Becoming a Stone


Becoming a Stone

By: Rachel Mercer

Published in the 2014 October-December issue of Iceland Review & Atlantica – IR 05.14. Words by Rachel Mercer, Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“The idea of the stone coat is really simple. I thought it would be nice to have the opportunity to be a stone for a moment. It’s just nice to take a break sometimes and feel complete silence where you don’t need to think about anything,” says textile artist Ýr Jóhannsdóttir, or Ýrúrarí, who is a student at the Reykjavík School of Visual Art.

“My initial inspiration for the project was to make something as cold and hard as a stone become warm and wearable. Translating a stone into a coat was a really exciting challenge.”

I Am a Stone was three to four weeks in the making. Ýr mostly used a Brother 950i knitting machine but the moss and braids are handmade.

Ýr made the stone coat this summer as part of the project Skapandi sumarstörf (‘Creative Summer Jobs’), run by local authorities in Kópavogur, a town just outside Reykjavík.

The objective is to provide young and talented residents, ages 18-25, with a platform to work on their art creations while on a break from school, and at the same time boost the town’s cultural life with exhibits and performances during the summer months.

The project ends with a ‘harvest festival’ where participants showcase the summer’s labors and this is where Ýr premiered I Am a Stone.

“I came up on stage wearing the stone coat and briefly introduced the project. Then I did a performance where Ilay down and tried to look as much like a stone as I could in complete silence for some minutes. The crowd really liked it and I was happy with the outcome.”

Published five times a year, the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe.