 'absorb' the various experiences of Austria. There was so much to to inspire and discover.
So where do I to start?
It strikes me a good a place to begin will be recalling a few of the highlights which have left a strong impression. These may either relate to present work already underway or potentially inform new ideas. I will share something from each of the four centres visited starting with Innsbruck. The Tyrolean Folk Art Museum was an absolute delight. Housed in four wings of a former Franciscan monastery it was awarded European Museum of the Year, and for good reason. It is full of charm - it's collections tell the story of traditional life in this part of Austria. Wood abounds and was used for everything - from a building material to ornate tools, decorative objects and everyday items. The skill of the craftsman is evident everywhere.
An ornate weaving loom.
Decorated wooden drills Brush made from teasels.
Some delightfully humorous carved figures.
Moving through the various displays the visitor comes to some well preserved wood panelled buildings. Families would have lived together in one large room. These were relatively simple but sturdy dwellings. The rooms vary from being very sparse to more ornate, presumably reflecting the wealth of the occupants. I loved the dark interiors and was entranced by the the way the light fell through the old glass windows creating beautiful reflections across the rooms. I have always loved the dramatic contrast of light and dark and these images reminded me of a series of drawings of the interior of a chapel completed many years ago while still a fine art student.