Wednesday, June 28, 2023

part 4 :: long weekend in berlin :: an unexpected mural at the park inn

in 2018, this mural - a colorful work of ceramics and glass - was uncovered behind a wall at the park inn in berlin. it's the tall building right beside the tower that's the symbol of berlin. it was the pride of east berlin in its day and today, it's a radisson. public art was a big deal in east germany and this beautiful, colorful work is just one example from 1970s berlin. one could easily be inspired by these same colors today. 

down in one corner, there were two names and they made a public appeal to find those people. gertraude pohl came forward to say that she was the pohl part of the signature. walk had made the ceramics and as the story was told to me, i don't know whether they came forward. gertraude had the sketches she had made of the work, back in the early 70s. and through them, she helped with the restauration.

four of the restored panels can be seen at the hotel today. the other five have disappeared without a trace. perhaps into the home of some art collector. or maybe they ended up in storage somewhere and they will be similarly rediscovered sometime in the future. i hope it's the latter. 

* * *

oh, and i found an article about it online here - just use the google translate function if you, like me, don't read german. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

part 3 :: long weekend in berlin :: do you read me?

i didn't have anything in particular that i wanted to do while we were in berlin, except for one thing - i hoped to find this bookstore again. it's really more of a magazine store and we visited it long ago when blog camp went to berlin. i didn't remember the name (despite how clever it is!), but i was so hoping it was still there. i didn't remember the name of it, but i knew it wasn't far from clärchens ballroom. i remembered correctly and it was indeed still there.

it doesn't have any normal magazines, just small, esoteric ones from independent presses. and it's so hard to pick just a few. i could have stayed much longer, but as it was, i did have a good browse. and i managed to pick just two to take home.

i'm working on a podcast about danish design right now and it seemed like so many of the magazines were about design. funny how that works when you're immersing yourself in a topic, it's suddenly everywhere.

do you read me - what a perfect name for a little independent bookstore. i'm so glad there are still such places in the world and that there were so many people visiting on a sunny saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

part 2 :: long weekend in berlin :: hamburger bahnhof

there was an open house at the hamburger bahnhof, which is the national art gallery, on the weekend we were there. that meant free admission! yay!

the bones of the old train station were visible and it made for some great spaces. there was lots of interactive art going on and gertraude even called her daughter to bring her grandson, who they knew would love it. they spent the rest of the afternoon there, after emmy and i went off to find some lunch.

eva fábregas made these enormous, tactile sculptural pieces that were in the main hall when you came in, but they were somehow cool and a little bit disturbing at the same time.

lots of little side rooms had interactive projects, where you could contribute. these bits of yarn made visual the connections and entanglements between people. 

american artist christina quarles was featured upstairs. she had curated the exhibition as well and there were all these cool elements involving screens and art on top of art that lent a cool and fresh perspective.

her own works were very bold and colorful and the orange vinyl laid over was really interesting, expanding the work beyond the border of the canvas.

the works behind the screens were part of the museum's collection and were chosen by christina to complement her work and all displayed behind these screens.

i hadn't seen her work before and found it quite thought-provoking.

there was an amazing exhibition of the work of fred sandback in the other wing and this picture by no means does it justice. it consisted of very simple lengths of yarn discreetly strung. you could walk into the middle of the works and it was weirdly moving in its simplicity. 

loved these giant flowers in the entrance to the "a collection for the 21st century" part of the exhibition. my brain had taken in a lot by then and i'll admit i didn't appreciate it as much as i maybe should have.

but this enormous ombre cloth was cool. but by then, i was getting "museum legs" and just needed to leave and sit down and let all of the visual impressions simmer in my mind. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

part 1 :: long weekend in berlin :: gracious hosts

i went to berlin with a friend. she wanted to visit some old friends who she hadn't seen in nearly 20 years, so we hopped on the train (at 5:30 a.m.!) and headed down for a long weekend. on the first afternoon, we happened upon a super cute little bar called misirlou and had a cocktail. it was so nice, we made it our "regular" and went back every day of our trip. emmy hadn't tried aperol spritz before, but she was hooked. i had the mezcal sour. yummy!

her friend, gertraude pohl, is an artist. she and her husband were famous artists in the old east germany and in fact, the last time emmy was there was for his funeral. gertraude is still a working artist and her two daughters are carrying on their father's woodworking legacy in a studio at the back of their home.

they live in the loveliest home - half of a huge, three story house on the line between lichtenberg and pankow. they were the most gracious hosts and we enjoyed a beautiful lunch when we arrived - a delicious balsamic potato and tomato tart and elderflower lemonade.

the home was filled with objects collected over a long lifetime and it was so comfortable and inspiring. there was something interesting to see and be curious about, no matter where you looked.

shelves filled with interesting books, big windows with plenty of natural light pouring in. 

art - made by gertraude and norbert and others on the walls and shelves. there's even a candlestick by my favorite danish ceramicist in the middle of the shelf. 

a mix of furniture collected over a lifetime, which somehow just all worked together.

small collections and gatherings of mementos that invite you to have a closer look and ask to hear their stories.

gertraude's work on the wall in the living room.

norbert's woodwork on the top shelf, photos, books, and just a warm, cozy, inviting feeling. it was really inspiring to be there. gertraude didn't speak english, but her daughter, who lives with her, did and so we muddled through in a mix of english, german and danish. we had a lot of interesting conversations and i learned so much about east germany and how life was in east berlin. 

Sunday, June 04, 2023

garden progress

may 19

may 21

may 28

june 4

it's so amazing the difference just a few weeks, a bit of watering and some sunshine makes. i'm doing these photos every sunday for the rest of the garden season. 

Friday, June 02, 2023

jordbo (earth dweller)

i decided recently that i need to get back to reading actual books. i listen to a lot of audio books, since i can do that in the car, or while mowing the lawn, cooking or puttering in the garden, but i need to hold a book in my hand and read again. no stupid homescapes on my phone or "just a few tiktoks" that turn into an hour. 

the author of this book was on our walk and wool tour the other day and read a lovely excerpt and seemed like such a lovely and thoughtful person, i knew i wanted to find the book. so when i passed by the bookstore in copenhagen where i knew it could be found, i went in to look for a copy.

the store is called brøg litteraturbar - it's a little indie bookstore and café and it looked like the kind of place i would feel very much at home. i could see why this book from a small, esoteric press would be available there. i looked around and found the book and browsed a little bit more. it's truly a lovely little store. 

the woman at the cash register was having a lively, warm conversation with the person ahead of me. but when i stepped to the cash register, her warmth vanished and she didn't say a single word to me. not even to tell me the amount. and she didn't ask if i wanted a bag for my book or anything. it was so strange. and very awkward.

i immediately felt flooded with a kind of shame. what had i done? i was in a good mood and she had been prior to waiting on me. was it just that i wasn't one of the regulars and she didn't know me? did she not like the book i was buying? did she hate my tattoos? was she resentful that i was carrying a small bag from sephora? she did look like the type who wouldn't approve of makeup. was that it? 

i approached the counter thinking that i would mention that i had met the author on a walk over the weekend and have a nice little chat, but she was completely closed to me and i didn't get the chance. she almost seemed angry at me. so puzzling. 

and while i've thought a lot about it since, in the moment, i managed to keep myself from letting it ruin my day. whatever it was, it was clearly her and not me. and while i do have the odd thought of writing it all as a google review, i think i would be a better person and a better earth dweller (that's what the name of the book means) if i don't.