We took a road trip to the North and planned to visit Akureyri, Dalvik and Siglufjörður. On our way to Akureyri, we stopped to visit the Atlantic Leather Factory. We had heard that we could learn about the production of the fish skin used by designers and artists around Iceland. We met with the General Manager of the company who also gave us a tour of the entire factory. We saw animal skins in preparation to be cleaned and dried. He showed us their experimental collection that included products made out of shark skin.
Most importantly though, he walked us through the process of preparing fish skins to be sold. The fish that they use are cod, perch, salmon, and catfish. They take the skin off and soak it in a chemical that removes the scales. Next, they dye the skins according to the order that was placed. Then, they staple the skins on wood panels so that they dry straight. Some of their clients are Prada, Dior, Nike, Ferragamo and Puma.
We then continued to Akureyri, "the capital of the North." We stayed at a very nice hostel called Akureyri Backpackers right in the town center. During our first day we went on a hike through Kjarnaskogur, a park and hiking area in Akureyri. We observed a much different landscape compared to what we saw in the South. It was very green and the weather felt like summer for the first time.
After our hike we checked out the Akureyri Art Museum which was more like a gallery of contemporary art. It was dominated by video pieces and photography. The most striking part was a series of videos about heroin addicts and the lengths they would go to obtain it. For example, one video was shot in San Juan, Puerto Rico of two men who allowed someone to shave a 10 inch line on their heads for a shot. The following day we went to the house of Hlynur Halsson (http://www.hallsson.de/cv.html), who is part of the Independent People Exhibition in the Reykjavik Museum of Art. We spent about two hours talking about the Icelandic art scene and the use of traditional elements of Icelandic culture in contemporary works. He told us to go to The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum in Safnasafnið to get a better understanding of this concept. We spent half the day there because they had a great collection of works, and an extensive library of art books. It was a great visual resource for Nazli especially the books on Icelandic patterns and textiles. Hlynur also told us to stop by Verksmiðjan, an art collective in Hjalteyri on the way to Dalvik. It was housed in an old herring factory and only open for three hours a day. It was more of a space for installations like the one in the video above.