Island at the End of Summer – Part 1

Oh yeah – this island does exist.
In deep uncharted waters
a speck on the horizon.
A shadow in the mist.*

… And this island lies right at the end of the summer.

We always arrive under the cover of the night, and the stars and the dark sea make the island look larger and further away. In the light of the Dalmatian sun the island is rather small and close to the mainland; there is a little town with a little port and a little church, with small stone houses on narrow winding streets. Yet all this sweet little cuteness hides a huge volcano of imagination.

Every first weekend in October the island explodes in a festival of creativity dedicated to its most famous son, the Renaissance polymath, diplomat, bishop, inventor of various devices, machines and technical concepts – a parachute among them! – Faust Vrančić.

Welcome to Prvić island near Šibenik, to the town of Prvić Luka and its magnificent Creative days of Faust Vrančić festival!

This year the KDFV festival celebrated a jubilee: 10 years of workshops, movies and lectures, of painting and dancing, of innovation, theatre, STEM, creativity and imagination. Kids from kindergartens and schools of Šibenik and other towns on the mainland arrived in drones to enjoy the end of the summer here, to learn, to see, to experience and to create.

A quirky coincidence 11 years ago connected the creative people of Prvić with the kite masters of Zmajoljupci – Croatian Kite Association, and ever since kites make a substantial part of the festival. As we are lucky to be friends with Žuža and Žare our kite team was invited to the festival for the third time now, and it was amazing – again.

Hundreds of kids – and a lot of adults too! – were making kites in our kite workshops that lasted for one whole day and half of another. The town and the sky above it were chock full of colourful kites dancing in the wind, falling down, getting stuck on trees and roofs, flying away. Those that could be saved were taken to the kite clinic emergency room, and kids whose kites were beyond redemption simply made another one.

The town of Prvić Luka was bursting with life as kids were running through its streets and squares with their dazzling creations; hundreds of simple and colourful sled kites, dozens of more advanced square kites that were painted and assembled by schoolchildren.

The team was exhausted – it’s not easy to have a grip on so many kids wielding scissors and sticky tape and sheets of paper and pastels, making bridles and gluing the tails and constructing the frames. Exhausting yet rewarding. To see a spark in the eye of a kid when his creation takes off and flies ever higher, dancing in the wind, its colours shining in the sun is really cool – imagine now seeing hundreds of such sparks!

When the workshops were over it was time for us to make a show with our big kites, to do some kite aerial photography (more on this in Part 2) – and to enjoy the festival! There were experiments to try – like the piano made of bananas (bananas will never sound the same to us), and a bicycle that turns plastic waste into cool and useful things – there was dancing and pottery making and comics workshop and lectures and theatre plays and whatnot …

And the food! … oh my … and glasses of great wine, of local spirits, of beer with friends deep into the starry night of Prvić. And we read poetry! Ivor even had to read some at the closing ceremony, getting a huge applause and demands for a bis (which he did like a pro).

… And then we had to leave, to ride a boat back to the mainland, to drive back home.

And at the moment we left the Island at the End of Summer – the summer was gone.

Yet waters open up
a potent star ascends
a new ship’s anchor drops
and the island still exists.*

Huge, huge, huge thanks to Antonia, to Drenka, Gaša, Vesna, the other Vesna, Sara, Vlada, Tico, Martina and everyone else, to Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, to Udruga Otok, to all the kids and their teachers, to other KDFV festival participants (especially to STEMerice for the coolest music ever), and of course to all good people of Prvić Luka. See you next year!

* lines taken from the (clumsily translated) poem “Southern Island” by the renowned Slovenian poet Kajetan Kovič

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