een Hand Gebonden Kunstenaarsboek '(The) Fairing(s)', the Artist's-Books Workshop,Vilnius
2009 a hand-bound Artist's-Book / le
Livre d'Artist / ein handgebundenes Künstler Buch / Mahler
Photograph thanks to my friend Chang-Soo
time' 16, 17, 18 - 10 - 2009
An island of some 98 kilometers that is mainly a group
of drifting sand-dunes. As beautiful as man may think it to be
today, it has been under great thread by man (as is man's universe
that he may consider to be the very basis of his existence anyway)
as long as mankind exists. Together with nature's great storms
in the region, and drought combined with the outbrakes of fires
in summer the island is under constant thread of 'walking away'
all together. The dunes have 'eaten' a few (more than 10) villages
after some time of deforestation (earlier in the 16th century
a first recorded dune formation began as a result of the same
'forces') mainly due to overgrazing but more specially as a result
of sudden and spectecular timber harvesting for the building
of boats for the siege of Königsberg (1757).
The Prussian government sponsored large-scale revegetation and
reforestation starting in 1825, as has many another governmental
body before and after.
There are father and son David, and George David Kuwert, owners
of a post station in Nida, privately doing some reforestation
and being loved for it ever since..
Baltic mythology the giantess Neringa,
as a child playing on the seashore, made the Curonian Spit.
The island has been inhabited since 3000 BC, and has
been left - or was ethnically cleansed - by many 'tribes', some
as dark as my well known Picts and Scoti, with whom they share
a history of being in clashes with early Vikings. Most of them
leaving a cultural heritage of which much has not been excavated
or studied. And then of course there is a great many number of
myths about who was rightfully or un-rightfully there.
The Curonian Spit has since 2000 been on UNESCO's World Heritage
List (cultural criteria V): "an outstanding example of a
traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative
of a culture [etc. etc.], or human interaction with the environment
especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of
Nida has a fine museum for Amber. Craftsmen and artists
work there through summer on new and traditional jewelry. Amber
is of course not found on the south-side of the 'almost-an-island',
but on the Baltic shore in the north, never more than some kilometers
away, sometimes even a few hundred meters.
Very special is a small part in a local grave-yard
with traditional 18th and 19th century, deeply romantic, wooden
These are inspiring for the cover I am to make for the series
of booklets my students will be making during the ever nearer
oncoming workshop, just as colours will be an inspiration for
some papers to be made, crafted if you like, from material some
students are to find in these dunes.
These days again I find the most perfect seafood dishes,
and the finest fresh salades.
The last evening at the academy's hotel we have a gathering in
the hall in which we throw together something of a party-meal
with the simplest of an 'autumnal-pimms', a fair few crackers,
and a most perfect Australian-Japanese Quakemole, to be finished
with the highlight of the evening: a Chinese Green Tea as could
only come from our most dear Chinese-World-Compatriot. The whole
thing very much a students home-coming.
On the way back we will follow the river between Russia
and Lithuania. During this tour, again, the tension is felt,
it reminds me of the border between Holland and Germany in the
fifties, time has been to short. Forgive me for being an idealist,
as I have forgiven so many Christians for being Christians, I
keep thinking that "We must live peacefully in the European
House together with all its windows and doors" as it was
frased by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, will be an option, if not the
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