Thursday, July 30, 2015

Internationella Kreatörer

Our wonderful group on the last day of the workshop.

This is very exciting, I made the news in the Åland local paper. On the last day of the workshop, a reporter, Liisa Mendelin, was walking around and asking questions and talked to me for a while, and then next thing I know, I am in the newspaper. It's all in Swedish but I think the article says this about me: "I love Lotta's work and I love Scandinavia. When I saw the beautiful pictures in Afar magazine, I knew immediately that I wanted to go", says Lucie Duclos from Port Townsend, USA.

She wanted to get a new perspective on printing techniques. Right now she is working with stencils. She has cut a nature inspired pattern in a plastic film. Now she dab the color through the plastic on cotton fabric.

In daily life, Duclos is a graphic designer. She has her own company and designs packaging."

So from now on, call me the "Internationella Kreatör"! I'll try to not let it go to my head. I am still fairly unknown in the US…but not for long with this kind of international press, watch out! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Last day on Åland

On our last day of the workshop we worked on stenciling techniques on fabric in the morning and in the afternoon we worked any techniques we learned on paper or textile. After dinner (fresh caught perch) Dave played Lotta's ukulele and sang a song for me for our anniversary, that was a hit! And then he did Chantilly Lace and I just had to chime in with a spoon solo to showcase a little French Canadian culture! It definitely entertained this international crowd! We went back to the barn, this time to dance the Schottis, a Swedish folk dance. Everybody went to the sauna after but we decided to walk to the little lookout at the end of the island and watch the sunset. That last photo was taken at midnight!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A field trip to Mariehamn

On day 3, we went on a field trip to the Åland capital of Mariehamn. We stopped at Judy's, a ceramic artist who has her store and studio in an old dairy farm. She had coffee and pastries for us and she was totally adorable. I bought one of her mug and also a cute apron and tea towel from another Åland artist. Then we had lunch in Marihamn and spent the rest of the day checking out the town and shopping. This town kind of reminded me of Port Townsend with all it's maritime history and wooden boats. We had dinner in a cool little restaurant sitting outside on wood crates on the docks and then danced the charleston (totally unplanned, they just happened to have a band and a dance demo and we couldn't resist but join in). And how many occasion do you get to dance the charleston in Finland anyway?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 2 at Silverskär

Silverskär is the name of the hotel where we are staying. The workshop takes place in the barn and it's an amazing space. We started the day with a demo from Lotta on potato prints and working on repeats exploring direction, color and spacing of different motifs. We started in our sketchbooks and then moved on to fabric. In the afternoon we worked on block printing and carved our own vinyl stamps. At 4 pm we took a "fika" break with coffee and freshly baked cakes and pastries from our chef Viktor then we went back to work until dinner (fresh salmon, one of the best I ever had!). In the meantime, Dave was busy riding a kayak around the island and practicing his ax throwing skills (I am not even kidding!)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lotta Jansdotter Workshop in Åland

Lotta's workshop-day one! So much to tell. We arrived on the ferry from Stockholm-a 6 hour ride through the archipelago- and Lotta and her 2 assistants (Nerissa and Makenna) were waiting for us and distributed those charming handmade ceramic name tags, then we got on the bus to take us to another boat that would take us to our private island. When we got to the boat house on the other side, they greeted us with crepes and schnapps, now that's civilized! When we got to our room, on the beds, was a little goodie bag with a handmade eye mask, postcards, chocolates and metallic tattoos. So sweet! We went swimming and then sauna, hot tub, a little walk around the island and it was time for our 3 course dinner by our fabulous chef Viktor. There is 27 of us here and everybody is super nice and friendly. This feels like summer camp! I LOVE it!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Djurgarden, Stockholm

I am a little behind on my blog because I am having a little too much fun in Åland but I have to tell you a bout a few cool places we went to in Djurgården, an island with lots of museums in Stockholm.
First, the Vasa Museet which hosts a ship wreck from 1628. It was salvaged in 1961 and reconstructed in the museum. Very impressive and a fascinating but also embarrassing story because this brand new ship sunk after sailing for only 20 minutes while everybody was watching. Beautiful ship, bad design. Then we had lunch at Rosendals Trädgård, wonderful gardens, greenhouse and café where you can take your lunch in the orchard and have a picnic. We also visited the Liljevalchs museum and enjoyed the work of a popular ceramic artist in Sweden, Hertha Hillfon. Next post, the Åland archipelago!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Our hotel, the Elite Marina Tower in Nacka
Having a Swedish beer with a fabulous view of the city at Mosebacke
Dinner and a game of pétanque at Boule e Berså in Nacka by the canal
We arrived in Stockholm in style-by steamship! Our hotel is located on the waterfront in an historical building dating back from 1890. It used to be the largest steam-driven (can you sense a pattern here?) mill in Scandinavia. Stockholm feels like a half scale city, you can literally walk everywhere. Also people are very helpful and friendly. The weather is sunny, rainy, warm, breezy, cloudy, basically, it's like the Pacific Northwest. You know what they say at home: "If you don't like the weather, wait another 20 minutes?" That's the weather here. Layering is the answer.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mariefred and Gripsholms Slott

We arrived in Mariefred by steam train and we left by steamship. Another historic little town on the shore of Lake Malären, home of Gripsholm Castle, one of the Royal Palaces. The castle was built in 1537 by Gustav Vasa (and what a cool name!). There is texture all over this castle, they did not leave an inch unpainted or uncovered with some type of material, from wallpaper to silk to wood inlay, a feast for the eyes, but sometimes a little overwhelming. They were not afraid to mix patterns, that's for sure. We left for Stockholm on the coal-fired steamship Mariefred, a 3.5 hour trip through the archipelago with dinner in the cozy little dining room. The steamship was built in 1903 for the Stockholm-Mariefred route and has been sailing this route every year since then!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sigtuna, the first town of Sweden.

Yes, it's raining and it's cool and we love it! Sigtuna is Sweden's first town, established in 970 by King Erik Segersäll. The main street remains pretty much the same as it was 1000 years ago. Lots of old wooden houses. Not a lot of tourists in this little town and the locals are almost surprised to see us there. Maybe it gets busier when the weather gets better, looks like they are having a cool summer this year.

We decided to take a boat to Skokloster Slott, a beautiful castle from the 1600s on the shores of lake Mälaren.

This unfinished room was going to be a large banquet hall but has remained a building site since the 1600s. It's unusual to be able to witness this stage of construction in an old castle.

Here's an old map of the Americas. North America was still mainly undiscovered at that time, Washington state is not even on this map!

Intricate metallic wall covering in one of the rooms. Amazing textures and fabric and wallpaper everywhere, more on that later.

The tree lined alley leading to the castle.

And every castle had their own church, of course!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A workshop with Lotta Jansdotter

Photo credit for all images: Christoph Haiderer

Here's more pictures from the Afar magazine article. Our days will be spent exploring the island, sketching and learning how to translate nature into patterns. Then we'll transfer our designs onto paper and fabric using 3 different printing techniques. There will be a field trip to a local artisan's studio and a visit to Mariehamn (Åland's capital). And plenty of time to hike, swim, kayak or take a sauna since we are looking at 18 hours of daylight at this time of year. Most of the food is made onsite or harvested from the island; homemade bread, fresh veggies and freshly caught fish!
The Åland archipelago is a 6 hour ferry ride from Stockholm and actually belongs to Finland but people speak mostly Swedish, which is fine with me since I am fluent in both Finnish and Swedish, NOT!