Into autumn

WHERE did the summer go? Too fast as always but then time flies when you’re having fun. This week its back to work with new original cuts to be framed and added to the shop and new lanterns to be made. I’m hoping to get some new designs made up over the next two weeks and the way the evenings are drawing I’ll need to get a move on to have them in the shops for the beginning of October. I also need to plan my autumn Open Studio which I’m hoping will happen in the middle of next month with some new artists and makers showcasing their work with me.

But back to summer and for me the past few weeks have been a chance to take a break and find fresh inspiration. I’m lucky I can take the school holidays off and I spent a lot of my time in Sweden at the house which was wonderful. We had some terrific thunderstorms at night – I would never have believed a lightning strike could make your house shake – and plenty of sunshine and swimming in the day.

I took my sketchbook with me, thinking I might find time for some work, but fat chance of that! That said I came back inspired by lots of things I saw and some new artists I came across on my travels. And I always find that travelling anywhere and seeing new things can make you think differently about your creative work. One thing I love about my other home is the great way Swedes use colour and lighting. Shops and cafes are stylish and original even in the sleepiest rural areas, and it makes everyday experiences really stimulating.

This year we hit the loppis or second-hand shops with a vengeance (and even they are styled to show off the goods at their best) and that brought some unexpected finds and bargains. I couldn’t resist buying a lot of the handwoven linen the country is famous for. I also found some great travel books from the turn of the century, full of photographs of Swedish towns and cities from the 1920s. They have the most beautiful covers illustrated in art nouveau style.

I also enjoyed finding out about new artists and in the museums at Eksjö and Växjö and Astrid Lindgren’s house at Näs it was the sculptures that got me really excited. I particularly like the work of Maria Westerberg who makes quirky wooden sculptures using materials she finds around her home and combines them with words and poetry to great effect. I love using words in my papercuts and I really appreciated the way her work connects with and celebrates the natural world and the strange folklorish magic of the wild forest. She lives in an amazing house in the forest in Varmland and if you’d like to visit her website Vildhjarta you can do so here

The picture above on the right says something like (Swedish being tested here): “Dear human, the fate of the old oak forest does not rest in your hands. Quite the opposite”. Love those menacing eyes!

I hope your summer was as good as mine and that you enjoy a calm September where we slide slowly into autumn. The leaves are beginning to turn and there are are berries everywhere which I was always told means we’re in for a hard winter. I like a bit of snow and ice so that would suit me just fine but who knows – its been a crazy mixed up year for weather. Nothing would surprise me! And I hope I’ll see you in my studio soon. The kettle is always on…


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