In 2014 I was working on a residency in Asturias (Spain) after finishing my masters project, Insula. It was a welcome break from working on my intensely emotional masters project. Based in Oviñana, a small village on the northern coast, I was investigating what makes people move on from city life and choose to live in rural areas. I was surrounded by lush green mountains that swirled with thick fog and the swelling north atlantic sea, a place known for its outstanding beauty.
The project never really felt like it was finished how I liked. Recently I started looking back over the work and the notes I had made from those that I met. A bit of time and space can do wonders and now I’m reminded of all the rich conversations I had with strangers that invited me into their homes.
I’ll be sharing the work again over the next few weeks, starting with my visit to Asun.
Originally from Catalunya, Asun spent most of her life in Madrid where she taught physics at university level. Although Asun and her husband Mariano initially came to visit the Asturian coast just for the weekend, they left a few days later having negotiated the price on a piece of land, despite not knowing much about the region. After initially using the house as a second home their visits back to Madrid soon grew less frequent.
“Every minute of the day is different in comparison to Madrid.”
Asun finds peace in puzzles. Upstairs she has two rooms devoted to them. The first is set up with two large tables devoted to active puzzles she is working on. Their boxes line the shelves of the room, separated into those she has completed and those in the queue to be completed.
In the sizeable second room, lit by a single skylight, Asun’s completed puzzles cover the bare floors. Her greatest achievements are those with 10,000 pieces.
“The longest took 9 months. It was like a pregnancy,” she laughs.