My husband, Dragan, who is a native Serb, our 10 year old son, Aleks and I have embarked on an adventure, by moving to Belgrade from England for 8 months. These are excerpts from my weekly diary.
Printmaking in Belgrade
Linocut prints & inking up the lino by Ali Savic at the 'Centar za Grafiku' (Printmaking Centre) in Belgrade.
As a friend put it, 'now begins the printmaking  part of my journey in Serbia'. I've been printmaking for about seven years now at the Double Elephant Print Workshop  in England, and am really excited to have started printing at the 'Centar za Grafiku'  (Printmaking Centre) at the The Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. The Academy, which overlooks Kalemegdan Park, also has two galleries and a framing shop.
How did I make the Prints?
The prints above are linocut relief prints, printed on gorgeous Fabriano paper. I made some simple sketches of my impressions of Belgrade, a tram, a woman wrapped up for the cold, some folk dancers and the wonderful 20th century concrete high-rise. The sketches were just a guide and I enjoyed adding elements when I was cutting out the design from the lino. After an initial proof and a bit more cutting I started reeling them off! There were lots of tricky issues, as I was using an intaglio press (rolling) instead of a relief press (stamping), but one of the master printmakers at the centre set me straight. (There are a lot of facilities at the centre, but no relief presses.)
Visiting a family Farm
This weekend was 'Sveti Jovan' (Saint John's saint day) in Serbia, so yup, you guessed it, another 'Slava'! (saint day celebration) . In fact we went to FOUR family 'Slavas' over the two days. 'Sveti Jovan' Slava is one of the three most celebrated Slavas in Serbia, along with 'Sveti Arandjel Mihailo' and 'Sveti Nikola'. One of Dragan's cousins has a small farm in a village near the capital and so the obligatory pig was roasted on the spit in situ for 'Sveti Jovan'. Here's some pictures of the farm, the hut where meat is smoked and a tray of lovely little homemade cakes called 'Kolači' served at 'Slava'. (If you'd like to read more about 'Slava', then scroll down to my earlier blogposts). Needless to say our car struggled back to Belgrade, with us three, full to the brim with delicious food and bags of roast meat, 'kolači' and farm eggs in the boot.
Back in Belgrade, I visited the must-see, 'Crkva Cvetog Aleksandra Nevskog'  (Church of St. Alexander Nevsky). The architect, Jelisaveta Načić,  was the first woman to graduate as an architect in Belgrade and in the whole of Serbia. The Church, completed in 1929, has the most exquisite frescoes, but appears to be unfinished, I noticed scaffolding, possibly for the fresco painters. It is a gorgeous haven in a busy part of town.