Three months have gone by in the blink of an eye, with the first days of summer sunshine (and rain) making way for autumnal gold (and rain) and then snow!! for my opening!! (then rain). In that time both the temperature and the daylight hours have diminished to fractions of their former selves. I managed to complete one reduction linocut edition with letterpress, one artists’ book from collaged encyclopaedia illustrations, design Estonian werewolf ears and zine catalogues for the opening, and make two Sherlocks and 5 notebooks under Agnieszka’s expert tutelage. Before I know it I’m already on my long haul flight back to Australia, and while there’s so much more I wish I’d had the chance to do, there is so much from my time at TAiR that will stay with me forever.
I will miss you, Tartu, and the perversely nightmarish midday chimes of your Town Hall bell tower. I will miss the kindergarten chains of toddlers on their daily excursions through the streets in their high visibility vests. I will miss you, korter 31, with your view of Jaani Kirik and its dominating spire, from which even the geographically challenged such as myself can navigate their way home.
I will miss deliberating over the plethora of fermented milk products on offer, from keefir, hapupiim, kohupiim, kodujuust, jogurt, täispiim, hapendatud täispiim, skyr and rjaženka, even if I can’t tell the difference between half of you. I will miss you, turg, and your punnets of berries and mushroom I’ve never seen or tasted before. And how I will miss you, Muhu leib, the best rye bread known to humanity!
I will miss being able to get from one side of town to the other in 15 minutes on my faithful Golden Beam bicycle. You never let me down. Except for the time the brakes failed. But they got fixed! And then failed again. But got fixed again! And then failed for the third time. But hey, you still had foot brakes, even if ‘brake’ might be overstating their stopping power. I will miss the feel of wind (and rain) through my helmet-free hair on my daily commute to the Aparaaditehas, loaded up with my latest finds from the Uuskasutuskeskus.
I will miss you, Trükimuuseum, and my daily rummage through the mountains of Soviet-era books in search of cool retro covers for notebooks or the perfect folkloric or natural history illustrations for collages. I will miss Lemmit’s dry wit and the unguarded glimpses into his inner geek, Mana’s folkloric expertise and understated elegance, Salme’s emphatic enthusiasm for street art, Agnieszka’s delight at finding exactly the right cover or endpapers for her Sherlock or notebook, Jörgen’s unflappable optimism and helpfulness, Mira’s impressive competence, confidence and professionalism at the tender age of seventeen. I will miss the artists and students with whom I shared the studio space as they discovered the magic of the print medium.
And Estonia, I will miss your eclectic wooden houses, your glorious textiles, your apple trees groaning under the weight of so much fruit, your impenetrable grammar and your glut of female werewolves. Hüvasti ja suur aitäh! Ma kindlasti tulen tagasi!