In the last two weeks, with great help from Kim Nicholas, I’ve been guiding a sketching workshop at LUCSUS – Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, exclusively for the sustainability master programme students. The idea is a simple one, and Kim loved it from the start: to show young people with no direct academic connection with arts that they can learn how to draw!
We held two workshops already and everybody seems to be responding well. The two hours spent focusing on blind drawing exercises turn out to be quite fun and relaxed. All but a couple of all the students don’t sketch regularly, so we were breaking new ground there! After a while the concentration levels go up and from then on the sketching quality improves exponentially. My hopes for these classes is that most of these guys get the notion that starting to sketch is as easy as looking at any given object, and that sketching is indeed seeing reality as it is!
In the end, we did a fun exercise which was suggested by sketcher João Catarino – a frankenstein-making marathon! We faced each other in pairs and had one minute for a blind line portrait which should remain unfinished. When the time was up, everybody would switch partners and continue the portrait with a new face. Some of the results were remarkably recognizable! Here’s my contribution. It’s a frankenstein-portrait of an actual couple that just happened to get merged in my sketchbook. Thanks Theo and Ann.
Lundasylt is finally ready! It was prepared by Chef Bianca, from Biancas Kök and Teresa from Fruktsam with the help of dozens of volunteers. The fruit to make this delicious jam was picked from public places in and around Lund. Then, all the ingredients were prepared by the volunteers at Mötesplats Maggan. The cooking process also took part there. The laborious final part was filling the jars and tagging them with the labels that I designed. The whole process is described here.
The jam was sold out to the public in the Harvest Festival in Lund Stadsparken. Unfortunately I couldn’t be present at the festival to sketch or to help out with the sale. Patrícia was there on my behalf and took some pictures of the stand.
Anna is almost turning eight. She suddenly and unexpectedly becomes rich, and she knows exactly what to do with the money. This is the premise for Emma Fäldt‘s new children’s book – Anna Tizianna – with illustrations from Josephine Nicander. The book launch was in a quaint little greenhouse in Lund’s Stadsparken. There were autographs from the author and a short reading from the author’s mother.
I got one! If I manage to finish it, I’ll be proud of my swedish-speaking abilities.
So it goes when sketching becomes a tool for meeting people and networking. I had met Marie Flood some months ago, during the exhibition at Martas Café. She was there as part of a fanzine market and we talked about meeting afterwards to sketch together. And we did, during a sunny afternoon – way too sunny for this latitude. We sought the relief of shade and the comfort of caffeine and talked for hours about art, architecture, people and ourselves before we even laid pen on paper.
When we finally did, I was happy that I chose an A4 sketchbook, so that the background would fit together with her portrait. I also had the chance to go through Marie’s impressive sketchbook. It was inspiring for me not only because of the quality of her sketches, but also because she sketches mainly from her imagination – something that doesn’t come naturally to me any more after years of sketching what I see. She says imagination is like a muscle and needs practice. I guess she’s right. It’s like every other skill.
SFI, or Svenska för invandrare is the swedish language course that all communal schools for adults provide to immigrants – free of charge. If you have a swedish ID, you get to get classes. It’s not easy to get out of work two times a week to cycle to the boundaries of the city for a two-and-a-half hours of classes, but the teachers there make it feel as smooth and easy-going as possible. Plus, you get to meet people from all over the world.
In the last class of the term, a few days ago, the school invited us for a little mingling between classes, some snacks and some singing along. Typical swedish songs for the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer (Den blomster tid nu kommer, Idas sommarvisa, Oh boy!, this last one by swedish blues and reggae musician Peps Persson).
And yesterday was the final level exam day. Around 4 hours of testing of reading, listening, writing and speaking, with a lot of breaks. A long day, hopefully, with a happy ending.