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Petra Kolenc: Between pages and leaves

Petra Kolenc: Between pages and leaves

”Today is time for celebration, as we are opening a sanctuary in the city, a book haven, and go public with the promise of utopia,” said Petra Kolenc at the opening event of the new bookshop and café. Nova Gorica has thus gained a new meeting point and a new way of creating a conurbation, called Maks, under the auspices of the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the space was provided by the Municipality of Nova Gorica, and Petra Kolenc is responsible for the realisation of the café-bookstore.

She holds a PhD in Historical Sciences, is employed at the Milko Kos Historical Institute of the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts; in her doctoral thesis, addressing the topic of the Trnovo Forest Plateau, she wrote: ”Is now time for heroes and heroism? Hasn't the world become so small that it needs a simple, unambitious person who does not make history, but only life? A ephemeral, modest, everyday life?” (Jernej Lorenci on the Iliad performance). She is interested in the ordinary people in the context of socio-social dynamics and their survival strategies. She herself would also prefer to be part of the anonymous crowd, although she is aware that sometimes it is necessary to take responsibility and step out of the shadows.

She is always somewhere between the pages and beech leaves, always in the forest of words. As an explorer of the Trnovo Forest Plateau, she is searching for clues of glassmakers who came from distant Hamburg to the heart of the Trnovo Forest Plateaue in the 18th century, carefully guarding the secret formula of the glassmakers' guild. She is interested in the story of the glassblowers, who can be compared to their renowned Venetian colleagues in terms of produced quantity, and blew thousands of bottles, filled them with rose wine in Trieste and exported them to India via Spain. At Lokve, her second home and a place of small museum collection of the vessel-making craft, she will erect a unique monument to the glassmakers with the help of the Interreg project – the Small Projects Fund; she will chart their path and bring to life the glassmaking “secret”.

Petra Kolenc is the driving force behind the Lo-ko Association, the publisher of the book collection Besede s planote (Words from Plateau) identifying important individuals and anonymous protagonists from the Trnovo Plateau region. In the last two years, under the auspices of Art Circle, she organised the Wood&Stone International Art Residency enriching Lokve with a Forma viva, which is also being built within the programme of the European Capital of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica-Gorizia.

In her research and living environment, she likes to find herself between the urban centre and the periphery, between science and simplicity, as she once wrote in her PhD thesis. 

Photo: Klavdija Figelj

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