“I feel like this experience has really energized me. Visiting a completely different environment like Iceland was inspiring on so many different levels.”
Meredith Setser’s artistic eye was drawn to the extreme contrasts of Iceland. Her husband and 7-year-old son joined her on a trip along the entire coast of the island nation, known for both its piercing ice and searing lava. “The majority of my current works focus on an exploration of landscape and ecological systems, so the trip to Iceland served primarily as a reference gathering opportunity,” Setser said. Physically engaging with her artistic subject was a departure from her usual means of finding inspiration (i.e., through periodicals and online). Setser took hundreds of photos of rock formations, from detailed basalt surfaces to lava flows, though the process was far from easy. “The winds are typically close to gale force at all times,” she said, estimating 70- mph wind speeds on average. “I went through 2 camera lenses while I was there due to scratches from lava sand being propelled at high speeds.”
Now, back in Indianapolis, Setser is still creating based on her fellowship. Some of her work is already circulating around the U.S. in printmaking exhibitions, such as the Austin Contemporary Printmaking Exhibition in Austin, TX and Indy’s own faculty exhibition at the Herron School of Art + Design. “I find myself using a more subdued palette in cooler colors than I normally use in my 2D pieces,” she said. “The textile works have become thicker, heavier,
and more dimensional for some reason and much more monochromatic,” reminiscent of the silvers and grays often found in Iceland’s woollen textile art. She can easily imagine herself producing work inspired by her creative renewal journey for the next several years.